CFP: contributions to an edited collection on media, incarceration, prisons

Marcus Harmes at the University of South Queensland is issuing a call for papers for a proposed edited collection on media, incarceration, prisons

Prisons, prisoners, and crime are attracting unprecedented levels of interest from both predictable sources (tabloid media) to more unexpected (such as the prison setting of Paddington 2).

Globally, but especially in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, the real life prison population is rising dramatically. The fictional presentations of prison, which may be prurient and sexploitative, high minded or fantastical, is matched by the barely factual and highly sensationalized prison of reality television. Orange is the New Black is only the latest example of the compulsion media of all types have to look inside the prison.

This proposed book focuses on the (real or imagined) spaces of the prison and prisoners and the stories told about prisons and justice in media both fictional and non-fictional media, and perhaps more importantly, in the uncertain space between both. Reality television, tabloid media, crime and horror films, soap opera and pornography and gaming are all possible areas of focus.

Possible themes, areas and productions include (but are not limited to)

  • Fantasy and comedy incarceration (eg The Prisoner and The Avengers, Porridge, Get Smart, The Simpsons and Hogan’s Heroes)
  • Wrongful imprisonment and escape from prison
  • The women in prison genre (eg Yield to the Night, Turn the Key Softly)
  • Sexploitation and naziploitation
  • Reality television of the ‘world’s toughest jails’
  • Celebrity prisoners (eg Chopper Read, Conrad Black)
  • The prison soap (eg Bad Girls, Cell Block H)
  • Running prisons (eg The Governor, Within these Walls)
  • The prison of the future in science fiction or of the past in historical drama
  • Dark tourism
  • Selling private prisons: prison promotional texts and media
  • The prison camp (eg Tenko, Colditz)
  • Scientific experimentation in prisons (eg A Clockwork Orange, Tales from the Hood, The Vanishing Man)


Please send chapter abstracts of 300 words by June 15th 2018. The abstract should indicate the focus of the contribution, the approach/method the author/s is taking to the research question and tentatively the conclusions the chapter will be making.

Abstracts which would provide the basis of chapters of 3000-6000 words, needed by the end of 2018.

At present no contract is signed but there is positive interest from a major international publisher for a full proposal.

Questions can be directed to