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:

h.h.stuit@uva.nl

jennifer.turner@uni-oldenburg.de

j.h.j.weegels@uva.nl

New book! Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention (Deirdre Conlon and Nancy Hiemstra)

intimate-economies-coverTwo of the leading scholars in carceral geography have put together a superb collection of essays in the Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy series, scrutinising the ideologies, policies and practices that enable the troubling, unparalleled and seemingly unbridled growth of immigration detention around the world.

In Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention an international collection of scholars provides crucial new insights into immigration detention, recounting at close range how detention’s effects ricochet from personal and everyday experiences to broader political-economic, social and cultural spheres. Contributors draw on original research in the US, Australia, Europe, and beyond to scrutinise the increasingly tangled relations associated with detention operation and migration management. With new theoretical and empirical perspectives on detention, the chapters collectively present a toolbox for better understanding the forces behind and broader implications of the seemingly uncontested rise of immigration detention.

Reviews:

‘This impressive and wide-ranging collection brings together leading scholars to expose the intimate economies, experiences, and processes that shape immigration detention. From the pocket money provided for asylum seekers in Danish detention centres, to the growing capacity of the detention estate across Europe, this collection traces a series of politically astute linkages between intimate experiences and global processes. By placing detention at the heart of contemporary migration, Conlon and Hiemstra have produced a volume that makes a critical intervention into debates over mobility, governance, and the politics of citizenship. In foregrounding the entangled relationships of detention, this volume contributes both a theoretically innovative focus on the intimate, whilst also calling attention to the political and ethical urgency of challenging detention across the world. Anyone interested in understanding the immigration detention industry, and in actively contesting it, will find inventive, insightful, and powerful resources in this book.’ — Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester, UK

‘Deirdre Conlon and Nancy Hiemstra have pulled together an astonishing collection of essays which focus on the intimate economies of immigration detention and shed light on the lived experiences of being detained in several countries. The wide geographic range presented in this collection is impressive and helps give the reader a sense of the extent to which immigration detention has become a global phenomenon. The collection is theoretically and empirically innovative, providing us both with new ways of thinking about the increasingly-common practice of detention as well as new insights into the significant physical and emotional toll detention takes on migrants’ lives. The editors creatively build on concepts of accumulation and dispossession to advance our conceptual understanding of the intimate economies of immigration detention. This important set of essays brings that which is often hidden – immigration detention – to light and does so in provocative ways. This book will be a critical addition to classes on immigration, political economy, and state repression. Moreover, anyone interested in migrant rights anywhere in the world should read this volume.’ — Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Merced, US

‘Intimate Economies of Immigrant Detention powerfully brings to life the best of feminist theory by showing how and why the seemingly banal, the familiar, and the everyday matter—and matter in profound ways. From the price of toothpaste immigrant detainees are compelled to pay to humanitarian efforts to “improve” what are inherently dehumanizing detention practices, this invaluable volume illuminates the messy connections between political economic processes, state practices, and experiences imprisoned migrants endure. In doing so, the book demonstrates the simultaneous hardening of various boundaries and their increasing blurriness given the myriad connections that transcend and produce them, and that they reflect.’ — Joseph Nevins, Associate Professor of Geography, Vassar College, USA.

 

 

Criminological Encounters – call for papers for new journal

Carceral geographers may be interested to submit papers for the inaugural issue of the new free open-access journal Criminological Encounters,  a new international, interdisciplinary and open-access journal that aims to facilitate critical dialogues between scholars of criminology and interlocutors in other social, academic, and professional domains about contemporary issues of crime, harm, violence, in/justice, security, law, and society.

The editors have published the following invitation for submissions for Issue 1: “Introducing Criminological Encounters”

“Criminology is famously described as a rendezvous discipline: a meeting place for the established disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, as well as the exact and natural sciences. At the same time criminology can be considered as a self-established, standalone discipline with transdiciplinary origins. The underdetermined character of criminology in these times of heightened sensitivities to issues of crime and in/security makes it a challenging but also exciting field of study. This journal understands criminology as a discipline of encounters: encounters both in the sense of constructive dialogues as well as confrontations around given subjects. These confrontations are at times intellectual in nature, and at others are more explicitly political. This journal also considers criminology as not only the science for the study and understanding of crime and its causes and consequences but also as a discipline that is dedicated to research on conflicts and other social issues from a holistic perspective.

Forthcoming issues within Criminological Encounters will focus on thematic topics and feature competing and complimentary perspectives around these themes. This could be, for example, an encounter between criminologists and sociologists, or between health scholars and nutritionists on the topic of “food in prison”. It could be an encounter between criminologists and urban sociologists, geographers and urban studies scholars on topics like “conflict in public spaces”, “border control and crimmigration”, “electronic monitoring”, “youth delinquency”, and so on.

The journal is, however, not limited to interdisciplinary dialogues but also includes debates between scientists and practitioners (e.g. criminology scholars and law enforcement agents), between criminologists from the “Global North” and criminologists from the “Global South”, or between different criminological methodologies (e.g. qualitative versus quantitative) and theoretical schools of thought (e.g. Foucauldian versus Marxist). Many different encounters are thus possible.”

While the issues of this journal will focus on thematic topics, its very first issue, scheduled for publication in fall 2016, will take its title “Criminological Encounters” as the subject of scrutiny.  Both theoretical reflections and empirical contributions that are in line with, but not limited to, the following themes, will be welcome:

  • The dialogues between criminology and given disciplines: e.g. criminology and geography, criminology and law, criminology and political science, criminology and philosophy;
  • The dialogues between criminology scholars and practitioners: e.g. criminology and law enforcement agents, criminology and policy makers;
  • The encounter between competing research methods: e.g. qualitative versus quantitative approaches in criminology;
  • The encounter between competing theories or between different schools of thought: e.g. critical versus positivistic criminology; American versus European criminology; criminology from the “Global South” and criminology from the “Global North”;
  • The essence of criminology as a standalone discipline amid its different multidisciplinary influences;
  • Criminology as the science for the studies of conflicts;
  •  “Criminological encounters”: authors are invited to present other possibilities of interpretation of such encounters;

The editors appeal to authors from different disciplinary backgrounds who – given their research subjects – are seeking a dialogue with criminology. These encounters between different intellectual school of thoughts and competing paradigms set the stage for intra- or interdisciplinary dialogues about an array of topics. And it is exactly these conversations that we set out to present in this journal.

Submission

Submissions in English of a minimum of 6,000 and a  maximum of 9,000 words (notes and bibliographic references included) should be sent before May 22nd, 2016 through the online submission link. All articles will pass a double blind review process and authors can expect feedback on their submission within 3 months. The journal will not charge any submission fee.

New book – Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past

HGPUUCPKaren Morin and I are delighted to announce that the new edited collection Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past will shortly be published by Routledge.

Conceived of following Karen’s Distinguished Historical Geography lecture at the 2013 Los Angeles meeting of the Association of American Geographers, the book draws in part on papers presented in the subsequent sessions on carceral historical geographies at the Tampa AAG in 2014.

This is the first book to provide a comprehensive historical-geographical lens to the development and evolution of correctional institutions as a specific subset of carceral geographies. It analyzes and critiques global practices of incarceration, regimes of punishment, and their corresponding spaces of “corrections” from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. It examines individuals’ experiences within various regulatory regimes and spaces of punishment, and offers an interpretation of spaces of incarceration as cultural-historical artifacts. The book also analyzes the spatial-distributional geographies of incarceration, particularly with respect to their historical impact on community political-economic development and local geographies. Contributions examine a range of prison sites and the practices that take place within them to help us understand how regimes of punishment are experienced, and are constructed in different kinds of ways across space and time for very different ends. The overall aim is to help understand the legacies of carceral geographies in the present. The resonances across space and time tell a profound story of social and spatial legacies and, as such, offer important insights into the prison crisis we see in many parts of the world today.

The book will be officially launched at the 16th International Conference of Historical Geographers which will take place in London, at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) from Sunday 5th July to Friday 10th July 2015. A special panel has been convened for Thursday 9th July 2015, 14:15 – 16:00. Chapter contributors Rashad Shabazz, Kimberley Peters and Katherine Roscoe will join the book’s editors, and also Simon Naylor and Laura Cameron, the editors of the Routledge Research Series in Historical Geography, for which this is the first publication.

The book’s contents are as follows:

1 Introduction: historical geographies of prisons: unlocking the usable carceral past (Karen M. Morin and Dominique Moran)

PART I On the inside: carceral techniques in historical context

2 Carceral acoustemologies: historical geographies of sound in a Canadian prison (Katie Hemsworth)

3 The prison inside: a genealogy of solitary confinement as counter-resistance (Brett Story)

4 ‘Sores in the city’: a genealogy of the Almighty Black P. Stone Rangers (Rashad Shabazz)

PART II Prisons as artifacts in historical-cultural transition

5 Doing time-travel: performing past and present at the prison museum (Jennifer Turner and Kimberley Peters)

6 Carceral retasking and the work of historical societies at decommissioned lock-ups, jails, and prisons in Ontario (Kevin Walby and Justin Piché)

7 Prisoners in Zion: Shaker sites as foundations for later communities of incarceration (Carol Medlicott)

8 Cartographies of affects: undoing the prison in collective art by women prisoners (Susana Draper)

PART III Carceral topographies: the political economy of prison industrial growth and change

9 Locating penal transportation: punishment, space, and place c.1750 to 1900 (Clare Anderson, Carrie M. Crockett, Christian G. De Vito, Takashi Miyamoto, Kellie Moss, Katherine Roscoe, Minako Sakata)

10 Little Siberia, star of the North: the political economy of prison dreams in the Adirondacks (Jack Norton)

11 From prisons to hyperpolicing: neoliberalism, carcerality, and regulative geographies (Brian Jordan Jefferson)

12 From private to public: examining the political economy of Wisconsin’s private prison experiment (Anne Bonds)

13 Afterword (Dominique Moran)

New book: “Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration”

9781409452348.PPC_PPC TemplateMy new book ‘Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration’ is now out with Ashgate.

The ‘punitive turn’ has brought about new ways of thinking about geography and the state, and has highlighted spaces of incarceration as a new terrain for exploration by geographers. In this book I try to offer a geographical perspective on incarceration, track the ideas, practices and engagements that have shaped the development of this new and vibrant subdiscipline, and scope out future research directions. By conveying a sense of the debates, directions, and threads within the field of carceral geography, the book traces the inner workings of this dynamic field, its synergies with criminology and prison sociology, and its likely future trajectories. Synthesizing existing work in carceral geography, and exploring the future directions it might take, it develops a notion of the ‘carceral’ as spatial, emplaced, mobile, embodied and affective.

Contents: Introduction; Origins and dialogues. Part I Carceral Space: Carceral space; The emotional and embodied geographies of prison life; Carceral TimeSpace. Part II Geographies of Carceral Systems: Geographies of carceral systems; Prison transport and disciplined mobility; Inside/outside and the contested prison boundary. Part III The Carceral and a Punitive State: The carceral and a punitive state; Prison buildings and the design of carceral space; Carceral cultural landscapes, post-prisons and the spectacle of punishment; Afterword; Bibliography; Index.

 

Call for Chapters: Carceral Mobilities

Call for Chapters: Carceral Mobilities

Jennifer Turner and Kimberley Peters have been invited by Routledge to submit a proposal for an edited collection on the theme of Carceral Mobilities. They would like to invite individuals to participate in the project by contributing a chapter to the collection.

If you are interested in doing so, please indicate your interest at your earliest convenience, and then submit an abstract of 250-300 words, and a proposed chapter title, by January 31st 2015.

As the sub-field of Carceral Geography continues to gain momentum, interrogating the spatialiaties of confinement, detention and imprisonment, the question of mobilities has emerged as a central concern. Whilst, as Chris Philo has recently noted (2014), carceral space may not be the most obvious lens through which to explore mobilities, movement pervades experiences and practices of incarceration. As Moran et al. (2012) contend processes of holding, restraining and imprisoning, which are so crucial to carceral regimes, assume absolute fixity for those individuals detained. Yet as these authors, and others (see Gill 2009; Moran et al. 2012; Mountz et al. 2012; Ong et al. 2014; Philo 2014) have argued, mobility is part and parcel of carcerality.  The immobilities that shape our perceptions of carceral life are, in fact, reliant on a host of mobilities (Gill 2009; Mountz et al. 2012). Moreover, even within carceral regimes – inside the prison walls, detention centres and immigration stations – mobilities occur as bodies are disciplined to move in specific ways (Philo 2014) and identities become fluid and mobilised across borders (Mountz et al. 2012). In this volume we seek to bring together a series of chapters that negotiate the complex and contested ground of carceral mobilities, highlighting the array of mobilities that shape carceral life, adding to this rich area of discussion, whilst also contributing to the burgeoning field of Mobilities studies, through using carceral space as a window of exploration.

Contributions may focus upon any aspect of the carceral:

  • Policing
  • Prisons
  • Probation
  • Immigrant detention
  • Internment
  • Detention and mental health
  • Prisoners of war
  • Abstract notions of ‘confinement’ or ‘detention’

They may include (but need not be limited to) the following areas:

  • Mobilities across boundaries and borders
  • Movements within carceral spaces
  • Architecture and the shaping of mobilities
  • Mobilities of bodies and identities
  • Mobilities of objects, and contraband
  • Transportation mobilities (carceral movements by plane, train, automobile)
  • Virtual or imaginative mobilities
  • Mobile technologies and practices (i.e. tags, curfews and probationary regimes)
  • Mobilities and carceral regulations/rules

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

  • First submission of chapters to the editors required by 31st August 2015
  • Final submission of revised chapters to the editors by 31st December 2015

Jen and Kim hope that you will want to be involved in this exciting project, and if you would like to discuss this further, please contact them as follows:

jt264@leicester.ac.uk Jennifer Turner

k.peters@aber.ac.uk Kimberley Peters

 

New special issue of Geographica Helvetica on carceral geography

Jen Turner, postdoctoral researcher on the Prison Design project, has guest edited a terrific special issue of the open-access geography journal Geographica Helvetica, which will be of interest to all researching carceral spaces.

Entitled “Criminality and Carcerality Across Boundaries“, the special issue contains papers by Matt Mitchelson, Deirdre Conlon, Nancy Hiemstra, Jenna Loyd, Alison Mountz, Brett Story, Martijn Felder, Chin-Ee Ong, Claudio Minca, Elizabeth Brown, Dominique Moran and Yvonne Jewkes.

In her guest editorial, Jen encourages carceral geographers to replace the terms commonly used to describe this subdiscipline – such as  “emergent”  – with what she calls “terminology… altogether more fitting: well-established, evolutionary and/or here to stay.” If you agree, please consider completing this survey on a possible research group/working group of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers.

The full contents list of the Special Issue, with weblinks looks like this:

Introduction: Criminality and carcerality across boundaries

J. Turner
Geogr. Helv., 69, 321-323, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 32 KB)

 
The production of bedspace: prison privatization and abstract space

M. L. Mitchelson
Geogr. Helv., 69, 325-333, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 82 KB)

 
Examining the everyday micro-economies of migrant detention in the United States

D. Conlon and N. Hiemstra
Geogr. Helv., 69, 335-344, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 93 KB)

 
“Green” prisons: rethinking the “sustainability” of the carceral estate

D. Moran and Y. Jewkes
Geogr. Helv., 69, 345-353, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 75 KB)

 
Alone inside: solitary confinement and the ontology of the individual in modern life

B. Story
Geogr. Helv., 69, 355-364, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 87 KB)

 
Governing refugee space: the quasi-carceral regime of Amsterdam’s Lloyd Hotel, a German-Jewish refugee camp in the prelude to World War II

M. Felder, C. Minca, and C. E. Ong
Geogr. Helv., 69, 365-375, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 907 KB)

 
Expanding carceral geographies: challenging mass incarceration and creating a “community orientation” towards juvenile delinquency

E. Brown
Geogr. Helv., 69, 377-388, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 96 KB)

 
Transnational productions of remoteness: building onshore and offshore carceral regimes across borders

A. Mountz and J. Loyd
Geogr. Helv., 69, 389-398, 2014
Abstract   Full Article (PDF, 293 KB)

 

Forthcoming book: Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past

Karen Morin and I are excited to announce that our new edited volume is forthcoming with Routledge, in their new Historical Geography series. This book, Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past, arises from conversations between Karen and I over the past couple of years, and builds both on her Distinguished Historical Geographer Plenary Lecture: Carceral Space and the Usable Past (published here in the Journal of Historical Geography) and on themed sessions we organised at the AAG conference in Tampa earlier this year.

The book, which Routledge intend to launch at the International Conference of Historical Geographers in London in July 2015, analyzes and critiques practices of incarceration, regimes of punishment, and their corresponding spaces of “corrections” from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries in sites spanning the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Latin America. It will be the first volume of its kind to use an explicitly historical-geographical lens to study the development and evolution of prisons. Contributors to the volume collectively argue that an historical geographical approach to studying corrections can improve our understanding of the prison crisis that we see in many parts of the world today (most notably the U.S.), but in order to do so, argue that we must first pragmatically distinguish a “usable” historical geography of the carceral past.

We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring together a volume of original papers, expansive in geographical and historical reach. Our authors range from senior established professors to emerging junior scholars. Contributors to the volume include self-identifying historical geographers as well as experts in carceral pasts who follow historical geography logics and methodologies. We are excited to work with these colleagues, and to bring their work to a diverse audience.

We plan a session at the ICHG in 2015 around the book itself, the themes that it addresses, and the wider context within which it sits – watch this space for more details!

 

‘Carceral Spaces’ reviewed in Antipode

moran_gen 55 cover.QXD_mobility and agencyA review of our recent book ‘Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention’ (Ashgate 2013) has just been published in radical geography journal ‘Antipode’. Jill Williams reviews the book alongside ‘Beyond Walls and Cages’, edited by our colleagues Jenna Loyd, Matt Mitchelson and Andrew Burridge.

Jill Williams’ review highlights the differences between the two volumes, but notes that both make ‘important contributions to the existing critical geographic scholarship on imprisonment and migrant detention’. Read the full review here.

New papers in carceral geography

I’ve been away for a little while, and in the meantime there have been some fascinating papers published which may be of interest to carceral geographers:

For geographers of incarceration working with Agamben’s notion of the space of exception, Marco Antonsich’s recent paper in Area may be of interest. In his paper about the buffer zone between the two sovereign entities of the island of Cyprus, he draws “on a post-colonial reading of this Agambenian notion”, and “analyses the specifics of a ‘terrain of resistance’ deliberately located in the exception”. The paper argues that “rather than being a dispossessing condition, the exception might actually be empowering, because it offers the activists a terrain from which to contest the very norm that they are escaping.”

Karen M Morin’s new paper, published earlier this year in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, entitled “”Security here is not safe”: violence, punishment, and space in the contemporary US penitentiary” addresses the applicability of Agamben to the carceral context. The paper takes as its focus the US penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, which was retrofitted in 2008 to offer the country’s first federal Special Management Unit (SMU) programme of its kind. This model SMU is designed for federal inmates from around the country identified as the most intractably troublesome, and features double-celling of inmates in tiny spaces, in 23-hour or 24-hour a day lockdown, requiring them to pass through a two-year programme of readjustment. These spatial tactics, and the philosophy of punishment underlying them, contrast with the modern reform ideals upon which the prison was designed and built in 1932. The SMU represents the latest punitive phase in American penology, one that neither simply eliminates men as in the premodern spectacle, nor creates the docile, rehabilitated bodies of the modern panopticon; rather, it is a late-modern structure that produces only fear, terror, violence, and death. This SMU represents the latest of the late-modern prisons, similar to other supermax facilities in the US but offering its own unique system of punishment as well. While the prison exists within the system of American law and jurisprudence, it also manifests features of Agamben’s lawless, camp-like space that emerges during a state of exception, exempt from outside scrutiny with inmate treatment typically beyond the scope of the law.

This paper represents part of Karen Morin’s current research focus, which she discussed in her “Carceral Space and the Usable Past” Distinguished Historical Geography Plenary Lecture, presented at the Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers in Los Angeles, 2013. Focusing on mass incarceration trends in the U.S., her talk built on an historical geography of the carceral state. It asked what have historical geographers contributed to discussions of U.S. mass incarceration – what spaces, knowledges, and practices have caught our attention, and why? And where should we go from here? Karen argued that in order to build towards other possible non-carceral futures we need to pragmatically distinguish the “usable past.”

In early view on the website of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Anne Bonds’ new paper “Economic Development, Racialization, and Privilege: “Yes in My Backyard” Prison Politics and the Reinvention of Madras, Oregon” takes further her work on prison siting. The article draws from geographic engagements with theories of racialization and NIMBYism to explore connections between economic development and the relational construction of racial identities. In the paper, Bonds investigates the discourses of local white leadership surrounding two interconnected economic agendas crafted with the goal of remaking the central Oregon town of Madras into an upscale, white community, including (1) entrepreneurial prison development, and (2) an urban renewal project emphasizing high-income residential construction and the removal of “blighted” housing. Community leaders framed these developments as essential to changing perceptions of Madras based on its racial makeup and entrenched poverty. White officials promoted prison recruitment and upscale housing development through a normative racial framework that reaffirmed the privileged status of whites, stigmatized Latinos and Native Americans, and (re)produced unequal spaces. Through this empirical focus, she calls attention to the centrality of race in economic practices, emphasizing how racialized privilege and marginalization are reproduced through development agendas that give shape to geographies of opportunity and (dis)advantage.