Tomas Max Martin

Tomas Max Martin

Affiliated Senior Researcher


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Tomas Max Martin is specialized in development studies and prison sociology with a focus on the localization of human rights, reform processes, governance and bureaucratic practice – primarily in an African and Asian context and with an applied, but theoretically informed approach. As a trained anthropologist with a PhD in Development Studies, Martin has considerable competencies in qualitative research methods and fieldwork within state institutions in transition. As a founding member of the Global Prisons Research Network, he has a vast network of peers and colleagues in the research field of confinement and violence.

Tomas enjoy working in the nexus between academia and practice and participate actively in an international research environment around detention, torture, human rights and development. He has broad knowledge of social development issues and have worked with human rights-based approaches to development and project management within the justice sector and with state and civil society actors in the Global South.

Keywords: detention, institutional reform, ethnography of human rights, torture, technology


  • ‘Prison Breaks – toward a sociology of escape’ (edited with Gilles Chantraine), Hampshire: Palgrave (2018)
  • ‘Scrutinizing the embrace of human rights in Ugandan prisons – an ethnographic analysis of the equivocal responses to HRW reporting’, Journal of Human Rights Practice (2017)
  • ‘Inside the Organizations. Methods of researching Human Rights and Institutional Dynamics’, co-authored with Hans-Otto Sano in Human Rights Research Methods, Bård Anders Andreassen, Siobhan McInerney-Lankford and Hans-Otto Sano (eds), London: Routledge (2017)
  • ‘Introduction: Sensing Prison Climates – Governance, Transition and Survival’, co-authored with Andrew M. Jefferson and Mahya Bandyopadhyay, Focaal, vol 68, pp. 3-17. (2014)

Ongoing Projects:

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