Places for Others: Archaeological Perspectives on the Carceral Society

Author(s): Eleanor Casella

Year: 2013


According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, by December 2009 approximately 7.25 million American adults were under some form of correctional supervision – a category that includes probation, parole, jail and prison. This population represented 724 people per 100,000 – or 3.1% of adult US residents. The evolution of our carceral society was neither inevitable nor accidental. This paper explores archaeological perspectives on institutional confinement to question why a leading modern state would expend tremendous financial and political resources to maintain groups of people under incarceration. By identifying three distinct categories of confinement – places for punishment, for asylum, and for exile – this paper examines material dimensions of institutional life. How do people experience confinement? How do the built environments reinforce internment? What mechanism do various types of occupants use to sustain a sense of social being? And ultimately, what material conditions characterize daily life under institutional confinement?

Cite this Record

Places for Others: Archaeological Perspectives on the Carceral Society. Eleanor Casella. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428668)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 146