Caroline Mary Parker is the Presidential Fellow of Medical Anthropology at Department of Social Anthropology at Manchester University. As a medical and cultural anthropologist, her work revolves around three areas: policing, confinement, and carcerality in Latin America; the racial politics of the US opioid epidemic; and critical public health. Her first book project, Carceral Citizens: Labor, Confinement, and Self-help in Puerto Rico, explores the coalescence of the carceral state and the voluntary sector in Latin America. Set in non-profit drug rehabilitation programs in Puerto Rico, it follows the lives of drug offenders who have been diverted to self-help programs as an alternative to prison, and who have chosen to stay at these non-profits upon completing their mandatory court sentences in order to pursue sub-minimum wage jobs as “volunteers” in correctional facilities. By examining the reinvention of labor and volunteerism within correctional institutions, Carceral Citizens shows how mass criminalization, economic restructuring, and the entrance of the non-profit sector into the work of criminal rehabilitation since the late twentieth century are generating entirely new life directions for marginalized men across the Americas.
Parker’s work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Biosocieties, Science, Technology and Human Values, The American Journal of Public Health, and Archives of Sexual Behavior (among others). Her research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, the US National Institutes of Health, the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Social Science Research Council, as well as the Biosocial Society and the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University.