CfP: Critical Geographies of Confinement

Conference of Irish Geographers (virtual) May 18-21, 2021.

Session co-organizers: Deirdre Conlon, University of Leeds

Sasha Brown, Maynooth University,

Joseph S. Robinson, Maynooth University

In February 2021, the Irish government announced plans to end the direction provision system—originally introduced in 2000—for asylum seekers by 2024. While the exact character of the ‘new’ system to respond to irregular migration remains unclear, the government’s proposals appear to echo elements of Ireland’s “breathtaking history of incarceration” (Lentin, 2016: 24), which is characterised by the confinement and repressive control of marginalised individuals in institutions including psychiatric hospitals, industrial schools, workhouses, mother and baby homes, Magdalene Laundries, and Direct Provision Centres (O’Sullivan & O’Donnell, 2012). With this, questions related to exclusion, dignity, justice, and responsibilities toward marginalised members of communities, in Ireland, as elsewhere, (re)surface yet again.  

This juncture, alongside the 2021 CIG conference theme—geographies of responsibilities—provide an opportunity to reflect on the contributions, synergies, and future directions for scholarship and activities among those whose work engages space(s) of critical migration, confinement, social control, and the carceral more broadly. This session offers a forum for so doing and is informed by the following questions: How can or should critical geography contribute to understanding confinements—historical or contemporary—in the Irish state? How have scholars, artists, activists, and organisers exposed and challenged temporal and/or spatial continuities across sites of confinement, control, or incarceration? What new insights can we generate by thinking spatially about such systems of social control? What sorts of new (or recurring) questions can critical geographers help illuminate in light of the emergence of a new phase of migrant social control? 

This themed session is envisioned as a series with invited panelists (TBC), brief presentations and open discussion among new, emerging, and established researchers. To this end, we invite expressions of interest in contributing reflections, brief accounts, and provocations in the form of 10 min. presentations from those interested in or engaged with the geographies of migrant ‘accommodation’, detention, confinement, carceral systems and social control in and beyond the Irish state. 

*Please send expressions of interest/abstracts of no more than 250 words by April 28th 2021 to Deirdre Conlon d dot conlon at leeds dot ac dot uk, corresponding session organizer. Requests for bursaries can be made via the conference website (form available here). 

Call for events and activities organisers

The Carceral Geography Working Group (CGWG) of the RGS-IBG invites Expressions of Interest from potential organisers for mid-term activities in 2021-2022.

Following the success of the 4th International Conference for Carceral Geography, delegates expressed willingness to both organise and engage with events outside of the traditional conference format. The global pandemic has witnessed the emergence of virtual networking activities and there is certainly scope to develop networking activities along these lines. In addition, since the International Conference will retain its now biennial format, there is now scope in the research calendar for other events that will be of interest to members of our networks. Suggested formats included one-day workshops related to a particular method and/or theme; dedicated networking events; publishing advice and guidance sessions; one-off seminars or a series of short linked events. The possibilities are more numerous than listed here and we look forward to supporting as many of these activities as we can!

Accordingly, the committee invite Expressions of Interest to host one of these such events. Hosts may determine their own event theme(s) and format. Although we would anticipate the primary organisational activities being undertaken by the event organisers, these organisers can expect to be supported by the CGWG committee or members of the CGWG Advisory Board, e.g. in the form of developing ideas, making formal invitations, hosting material on the carceral geography website, chairing sessions, etc, if required.

Expressions of Interest should be sent to Jennifer Turner, Chair of the CGWG, at by 30 April 2021. The committee will then liaise with organisers on a case-by-case basis to develop an event programme. If numerous proposals are received that result in conflicting activities/schedules, the committee may suggest collaboration between individual proposals to combine events.

More details and a proposal template can be found here. Please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer via the means above to ask questions or discuss initial ideas.

Recordings from the 4th International Conference for Carceral Geography now online!

We are delighted to announce that the video recordings from the 4th International Conference for Carceral Geography now available online! If you missed any of the sessions and/or you’d like to revisit any of the excellent conference presentations, please visit the 2020 Conference Programme on our website and click on individual session links to access the recordings.

Congratulations to the organisers on a wonderful conference and for the careful producing of it, which has facilitated this excellent resource.

Happy (re)viewing!

Call for conference organisers for the 5th International Conference for Carceral Geography

The Carceral Geography Working Group (CGWG) of the RGS-IBG invites Expressions of Interest from potential organising committees for the 5th International Conference for Carceral Geography.

The committee of the CGWG invite Expressions of Interest from colleagues within the network to host the 5th International Conference for Carceral Geography in 2022. Whilst the conference should reflect the research focus of the CGWG, hosts may determine their own conference theme and have flexibility in the format of the conference proceedings. Host can expect to be supported by the CGWG committee or members of the CGWG Advisory Board, if required.

Expressions of Interest should, in the first instance, be sent to Jennifer Turner, Chair of the CGWG, at by 30 April 2021. A selection of potential organising committees would then be invited to complete a Full Proposal by the deadline of 31 July 2021.

The deadline is pre-emptive of both the organising time required for an international conference and the deadline for relevant RGS grant applications to provide financial support for the conference.

More details and proposal templates can be found here. Please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer via the means above to ask questions or discuss initial ideas.

3-Year Research Scientist position in Oldenburg, Germany – opportunity for research on the carceral seas

There is a new job vacancy for a 3-year postdoctoral Research Scientist position at The Helmholtz-Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB) in Oldenburg, Germany, offering an opportunity for an early career scholar to work on the carceral seas.

The HIFMB is a new institute on interdisciplinary marine biodiversity research, established on the campus of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, which is home to the Institute for Social Sciences, where carceral geographer Dr Jennifer Turner is based. The Institute is developing ties to the HIFMB through various projects including some of Jennifer’s recent research developments on carceral seas.

The postdoc would be appointed to the recently established Marine Governance Research Group led by Professor Kimberley Peters. Accordingly, the HIFMB joins expertise in marine functional ecology, data science and theory with great social science and humanities profiles.

The link to the full advert is below, but your attention is particularly drawn to the noted desirable criteria of: Experience working with key conceptual ideas such as borders, boundaries and carcerality, as well as space, power and territory.

Although certainly a slightly new direction for carceral scholars, the considerations about crime/sanction management at sea might be a welcome new research trajectory for scholars who have, in particular, experience in qualitative methods.

The position

This Research Scientist position will work to spatialise understandings of monitoring, reporting and sanctioning at sea. Despite of the proliferation of marine management and conservation tools to steward over and protect ocean life and resources, there remains a gap in the effectiveness of those tools through limited regimes of monitoring, reporting and sanctioning. This position aims to “follow” cases of marine policy contraventions to track narratives of monitoring, reporting and sanctioning at sea to understand its presence and absence. Moreover, it will use ideas from geography to spatialise understandings of how bounded modes of governance for biodiversity succeed or fail. In doing so, the project will bring insights into possibilities for more effective routes to marine governance (whilst also critically assessing what constitutes an “effective” regime and for what and whom). Moreover, it is intended that the position will use such investigations to also progress spatial theories of borders, containment and control and their application for marine biodiversity outcomes.

2 PhD positions and a further Research Scientist vacancy are also advertised. These are not related to carcerality but you might wish to pass these along to anyone currently on the job search.

CFP – To identify and expel: Historical and geographical perspectives on administrative detention. July 15-16 2021, U. Cagliari, Italy

In recent decades the administrative detention of “illegal” immigrants has spread throughout the world as one of the main strategies to regulate migrations. From the perspective of national governments detention is essential: how else could they identify or expel those who lack a right to stay? It is only through the forced immobilization of people that these tasks become possible. The results of this logic have been worrisome and dramatic. The detention and confinement of non-citizen have turned into routine practices to facilitate the administration of immigration. Conditions inside centers for removal or “hotspots” have been proven to be harsh and horrible, and the current pandemic is having devastating effects on those who are detained or held at borders.

Some scholars and observers have considered the growth of these practices as exceptional: to their view, detention represents a radical departure from the rule of law and an expression of authoritarianism and nationalism. But others point out that Western states have always included forms of administrative control to manage “risky” subjects, and that detention operates in accordance with these. According to them, detention represents a standard form of confinement against those who are perceived as dangerous or problematic: with the relevant difference that dangerousness appears to be directly linked to foreignness in this case. Regardless of our personal position, we want to ask how the present state of detention systems relates to previous and contemporary strategies to control “dangerous” populations. We can’t deny that the confinement of “aliens” has a long and obscure history. The idea of creating camps to confine, control, or even exterminate unwanted populations has been a terrible paradigm of modernity in Europe and the United States. What can this history tell us about immigration detention? Is the concentration camp a useful paradigm to analyze detention centers?

Moreover, despite the links between past and present, it is undeniable that immigration detention presents several new traits than these previous experiences. The process of detaining is regulated by national and international law, and it operates on understandings of security and risk that undergird contemporary strategies of governance. It is also becoming harder to identify the “state” as a monolithic entity operating with full agency in the current scenario. Detention systems resents the presence of NGOs and supranational organizations that are capable of affecting their organization and structure in ways that complicate linear and national accounts. And finally, the presence of private actors in managing and owning the centers represents another important discontinuity with the past.

Following up from these reflections, the conference aims at finding the best instruments to analyze the topic from historical and geographical perspectives. In order to achieve this goal, we ask the following questions:

  • Is the paradigm of the concentration camp still useful to analyze present detention centers?
  • What is the role of private actors, and how do they affect the current spaces of internment?
  • What is, and has been, the role of the nation state to control, identify, and remove “dangerous” populations? What is the role of supranational organizations such as the EU and how do they participate in the making of detention?
  • How has the concept of citizenship influenced, and how does it reflect strategies of exclusion?
  • What kind of spaces are detention centers, hotspots, or refugee camps? How can space be used to exclude?
  • What have been the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on immigration detention and on the lives of those who are detained?

Proposals of max 200 words are accepted both in English and Italian and should be sent by April 10th to Ettore Asoni, San Diego State University ( and Alessandro Pes, University of Cagliari ( Proposals will be selected by April 18th.

We intend to hold the conference in person at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Cagliari in Cagliari, Italy, on the 15th and 16th of July 2021. However, due to the current pandemic situations we cannot predict whether this will be possible, or we will have to move the conference to an online platform. We will keep the participants informed in a timely manner about this decision. Thank you for your understanding.

CFC: (In)Secure Worlds: Scales, Systems and Spaces of Carcerality

Hanneke Stuit, Jennifer Turner and Julienne Weegels have been invited by Duke University Press to submit a proposal for an edited collection on carcerality in a globalized world for their Global Insecurities book series.

If you are interested in contributing to this interdisciplinary collection, please submit an abstract of 250-300 words, a proposed chapter title and a short bio of 80 words by 30 November 2020. The envisioned chapters are approximately 6000-8000 words. Please make sure your proposed work fits the rationale of the collection.

Scales, Systems and Spaces of Carcerality

Carceral systems have expanded over the past decades as strategies accompanying the many ‘wars on’ crime, drugs, poverty, and terrorism. These systems serve to securitize, isolate, manage and police specific groups of criminalized others. In effect, the carceral has become such an inextricable aspect of current security paradigms that scientists speak of a carceral age and carceral states (Moran et al. 2018, Garland 2013, Wacquant 2000). Carceral forms, then, do not just influence those who come into daily contact with the prison.

Following Moran et al. (2018) and their conceptualization of carceral conditions, spaces that exist as performances and practices of carcerality exist in various guises and on various scales around the globe. Such spaces are both manifestations of top-down practices of securitization (such as the implementation and persistence of the immigration detention center or the control of territories through the hardening and deepening of border technologies) and emergent from or attributed to the micro-scale level of the body of the individual (such as the relationship between the home as a carceral space for domestic abuse sufferers or the disproportionate treatment of people of color on the job market).

Such manifestations are enacted through government legislation and infrastructures of sanction and control, but carcerality also ‘seeps’ into everyday spheres in different ways. Popular culture abounds with representations of the prison, for instance, and ecological concerns are making it increasingly difficult to think of an abstract “outside” to human experiences from which one can escape. Whether in material, spatial, discursive and imaginary guises, experiences and feelings of confinement are becoming increasingly commonplace, although they do so in unequally gendered and racialized ways (Alexander 2012, Browne 2015). Accordingly, then, we are living in what might be considered a ‘carceral world’, where practices, performances, spatialities, imaginaries, and experiences of carcerality are widespread and exist in a variety of scales.

This edited collection seeks to explore the complex workings of global immobilization and securitization in a number of different ways. What makes a carceral space? How might experiences and imaginations of carceral spaces be contingent upon both people and place? And, how has carcerality come to emerge as a central construction of life in our globalized world? In what ways do technologies of incarceration and securitization, legal and regulative apparatus, and economic systems impact who and what is imbricated in experiences and imaginations of carcerality? How do these practices manifest in various geographical locations and at different scales? What are the likely ongoing impacts of living in a carceral world? Ultimately, what systems of power shape notions of carcerality and what does this mean for better understanding methods of incarceration, as well as the wider politics of spaces that might be considered carceral? These are the questions central to this timely edited collection, (In)Secure Worlds: Scales, Systems and Spaces of Carcerality.

Accordingly, chapters are sought that serve to:

  • Deploy carcerality to make visible the intersections between prison conditions, colonialism and the capitalist system. Where concepts like surveillance, security and (im)mobility crucially focus on strategies and technologies of what Bigo calls professional population management (2008), the concept of carcerality helps to account for the historical and social constructions of extraction that drive connections between prisons, colonialism and the capitalist system (Fludernik 2019). In doing so carcerality explicates and makes visible the constructed nature of punishment and punitive desires in contemporary entanglements of security and capitalist labor. Under what conditions has carcerality developed and what systems continue to perpetuate its existence? How may understanding the intersections between carcerality and other world systems serve to disrupt these relationships?
  • Focus attention on the role of carcerality in spatial organization. As Moran et al. (2018) have noted, Foucault thinks the carceral as reverberating rings that disseminate discipline and self-surveillance throughout society. However, the prototypical carceral institutions he mentions, like orphanages, reformatories, disciplinary battalions, alms houses, workhouses, and factory-convents have largely waned or changed. What, then, are the carceral institutions and spaces in our current epoch and how does an analysis of those spaces help us to better understand carcerality now?
  • Open up analysis of specific conditions, experiences and imaginaries of incarceration. The word carceral, as denoting what pertains to the prison and to what is prison-like, allows for an analysis of how carceral conditions are repeated and recreated in spaces outside the prison. Although an overreliance on metaphors of carcerality risks glossing the experiences of imprisoned people, the concept also has the power to address the relays and slippages that occur in the feedback loops between on-site prison experiences and broader and more global carceral processes, like prison imaginaries in popular culture, the design of prison cells, and the globalization of prison governance regimes. Frequently, these processes rely on gendered, classed, and racialized experiences and ideas. The collection encourages contributions that allow for a better understanding of the prison itself as well as its broader influence in contemporary societies. How do particular experiences and ideas of gender, class and race shape and how are they shaped by the politics and aesthetics of incarceration?
  • Conceptualise carcerality in ways that facilitate analysis of structures of feeling associated with incarceration. The carceral’s ability to metaphorically (re)cast issues and ideas in terms of the prison highlights structures of feeling (Williams 1975) about the carceral that circulate socially (Fludernik 2005; Ahmed 2004). This begs the question why carceral metaphors pop up as frequently as they do outside the prison, what they are used for exactly and to what emotional and political effects? How is or can carcerality be embodied and performed? When is an experience carceral, and what does such a denotation help us see about the structures and experiences of present day precarity?

Contributions are not limited by discipline or geographical focus. Proposals from scholars from all career stages are encouraged. Proposals from non-Anglophone contexts are welcomed and editorial support will be given.

The following timescale for the volume is anticipated. Please note this in submitting your abstract for consideration:

– First submission of chapters to the editors required by 30thJune 2021.

– Final submission of revised chapters to the editors by 31st December 2021.

If you have any further questions, please contact the editors by email at:

Carceral Geography Working Group AGM

*With apologies for cross-posting*

Dear colleagues,

As noted on the AGM page for the RGS-IBG, the Annual General Meeting of the Carceral Geography Working Group (CGWG) of the RGS-IBG will take place online on Thursday 27th August 2020, 13:00-15:00 UK time (GMT+1). All are welcome. If you wish to send agenda items for discussion, please email our secretary Jennifer Turner ( by Thursday 20th August at noon. This meeting will be held over Zoom. Register for the Zoom session via Eventbrite.

The Carceral Geography Working Group is also looking for new committee members to fill the following positions:

  • Chair (3 year term)
  • Secretary (3 year term)
  • Postgraduate Representative (2 positions) (1 year term)

Candidates for these positions must be a Fellow or Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS-IBG.

* Chair is responsible for:

  • Chairing the AGM and working with the Research Group Secretary to produce meeting agendas, agree minutes, and communicate effectively with the RGS-IBG, CGWG committee, and membership; contributing to the Annual Report and other central RGS-IBG processes as required; a central point of contact for CGWG committee members and assisting relevant personnel with initiatives, events and activities as needed; attending Research Group Committee meetings and other associated events at the RGS-IBG offices (2-3 times per year); having (light touch) oversight of the Research Group’s activities

*Secretary is responsible for:

  • The coordination of the research group’s administration; preparation of agendas and notices; ensuring meetings are effectively organised and minuted; maintaining effective records; overseeing the membership of the group; communication and correspondence with the membership

* Postgraduate Representatives are responsible for:

  • promoting postgraduate interests and needs to the wider Research Group; occasional conference, seminar and session organisation for post-graduates (with rest of group) and maintaining connection with wider postgraduate community through the Postgraduate Forum.

Nominations for these committee roles are now open.  Nominations must be in writing to the Chair (Professor Dominique Moran – ) and Secretary (Dr Jennifer Turner – with the name of two nominators (these need not be Fellows of the RGS-IBG or existing committee members). Nominations are accepted until Thursday 20th August. If more than one person is nominated, a vote will be held during the business of the AGM. Candidates will ideally need to be based in the UK to attend meetings and make a commitment to fulfilling their elected post.

If you have any questions about what the roles involve, or anything else at all, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

All the best,

Dominique Moran (Chair, CGWG)

Jennifer Turner (Secretary, CGWG)

Anna Schliehe (Treasurer, CGWG)



CFP: To identify and expel: Historical and geographic approaches to spaces of detention. University of Cagliari, Italy 9- 10 July 2020

In the recent decades the administrative detention of “irregular” migrants has spread throughout the world as one of the main strategies adopted by nation states to assert control over migration, and to secure their territories and borders. Many scholars and observers consider the current developments as exceptional, and they believe them to represent a dramatic reaction from nation states against the challenges posed by migration fluxes. However, others have pointed out that detention has long been considered as a necessary prerogative of the state in order to identify, and eventually expel, dangerous individuals. According to this second perspective,the current situation should be seen as a development within the law, and not as sparking from a state of exception.

Regardless of our personal position, it is necessary to ask how the present state of the detention system for migrants relates to previous (and contemporary) strategies to control populations perceived as dangerous. Scholars have pointed out the similarities between detention centers and the various forms taken by the “concentration camp” in the last two centuries: the colonial camp, the internment camps during wars, the extermination camp, war refugees camp, etc… However, others have pointed to the crucial differences between the current forms of detention and the ones cited above.

Specifically, it is becoming harder to identify the “state”as a monolithic entity that operates with full agency in the current scenario. The presence of private actors, who are often almost as powerful as the state, represents an apparent discontinuity with the past. In many cases, private actors appear not only to manage detention centers, but also to lobby and operate in ways that address state policies or at least influence them in such ways that these actors cannot be seen as simple recipients of state decisions any longer. Starting from these considerations, this conference aims to spark critical and constructive reflections in order to find the best instruments to analyze the topic from historical and geographical perspectives.

In order to achieve this goal, the conference will ask the following questions: –

Is the paradigm of the concentration camp still useful to analyze present detention centers?

What is the role of private actors and how do they affect the current spaces of internment? –

What is, and has been, the role of the nation state to control, identify, and remove “dangerous” populations?

What is the role of supranational organizations such as the EU and how do they participate in the making of detention?

What is the role of international organizations, NGOs, and humanitarian associations,and how do they participate in, or oppose, detention?

How has the concept of citizenship influenced, and how does it reflect previous and current strategies of exclusion?

What kind of spaces are the camps?

How can space be used to exclude?

The call for papers is addressed to both PhDs and senior scholars. The conference will be held at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Cagliari in Cagliari (Italy) on the 9th and 10th of July 2020. Proposals of max 200 words are accepted both in English and Italian and should be sent by March 15th to Ettore Asoni, San Diego State University ( and Alessandro Pes, University of Cagliari ( Proposals will be selected by April 1st.

What ‘works’ in custodial design? Free workshop at the University of Birmingham, UK 30-31 March 2020

Custodial design (i.e. of correctional facilities, prisons, jails) has become big news. The scale and cost of incarceration has seen attention drawn to its effectiveness in delivering intended outcomes, with architecture and design recently coming under considerable media scrutiny. Whilst drawing attention to the structural violence of the carceral state, and arguing for decarceration, academic researchers are, in parallel, turning their attention to the effects of architectural and design elements on those who live, work in, or visit these facilities.

In the past, custodial design has prioritised the designing-out of risk (of escape, and of violence against the self and others). Whilst these considerations remain critical, more recently the balance has swung towards more aspirational – and controversial – ideas that facilities could instead be rehabilitative, even therapeutic environments that foster wellbeing.

We may know more than ever before about how built environments influence wellbeing in general, but the question of what custodial facilities should be like remains a challenging one. Policymakers may be open to new design ideas, but in managing tight budgets, they often require a challenging level of evidential proof of effect before changes are made.

This workshop presents research from leading international researchers addressing the question of ‘what works?’ in custodial design to deliver a rehabilitative, therapeutic environment, or other ‘positive’ outcomes. It will also help to scope out future research in this area.

All are welcome to attend – particularly prison and justice professionals, policymakers and practitioners who may be able to make use of the insights provided through the research presented, and whose input will help shape future research design.

Speakers will include:

Dominique Moran University of Birmingham, UK – Nature contact and wellbeing in prison

Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill City University of New York, USA

Kevin Bradley University of Technology, Sydney, Australia – Characterisation of custodial design through the lens of ‘citizenship’.

Elisabeth Fransson University College of Norwegian Correctional Services – Custodial design and the construction of hope in prison facilities for children and youths in Norway

Saul Hewish RideOut, UK – The Creative Prison Revisited

Yvonne Jewkes University of Bath, UK

Rohan Lulham, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia – Impacts of physical design on how staff and detainees are perceived in youth correctional settings.

Melissa Nadel Abt Associates, Cambridge MA, USA – Challenges and Solutions for Establishing the Impact of Custodial Design on Measurable Outcomes

Roger Paez AiB Architects, Barcelona, Spain – Critical Prison Design – Between Pragmatic Engagement and the Dream of Decarceration

Ashley Rubin University of Hawaii, USA – Learning from lessons of past prison design.

Julie Stevens Iowa State University – From Grey to Green: A Case for New Standards for the Correctional Natural Landscape

Victor St. John City University of New York. USA

Christine Tartaro Stockton University, USA – Culture Change within Facilities that Incarcerate

Barb Toews University of Washington, USA – Prioritizing accountability and reparations: Restorative justice design and infrastructure

The workshop will be held at the University of Birmingham, UK on 30-31 March 2020.

Attendance is free and delegates are invited to register here. Optional day catering and a conference dinner (limited numbers) can be added to bookings. Registrations with catering/dinner must be completed by 20th March 2020; registrations without catering will be taken until 28th March 2020.