“Onder dwang toe te dienen: 1/2 l melk, 2 eieren, 10 st. suiker.” Hongerstakingen in Belgische gevangenissen: een verkennend onderzoek (1920-1940)

Translated title of the thesis: “To administer by force: ½ l of milk, 2 eggs, 10 lumps of sugar” Hunger strikes in Belgian prisons: an exploratory research (1920-1940)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study aims to investigates the occurence of hunger strikes in Belgian prisons in the
Interwar period.
While in the last 20 or 30 years there has been ample study on hunger strikes on ‘bigger’
hunger strikes (the actions of the suffragettes or the Irish nationalists), smaller hunger strikes
of unknown prisoners stayed under the radar of academic research. Recently we can see a
change, with scholars studying hunger strikes from different angles. In Belgium there is no
study available of hunger strikes, so this research can a step towards filling this gap.
Using an critical discourse analysis on selected newspaper articles of the given period and
doing a close reading of prison files, I establish who went on hungerstrike and what the
motivation. The reaction of the authorities existed in administering force feedings. The focus
of this research is on the psychiatric ward of the prison of Forest, in Brussels, that at the time
was under the direction of Louis Vervaeck, the founder of criminal antropology.
Date of Award2017
Original languageDutch
SupervisorPeter Scholliers (Promotor)


  • Hunger strikes
  • Prisons
  • Forcible feeding
  • Discourse analysis
  • Psychiatric wards
  • Louis Vervaeck

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