Architecture and attachment: carceral collectivism and the problem of prison reform in Russia and Georgia

Laura Piacentini, Gavin Slade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article looks at the trajectory of prison reform in post-Soviet Georgia and Russia. It attempts to understand recent developments through an analysis of the resilient legacies of the culture of punishment born out of the Soviet period. To do this, the article fleshes out the concept of carceral collectivism, which refers to the practices and beliefs that made up prison life in Soviet and now post-Soviet countries. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 revealed a penal culture in notable need of reform. Less obvious, in retrospect, was how over the course of a century this predominantly ‘collectivist’ culture of punishment was instantiated in routine penal practices that stand in opposition to western penalities. The article shows how the social and physical structuring of collectivism and penal self-governance have remained resilient in the post-Soviet period despite diverging attempts at reform in Russia and Georgia. The article argues that persistent architectural forms and cultural attachment to collectivism constitute this resilience. Finally, the article asks how studies of collectivist punishment in the post-Soviet region might inform emerging debates about the reform and restructuring of individualizing, cell-based prisons in western jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-197
Number of pages19
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • carceral collectivism
  • Russia
  • Georgia
  • resilience
  • reform

Prizes

Article of The Year, 2015 for the international journal, 'Theoretical Criminology'

Piacentini, Laura (Recipient), 15 Feb 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities

  • 1 Participation in conference

European Society of Criminology Conference

Laura Piacentini (Participant)

2 Sep 20155 Sep 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

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