Mass incarceration is one of the most pressing ethical and political issues of our time. In this volume, philosophers join activists and those incarcerated on death row to grapple with contemporary U.S. punishment practices and draw out critiques around questions of power, identity, justice, and ethical responsibility.
This work takes shape against a backdrop of disturbing trends: The United States incarcerates more of its own citizens than any other country in the world. A disproportionate number of these prisoners are people of color, and, today, a black man has a greater chance of going to prison than to college. The United States is the only Western democracy to retain the death penalty, even after decades of scholarship, statistics, and even legal decisions have depicted a deeply flawed system structured by racism and class oppression.
Motivated by a conviction that mass incarceration and state execution are among the most important ethical and political problems of our time, the contributors to this volume come together from a diverse range of backgrounds to analyze, critique, and envision alternatives to the injustices of the U.S. prison system, with recourse to deconstruction, phenomenology, critical race theory, feminism, queer theory, and disability studies. They engage with the hyper-incarceration of people of color, the incomplete abolition of slavery, the exploitation of prisoners as workers and as "raw material" for the prison industrial complex, the intensive confinement of prisoners in supermax units, and the complexities of capital punishment in an age of abolition.
The resulting collection contributes to a growing intellectual and political resistance to the apparent inevitability of incarceration and state execution as responses to crime and to social inequalities. It addresses both philosophers and activists who seek intellectual resources to contest the injustices of punishment in the United States.
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Number of pages: 424
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
"What does it mean to live in what Wacquant has called `the first genuine prison society in history' and to be caught in the grip of a carceral state, economy, and public imaginary? What does philosophy, or rather philosophers, have to say about what this cancer growing in the very viscera of democracy: racialized, systematic, and capillary massive imprisonment? Perhaps philosophy itself has been imprisoned by its silence about this societal crisis. This anthology brings together philosophers, prison activists, former and present prisoners, to offer what are unquestionably the most thorough, insightful and incisive analyses of the origins and nefarious effects that the prison industrial complex has on our imprisoned democracy. Ranging across the philosophical corpus, from Nietzsche through Davis to Derrida, the contributors put philosophy to work on behalf of abolitionism, decarceration and reconstruction. The editors, however, have more than saved the honor of philosophy by having it address one of our most pressing yet invisible problems we face; they have given us a work that established a new benchmark. Henceforth, we must begin with this text if we are to think about racial justice and the democracy to come that the abolition of slavery promised but that at the very moment of its birth was compromised. There will be no racial democracy without abolition democracy. This is the new imperative that W.E.B. DuBois enunciated nearly a century ago, but which has become more urgent in our time." -- -Eduardo Mendieta * Stony Brook University *
"This is a crucially important work, one that while centering on philosophy far exceeds the bounds of the discipline, reaching out toward the concrete to grapple not just with a, but the question of our moment in ways that are both practical and rigorous." -- -George Ciccariello-Maher * Drexel University *
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