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‘Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make’: Bare Life and the Carceral Archipelago in Colonial and Postcolonial Societies

  • Harry Blagg
  • Thalia Anthony
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)

Abstract

This chapter offers a ‘contrapuntal’ reading of Australian prisons as exclusive sites of settler colonial repression. We refer to transcripts from 2016 to 2017 Royal Commission into Child Protection and Youth Detention in the Northern Territory to reveal how the brutal treatment of Indigenous children in prisons is part of the same continuum of racism that reduces Indigenous lives to ‘bare life’. Imprisonment is not an exceptional state of un-being for Indigenous people. Rather, in the colony, the exception is the norm. The rights for Indigenous people cannot be afforded individually but need to recognise and account for Indigenous dispossession, state domination and Indigenous sovereign claims. Penal abolitionism can only be meaningful within a process that decolonizes other sites of exception for Indigenous people.

Keywords

Postcolonial theory Youth detention Royal Commissions Indigenous rights Indigenous sovereignty 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Indigenous Peoples and Community Justice, Law SchoolUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of LawUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

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