‘We Will Be Written Out of History’: Feminist Challenges to Carceral Violence and the Activist Archive

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2018 Last revised: 24 May 2018

Date Written: January 10, 2018


English Abstract: Feminist activism has played an important role in documenting, highlighting and challenging carceral violence against women within and beyond prison walls. Using the campaign against the punitive segregation of women in high-security men’s prisons in the 1980s and 1990s in Victoria, Australia, as a case study, we illustrate the value of the activist archive for critical prisons research. The activist archive has the potential to expose continuities in carceral violence, highlight the limitations and potentialities of legal and official oversight processes, and debunk official rhetoric of the prison’s reformative and rehabilitative potential. Our discussion demonstrates the extent to which the activist archive can yield a powerful arsenal of accounts, critiques and organising strategies for anti-carceral feminist movements.

Spanish Abstract: El activismo feminista ha desempeñado un importante papel a la hora de documentar, subrayar y cuestionar la violencia carcelaria contra las mujeres, dentro y fuera de las prisiones. Utilizando como estudio de caso la campaña contra la segregación punitiva de mujeres en prisiones de alta seguridad para hombres en los años 80 y 90 en Victoria, Australia, ilustramos el valor del archivo del activismo para la investigación crítica sobre las prisiones. Dicho archivo tiene el potencial de exponer la continuidad de la violencia carcelaria, subrayar las limitaciones y potencialidades de los procesos de revisión legales y oficiales, y desmontar el discurso oficial sobre la capacidad reformatoria y rehabilitadora de la prisión. Nuestra tesis demuestra que el archivo activista puede dotar al movimiento feminista anticarcelario de un rico muestrario de testimonios, críticas y estrategias organizativas.

Keywords: Anti-Carceral Feminism, Abolition, Penal Reform, Women’s Imprisonment, Activist Knowledge, Feminismo Anticarcelario, Abolición, Reforma Penal, Encarcelamiento de Mujeres, Conocimiento Activista

Suggested Citation

Carlton, Bree and Russell, Emma, ‘We Will Be Written Out of History’: Feminist Challenges to Carceral Violence and the Activist Archive (January 10, 2018). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3099424

Bree Carlton (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Emma Russell

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216

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