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Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime

Dylan Rodríguez
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttgwr
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  • Book Info
    Forced Passages
    Book Description:

    In Forced Passages, Dylan Rodríguez argues that the cultural production of such imprisoned intellectuals as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, and Leonard Peltier should be understood as a unique social movement. Dylan Rodríguez traces the lineage of radical prison thought since the 1970s, one formed by the logic of state violence and by the endemic racism of the criminal justice system._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9720-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION: American Apocalypse
    (pp. 1-38)

    Amid the current apocalypse of mass-based punishment and liquidation thrives a political lineage at war with its own disappearance, haunting and shadowing U.S. civil society with earthquake fantasies of liberation and freedom. Resonating the opening epigraph by Henry Box Brown, the onetime slave who escaped Virginia by sealing himself in a mail crate and emerging in Philadelphia twenty-seven hours later, these are visions of displacement and disarticulation, confronting the nonimprisoned “free world” with the sturdy deadly premises of its own definition and self-narration. Fatal unfreedom, historically articulated through imprisonment and varieties of (undeclared) warfare, and currently proliferating through epochal technologies...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Domestic War Zones and the Extremities of Power: Conceptualizing the U.S. Prison Regime
    (pp. 39-74)

    The problem of human captivity, a practice that blurs conventional and clean distinctions between technologies of human immobilization, punishment, and liquidation, initiates this chapter’s inquiry into the form and political animation of the contemporary U.S. prison. Amid the rise and consolidation of imprisonment as a mass-scale technology of domination, a refreshed and current genealogy of imprisonment—as a practice of statecraft and social (dis)organization—is both theoretically and politically urgent.

    This chapter is structured around two theoretical concerns. First, by foregrounding a conception of the post-1970s U.S. “prison regime,” I am examining a historical and political condition that has been...

  5. CHAPTER 2 “You Be All the Prison Writer You Wish”: The Context of Radical Prison Praxis
    (pp. 75-112)

    Imprisoned radical intellectuals have inhabited and shaped the formation of the U.S. policing, juridical, and punishment apparatuses since the rise of the Goldwater–Nixon “law-and-order” state. This chapter attends to the unique set of historical, spatial, and bodily conditions of possibility for imprisoned radical intellectuals to engage in “praxis,” or what Paulo Freire (in the Marxist tradition) famously invoked as the profound political aliveness of “reflection and action on the world” with the purpose of transforming it.¹

    Through an extraordinary mirroring and rearticulation of the dystopic structure of imprisonment—a regime founded on the symbiosis between the logics of displacement...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Radical Lineages: George Jackson, Angela Davis, and the Fascism Problematic
    (pp. 113-144)

    If one were to mark a political and theoretical point of departure for the genesis of radical prison praxis in this historical moment, the subversive texts generated by two of the most widely recognized imprisoned liberationists of the twentieth century would hold particular prominence. George Jackson and Angela Y. Davis offer a study in biographical contrasts, a fact not missed by a state-mediated popular discourse that obsessively and repeatedly rendered a racist and sexist narration of Davis as a middle-class black academic gone astray, somehow corrupted and brainwashed by her poor and working-class, pathologized and precriminalized black male cohorts within...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Articulating War(s): Punitive Incarceration and State Terror amid “No Middle Ground”
    (pp. 145-184)

    The prison regime and its correspondent abstraction, the prison industrial complex, simultaneously mystify and rationalize mass-based, stateproctored human immobilization as a way of life. “It is, we shrug, simply the way of the world.”¹ Echoing and resituating William Appleman Williams’s meditation on the incarnations of empire within the American everyday, the genesis of a punitive carceral formation since the 1970s has similarly (re)constructed “a conception of the world and how it works, and a strategy for acting upon that outlook on a routine basis as well as in times of crisis.”² The multiple technologies of power inaugurated and spun outward...

  8. CHAPTER 5 “My Role Is to Dig or Be Dug Out”: Prison Standoffs and the Logic of Death
    (pp. 185-222)

    The sweeping presence of the prison regime as a juridical, political, and narrative structure begets silences, absences, and disappearances over space and time. It is the negation of human beings—categorized by types, crimes, locations—that provides the lifeblood of this prison hegemony, the massive institutionalization of astate of paralysis(immobilization) andcondition of death(bodily and subjective disintegration) that generates its corporeal reality. Foucault once claimed: Although technologies of “surveillance” have undoubtedly become a central facet in the production (or “fabrication”) of subjects assimilable to civil society’s alleged “social order,” one must also recognize that the composition of...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Forced Passages: The Routes and Precedents of (Prison) Slavery
    (pp. 223-256)

    The prison regime organizes and constitutes a dynamic site of human immobilization and liquidation, extending its technologies beyond periodic rituals of state-conducted executions and into the realm of a fatal biopoliticality. As a technology of violence, it has become centrally focused on containing, controlling, and punishing the bodies of white civil society’s unassimilables and incorrigibles. A durable material structure of normalized social liquidation, intimately linked to a cultural production that conveys its necessity and inevitability, has organized the growth and massive proliferation of the prison into a form of permanent crisis response; that is, the state articulates its methodology of...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 257-260)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 261-302)
  12. Prison Activism and Support Resources
    (pp. 303-304)
  13. Index
    (pp. 305-322)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 323-323)