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Title: Carcerality In Transition: The Productive Relations of Reentry Governance in New Orleans
Authors: Subramani, Shreya
Advisors: Biehl, Joao
Benjamin, Ruha
Contributors: Anthropology Department
Keywords: Carcerality
Criminal Justice Reform
New Orleans
Racial Capitalism
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Black studies
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Carcerality in Transition: The Productive Relations of Reentry Governance in New Orleans is an ethnographic critique of contemporary carceral reform. Tracing the emergent infrastructure of prisoner reentry in New Orleans, Louisiana, this work interrogates the political economy and aspirational ethics of progressive city governance that reconfigure and are refracted through racializing techniques of punitive justice, capital investment and spatial regimes. While anthropologists and political theorists of governance have offered important critiques of the neoliberal city, they have not adequately attended to the processes of racialization that constitute the ethics of progressive governance. Drawing upon the scholarly repertoires of Black Studies, my dissertation intervenes upon conceptualizations of neoliberal urban governance by mobilizing theories and histories of racial capitalism and carceral geographies. Carcerality in Transition examines how the private/public infrastructures of reentry, from the experimental workforce development court to the nonprofits that provide professional training and transitional housing, impel certain social, material and ideological relations while foreclosing the potentials for others that could challenge neoliberal racial capitalism. Through this critique, I attend to the relational processes of racecraft and statecraft in the American City. This work explores the institutional and intimate socialites of formerly incarcerated men and their families, legal professionals, nonprofit operatives, city planners and municipal bureaucrats that differentially construct and participate within the emic landscape of the reentry space. I situate their life histories and experiences within the racialized histories of the city of New Orleans, from slavery and plantation economies to the more recent histories of urban divestment, post-Katrina devastation and dispossession. In studying what I call “reformist New Orleans,” I argue that progressive innovations in carceral governance –characterized by a valorization of entrepreneurialism, design-thinking, data-driven best practices and technologies of care– ultimately defer racial justice while attempting to attend to racial inequality. Yet the vernacular practices of my interlocutors evade and exceed this framework to animate, even if only momentarily, a more radical distributive politics. Carcerality in Transition concludes by discussing the potentials for abolitionist futures.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Anthropology

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