Manuela Ivone Paredes Pereira Cunha


Manuela I. da Cunha holds a PhD in Anthropology and a Habilitation in Sociology. Distinguished by an international committee with a social sciences ward for her ethnographic research on prisons, drug markets, and the penal management of inequality (Sedas Nunes award for the Social Sciences), she has also focused on informal economies, and on intersections between criminal justice, inequality (class-gender-race/ethnicity) and cultural difference. Parallel to her research on confinement, punishment and society, she has also studied emerging forms of vaccine refusal. Both lines of research are connected by a broader focus on contemporary transformations of power, disciplines and the State. Former vice-president of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), she is currently the editor-in-chief of the journal Etnográfica.

  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Symbolic

This researcher belongs to DH and JUSLAB.

Books and book chapters

  • Cunha, Manuela P. da (preparation, 2018), Crime e Segurança [Crime and Security], Lisboa: Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos.
  • Cunha, Manuela P. da (2016) Cultura, diversidade, diferenciação. Um guia elementar [Culture, Diversity, Differentiation], CICS /LASICS, Universidade do Minho.
  • Brazzabeni, Micol; Cunha, Manuela; Fotta, Martin (eds.) (2016) Gypsy Economy: Romani Livelihoods and Notions of Worth in the 21st Century, Oxford and New York: Berghan Books.
  • Cunha, Manuela P. da (ed.) (2015), Do crime e do castigo: temas e debates contemporâneos, [Of Crime and Punishment: Contemporary Debates] Lisboa, Mundos Sociais.
  • Cunha, Manuela P. da: 2002, Entre o Bairro e a Prisão: Tráfico e Trajectos [The Prison and the Neighborhood. Trafficking and Trajectories], Lisboa, Fim de Século.
  • Cunha, Manuela P. da: 1994, Malhas que a reclusão tece. Questões de identidade numa prisão feminina [The Fabric of Confinement. Identity and Sociality in a Women’s Prison], CEJ: Lisboa.
  • Cunha, Manuela P. da (2017) Addressing policy-oriented audiences. Relevance, in Didier Fassin (ed.) If truth be told. The politics of public ethnography, Durham and London: Duke University Press: 96-116.
  • Matos, R. Cunha, M, Carvalho, P., Tavares, R, Miranda Pereira, L. (2017) Women in Prison. Portugal in Piet Hein van KempenMaartje Krabbe (eds.) Women in Prison. The Bangkok Rules and Beyond, International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, Intersentia: Uitgevers N.V, vol. 46: 613-644.



  • 2018, “Prison, State, and the sociology of care” conferência na sessão plenária “Prison and State – Intersections and (Re)Configurations”, Annual Meeting of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL-SDJ), International Sociological Association (ISA), – Law and Citizenship Beyond the States, ISCTE, 10-13 Lisboa.
  • 2018, Guest conference“La saillance variable du genre dans le monde carcéral : une perspective diachronique-comparative”, séminaire  Genre et monde carcéral. Perspectives éthiques et politiques, laboratoire Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l’Économie et de la Société (IDHES) de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS-Cachan), 16th April, Paris.
  • 2017, communications, “Embodying prison”, Mo(u)vement, CASCA / IUAES 2-6 May, Otawa, Canada.
  • 2017, Keynote address, “Imprisonment, punitivity and inequality: a grounded reflection”, Anthropology of Confinement Network – European Association of Social Anthropologists, 13-14 November, Copenhaga.
  • 2017, Guest conference, “Prisons, punitiveness and counterpunitiveness: The case of Portugal”, Conferência internacional Transformations in European Prisons, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 24 March, Barcelona.
  • 2016, Keynote address, “Shifting intersections between the social and penal management of vulnerability: A view from Southern Europe”, conference Economic Crisis and Crime: From Global North to Global South, European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, September, Braga.
  • 2016, Keynote address, “Gestão da (des)ordem, prisão e dinâmicas da punitividade”, seminary Gestão da (Des)Ordem e Dinâmicas Urbanas, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Sociologia, Laboratório de Pesquisa Social – LAPS, Universidade de São Paulo, 16th March, Brasil.
  • 2015, Guest conference, “Counter-punitiveness, prison reforms and drug policies: The case of Portugal”, Criminology Seminar Series, School of Social and Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 23th September, Wellington (New Zeland).
  • 2015, Guest conference, « Le corps en prison, la prison dans le corps », Séminaire Psychiatrie, psychopathologie et système pénal, 11 de maio, Université de Louvain-La-Neuve, Bélgica.
  • 2015, Guest conference, « Les femmes des autres : droits des femmes et modifications génitales non thérapeutiques », Séminaire de l’École de Criminologie, 12th May, Université
  • 2014, Guest conference, “Ethnographic accounts and policy-oriented audiences: Persuasiveness and legitimacy” encontro internacional Public Ethnography (org. Didier Fassin), Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, 27-28 May.
  • 2013, Communication: Cunha, M. e Jean-Yves Durand, “Evidence-based medicine and claims of citizenship: anthropological approach of vaccination policies and of emerging forms of non-vaccination (France and Portugal)”, Internacional Conference Produire du savoir, gouverner des populations. Anthropologie, sciences studies et politiques de santé, École Normale Supérieure, Lyon, 10-13 September.