Registration open, and new Confirmed Speakers: 2nd International Conference for Carceral Geography, 11-12 Dec 2017, University of Birmingham

carceral geography


Registration is now open for the 2nd International Conference for Carceral Geography, to be held at the University of Birmingham on 11th and 12th December 2017.

In addition to the previously confirmed speakers (Mary Bosworth, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, David Maguire and James Oleson), we are delighted to announce that Andrew Jefferson and Chris Philo will also be addressing the conference.

Paper and session proposals are warmly invited – see the CFP for more details on submission procedures and timelines.

Registration will remain open until 5th December. Intended delegates are welcome to register at any time, but prospective paper presenters and/or session organisers may prefer to wait until decisions on papers/sessions (and any travel/accommodation bursaries requested) have been communicated by the conference organisers (by 31 Oct 2017).

Although the conference is free to attend, delegates may opt to add day catering and/or the conference dinner…

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Carceral Geography comes to Liverpool

As some of you may know, I’ve recently joined the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Liverpool. Here I summarise my research interests and introduce my latest book publication….

Geography at the University of Liverpool Blog

Post by Dr Jennifer Turner

Human Geography at Liverpool has a strong reputation for the study of socio-spatial exclusion, inequality, geographies of the life-course and developing understandings of moving, mobile populations. As a new Lecturer in Human Geography, I’ve been excited to join this vibrant department, bringing to it, a further way of thinking about those themes – through the study of so-called ‘carceral’ life – or, in layman’s terms, thinking about the geographies of places of imprisonment, detainment or confinement and the people who are involved with these spaces.

My research focuses upon spaces and practices of incarceration, past and present. Most recently, I have interrogated prison architecture, design, technology and their potential to impact upon rehabilitation. Other interests include penal tourism, articulations of the prison boundary and conceptualisations of carceral space. My work has been published widely in the fields of carceral geography and criminology.  Please see my

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New paper… Rethinking mobility in criminology: Beyond horizontal mobilities of prisoner transportation

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new paper in Punishment and Society, co-authored with Dr Kimberley Peters (University of Liverpool).

Rethinking mobility in criminology: Beyond horizontal mobilities of prisoner transportation

Typically, to be incarcerated is to be fixed: limited within specific parameters or boundaries with liberty and agency greatly reduced. Yet, recent literature has attended to the movement (or mobilities) that shape, or are shaped by modes of incarceration. Rather than simply assuming that experiences are inherently ones of immobility, such literature unhinges carceral studies from its framing within a sedentary ontology. However, the potential of mobility studies for unpacking the movements enfolded in carceral space and imprisoned life has yet to be fully exploited. When attending to mobilities, criminologists have investigated the politics of movement through a traditional horizontal frame of motion (between prison spaces, between court and prison, etc.). This paper contends that studies of mobility in criminology could be productively rethought. Drawing on movements of convicts from Britain to Australia aboard prison ships, this paper argues that straightforward, horizontal mobilities at work in regimes of control and practices of resistance marry together with vertical mobilities. Paying attention to the complex mobilities involved in carceral experience leads to a more nuanced understanding of regimes of discipline and practices of resistance that shape how incarcerated individuals move (or are unable to move) within carceral spaces, past and present. Download a copy of the paper here.

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Proposal for a Carceral Geography research group at the RGS-IBG

carceral geography

There is a proposal in draft to create a Carceral Geography research group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.
Whether you are a member of the RGS-IBG or not, and (especially!) if you have never heard of it, please read on!
The purpose of such a group would be to provide a platform for further development of carceral geography, with dialogue between geographers interested in confinement (including diverse types of incarceration, detention, and custody) and scholars in other disciplines who are interested in geographical approaches to confinement (e.g. in criminology and prison sociology). An explicit intention would also be to provide a forum for discussion between researchers and practitioners/professionals in this area, both to connect the potential users of research with the people undertaking it, and to enable academics to better understand the priorities and pressures of professional practice.
This group would be free…

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Call for Papers AAG 2016 – Carceral Geography: Conceptualising the Carceral

Call for Papers AAG 2016 San Francisco, CA

Carceral Geography: Conceptualising the Carceral

Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham) and Jennifer Turner (University of Leicester)

The ‘carceral’ exists both within and separate from the physical spaces of incarceration; it aligns with the conceptual framework of the ‘carceral turn’ as addressing ‘human experiences and social practices that involve systems of confinement [which] differ from those that a sociology of punishment can or perhaps should address’ (Brown 2014, 178). In this way, carceral geography contributes to an understanding of the carceral which ‘complicates and exceeds categories of criminality, penality and victimhood’ (ibid).

Carceral geography has already concerned itself with (experiences of) spaces of confinement very broadly conceived and operating at every scale from the global to the personal, and in this CFP we wish to explore the potential diversity of research in this arena. Although ‘incarceration’ has conventionally come to refer to the legal confinement of sentenced offenders under the jurisdiction of the state, by contrast the ‘carceral’ embraces the myriad ways in which persons could be, and indeed are, confined by other means; or indeed the means by which they could confine themselves. Whilst appreciating that such circumstances differ dramatically from each other, taking this more wide-ranging approach enables geography to interpret the ‘carceral’ as far exceeding imprisonment. Whilst including the conventional, state-sanctioned spaces of incarceration which hold sentenced prisoners, it also encompasses the spaces of detention of refugees, noncitizens, asylum seekers, the trafficked and the renditioned, as well as ‘forms of confinement that burst internment structures and deliver carceral effects without physical immobilization’ (Moran et al 2013, 240).

In this CFP we invite submissions whose intention is to move towards a conceptualisation of the carceral which exceeds conventional incarceration; considering the reach of the ‘carceral’ beyond spaces, practices and institutions of imprisonment.

Papers could consider topics including, but not limited to:

  • theorisations of the carceral
  • unlawful imprisonment, kidnap, abduction, curfew, grounding
  • electronic monitoring, surveillance and securitized public spaces
  • personal and nuanced forms of confinement
  • mobile notions of the carceral inscribed upon the individual
  • embodied stigma and corporeal practices which recall previous (conventional) incarceration


Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Jennifer Turner ( and Dominique Moran ( by Friday 9th October 2015.

Successful submissions will be contacted by 15th October 2015 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015 ahead of a session proposal deadline of 18th November 2015. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the formal submission of abstracts to AAG.

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New paper… Unlocking carceral atmospheres: designing visual/material encounters at the prison museum

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new paper in the Designing Atmospheres Special issue of Visual Communication, co-authored with Dr Kimberley Peters (Aberystwyth University).

Unlocking carceral atmospheres: designing visual/material encounters at the prison museum

Using a variety of devices from visual displays, material objects, sensory engagements and embodied performance, museums select and narrate particular moments in history to an increasingly active audience. Thus far, focus on specific elements of museum design has eluded the altogether more pervasive, intangible and complex sensations designed, engineered, co-constituted and also arising unexpectedly from these sites: atmospheres. This article draws upon a particular museum experience – that of the prison museum – to interrogate how atmospheres are a key component of re-telling the past. Here, the authors explore the production and consumption of what they term ‘carceral atmospheres’. Focusing on two prison museums, the article explores how visitors unlock experiences of incarceration via the variety of atmospheric sensations calculated and provoked in these museum settings through visual/material manifestations and cues. The authors conclude that understanding atmospheric design is vital to gaining a deeper appreciation of how heritage sites function in the 21st century. Download a copy of the paper here.

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New Paper… Between crime and colony: interrogating (im)mobilities aboard the convict ship

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new paper in Social and Cultural Geography, co-authored with Dr Kimberley Peters (Aberystwyth University).

Between crime and colony: interrogating (im)mobilities aboard the convict ship

Abstract: Recent literature in carceral geography has attended to the importance of mobilities in interrogating the experience and control of spaces of imprisonment, detention and confinement. Scholars have explored the paradoxical nature of incarcerated experience as individuals oscillate between moments of fixity and motion as they are transported to/from carceral environments. This paper draws upon the convict ship – an example yet to gain attention within these emerging discussions – which is both an exemplar of this paradox and a lens through which to complicate understandings of carceral (im)mobilities. The ship is a space of macro-movement from point A to B, whilst simultaneously a site of apparent confinement for those aboard who are unable to move beyond its physical parameters. Yet, we contend that all manner of mobilities permeate the internal space of the ship. Accordingly, we challenge the binary thinking that separates moments of fixity from motion and explore the constituent parts that shape movement. In paying attention to movements in motion on the ship, we argue that studies of carceral mobility must attend to both methods of moving in the space between points A and B; as micro, embodied and intimate (im)mobilities are also played out within large-scale regimes of movement. Download a copy of the paper here

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