Contesting the “Justice Campus”: Abolitionist Resistance to Liberal Carceral Expansion

Judah Schept


"In this essay, it is this disjuncture—the embrace of liberal carcerality and the rejection of the carceral state and nation—that forms my starting point of examination and a point of departure for the central exploration of these pages: resistance to liberal carceral expansion. I draw on interviews and participant observation to illustrate the diverse ways in which community activists intervened in the narrative of carceral expansion.1 I try to convey my observations through both “thick description” (Geertz 1973) and through the critically important project of locating analysis of the “local” amidst the moving and implicating currents of mass incarceration and the broader political-economic and cultural flows of which it is a part (Appadurai 1996; Clifford and Marcus 1986; Gupta and Ferguson 1997; Smith 2001)."

1All place, personal, and organizational names are pseudonyms.


Prisons; Incarceration; Campus; Education; privatization; ethnography

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