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, we seek chapters that serve to:
1. 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?
2. 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, almshouses, 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?
3. 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?
4. 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?
We would like to invite you to participate in this exciting interdisciplinary project by contributing a chapter to the collection. If you are interested in doing so, we ask that you submit an abstract of 250-300 words, a proposed chapter title and a short bio of 80 words to us by 30 November 2020. The envisioned chapters are approximately 6000-8000 words. Please make sure your proposed work fits the rationale of the collection.
Contributions are not limited by discipline or geographical focus. We welcome proposals from scholars from all career stages. Proposals from non-Anglophone contexts are welcomed and editorial support will be given.
We anticipate the following timescale for the volume. Please note this in submitting your abstract for consideration:
- First submission of chapters to the editors required by 30th June 2021.
- Final submission of revised chapters to the editors by 31st December 2021.