Second Chance Entrepreneur: Prisoner Reentry Governance in the American City


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project is an ethnographic study of prisoner reentry programming under the rubrics of so-called smart governance in New Orleans, Louisiana. It outlines the racializing/racialized assumptions made by progressive criminal justice reforms that push innovative private-public partnerships and data-driven best practices as correctives to social and financial inequity. Such reforms impel entrepreneurial projects of self-making for the formerly incarcerated while simultaneously recasting modes of carceral fixation. By tracing the institutional and intimate socialities of formerly incarcerated men and their families who navigate the emergent infrastructure of reentry, as well as those of the legal professionals, nonprofit operatives, city planners, and municipal bureaucrats who manage, negotiate, and build it, this work interrogates entrepreneurialism as an emancipatory ethos. It situates entrepreneurial governance within material histories of racialized accumulation by dispossession while attending to the novel technologies and affects through which entrepreneurialism articulates, re/imagines, and re/produces race in the contemporary US city.