‘Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention‘ (Ashgate, 2013) edited by Dominique Moran, Nick Gill and Deirdre Conlon.
This book draws together the work of a new community of scholars with a growing interest in carceral geography: the geographical study of practices of imprisonment and detention. It combines work by geographers in ‘mainstream’ penal establishments that incarcerate people convicted of a crime by the prevailing legal system, with geographers’ recent work on migrant detention centres, in which refused asylum seekers, irregular migrants and some others are detained, ostensibly pending decisions on admittance or repatriation. In each of these contexts, contributions investigate the geographical location and spatialities of institutions, the nature of spaces of incarceration and detention and experiences inside them, governmentality and prisoner agency, cultural geographies of penal spaces, and mobility in the carceral context. In dialogue with emergent and topical agendas in geography around mobility, space and agency, and in relation to international policy challenges such as the (dis)functionality of imprisonment, and the search for alternatives to detention, the book draws upon and speaks back to geography, criminology and prison sociology.
The book presents original empirical research from the USA, Colombia, Russia, France, the UK, Ireland and Romania, bringing together papers initially presented for themed sessions organised at the Annual Conference of the AAG in Washington, DC, USA and the Annual Conference of the RGS-IBG in London, UK, both in 2010. Apart from the editors, contributors include Lauren L Martin, Matt Mitchelson, Olivier Milhaud, Bénédicte Michalon, Julie De Dardel, Jennifer Turner, Nancy Hiemstra and Mason McWatters, with reflective pieces from Alison Mountz and Yvonne Jewkes. The broad conceptual focus and wide geographic net is consistent with the goals of sparking insight, dialogue and new connections across ordinarily distinct areas.
This book was published last month and launched at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers, in a roundtable session featuring editors and contributors. It’s available for purchase via Ashgate and Amazon.
‘From Nick Gill’s eye-opening discussion of the relationship between freedom and mobility, to Deirdre Conlon’s fascinating Foucauldian analysis of the hunger strike, this book offers analyses that are empirically strong and theoretically innovative. From a criminological perspective, the book manages chapter by chapter to break new ground even in a familiar territory. You should read it.’
Thomas Ugelvik, University of Oslo, Norway
‘Engaging, thought-provoking and insightful, Carceral Spaces shines a much-needed light on contemporary practices of incarceration and detention. Required reading for anyone interested in confinement and the control of ‘problematic’ populations in a globalised world.’
Alexandra Hall, University of York, UK and author of Borderwatch: Cultures of Immigration, Detention and Control
‘Prisons and immigration detention facilities ostensibly draw sharp divisions between who is inside and who is outside, who is good and who is bad, who is included and who is excluded from society. Contributors to this important volume undermine these dualisms with rich empirical evidence and strong theoretical elaboration that advance the burgeoning field of carceral geography, and offer fresh perspectives to migration studies and criminologists’ study of “punishment and society”. Carceral Spaces gathers original research on prison regimes and immigration detention estates from an impressive array of sites. This comparative dimension illustrates the international unevenness of spatial practices of confinement. Despite their differences, all carceral regimes create and rely on carceral spaces and carceral mobilities. Indeed, close attention to the relationship between the state’s power to confine and to forcibly move people is the book’s greatest strength. Together, they challenge the idea that prison cells fully extinguish political agency and that mobility necessarily means total freedom. Instead, careful documentation and nuanced theorization of this relationship offers scholars and activists new understandings of state power. This knowledge hopefully can enable people who are confined and their allies to end carceral regimes and the harms they create’.
Jenna Loyd, co-editor of Beyond Walls and Cages
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