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Merethe Riggelsen Gjørding


PhD Fellow

Primary affiliation

Merethe Riggelsen Gjørding

Areas of expertise

  • Zemiology
  • Anti-Carceral Feminism
  • Justice Cultures
  • Prison Research
  • Speculative envisioning

Contact information

Email address


My PhD research concerns the pedagogy of the social-penal welfare state of Denmark. I investigate this through the experiences of incarcerated women with crime prevention initiatives and welfare institutions more broadly.

I outline features of a "transformative pedagogy" as an alternative to the current pedagogy, informed by their stories of supportive initiatives they had hoped for. Being aware of the inherent limitations working from a state perspective.

Most studies indicate that the length and 'toughness' of prison sentences have zero effect on the recidivism of incarcerated individuals – some even suggest that imprisonment increases the risk of people doing new criminal acts. Therefore, it is crucial to examine prevention efforts in a nuanced and holistic way to create a world where fewer harmful acts are happening.

The study aims to contribute knowledge about the types of preventive interventions encountered by incarcerated women; how they have experienced them, and how these interventions can be further developed.

My main supervisor in this project is Charlotte Mathiassen, and my co-supervisor is Dorthe Staunæs.


Engagements beyond academia

Prior to this PhD research, I was affiliated with the organization SAVN – children and relatives of inmates for four years, primarily engaging in relational work.

In the last three years, I have been active in the group Genopret KBH, conducting workshops on restorative and transformative justice, as well as facilitating conflict resolution processes. I am personally involved in creating processes and strenghtening communities to address conflicts and harm based on restorative and transformative values.

If you or your community wish to initiate a process for creating an internal conflict management system or anything else, please feel free to write to genopretkbh@riseup.net.

If you want access to the digital version of our workbook, "Change through Conflicts – Exercises to Handle Conflicts, Strengthen Our Communities, and Create a Better World Than Before," (NB: translated title, it is in Danish) also write to our email with the subject: Forandring gennem konflikter – Ja tak!

I am open to being contacted for presentations on the Danish penal system, understandings of justice, and abolitionism.


Selected publications

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Selected activities

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