Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life

Duke University Press
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The contributors to Captivating Technology examine how carceral technologies such as electronic ankle monitors and predictive-policing algorithms are being deployed to classify and coerce specific populations and whether these innovations can be appropriated and reimagined for more liberatory ends.
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About the author

Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and the author of People's Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Jun 7, 2019
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781478004493
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Black Studies (Global)
Social Science / Criminology
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Relying on a multidisciplinary framework of inquiry and critical perspective, this edited volume addresses the unique experiences of Black males within various stages of contact in the criminal justice system. It provides a comprehensive overview of the administration of justice, mental and physical health issues faced by Black males, and reintegration into society after system involvement.

Recent events—including but by no means limited to the shootings of unarmed Black men by police in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore; Minneapolis; and Chicago—have highlighted the disproportionate likelihood of young Black males to encounter the criminal justice system. Black Males and the Criminal Justice System provides a theoretical and empirical review of the need for an intersectional understanding of Black male experiences and outcomes within the criminal justice system. The intersectional approach, which posits that outcomes of societal experiences are determined by the way the interconnected identities of individuals are perceived and responded to by others, is key to recognizing the various forms of oppression that Black males experience, and the impact these experiences have on them and their families.

This book is intended for students and scholars in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, race/ethnic studies, legal studies, psychology, and African American Studies, and will serve as a reference for researchers who wish to utilize a progressive theoretical approach to study social control, policing, and the criminal justice system.

Prisons were initially created as a means of reforming offenders, but over time, the objective of rehabilitation gave way to a strategy of mass imprisonment—a system that has resulted in correctional facilities dealing with serious problems such as overcrowding, prison gangs, pervasive violence, and a significant incidence of mental illness among inmates. Prisons in the United States: A Reference Handbook examines the history of corrections in America, detailing how well-intentioned policies intended to "get tough on crime" sanctioned the dismantling of parole systems and resulted in laws that imposed mandatory minimum sentences. These changes contributed to the United States now having the biggest incarcerated population worldwide and the highest rate of incarceration.

The book offers an accessible history of the development of the prison system in the United States and analyzes the various problems and controversies associated with prisons in the present day. The coverage includes key related issues, including those of race and gender, and enables readers to understand how past developments continue to affect public and official perceptions of the prison experience—for example, how the practice of keeping inmates in solitary confinement for lengthy periods has been reinvented and represents a return to a historically discredited practice. Accounts of former inmates and of correctional officers are integrated into the text, adding context and offering rarely heard perspectives on difficult issues affecting prisons.

An unrelenting prison boom, marked by stark racial disparities, pulled a disproportionate number of young black men into prison in the last forty years. In Children of the Prison Boom, Sara Wakefield and Christopher Wildeman draw upon broadly representative survey data and interviews to describe the devastating effects of America's experiment in mass incarceration on a generation of vulnerable children tied to these men. In so doing, they show that the effects of mass imprisonment may be even greater on the children left behind than on the men who were locked up. Parental imprisonment has been transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children-those with parents seriously involved in crime-to one that is remarkably common, especially for black children. This book documents how, even for children at high risk of problems, paternal incarceration makes a bad situation worse, increasing mental health and behavioral problems, infant mortality, and child homelessness. Pushing against prevailing understandings of and research on the consequences of mass incarceration for inequality among adult men, these harms to children translate into large-scale increases in racial inequalities. Parental imprisonment has become a distinctively American way of perpetuating intergenerational inequality-one that should be placed alongside a decaying public education system and concentrated disadvantage in urban centers as a factor that disproportionately touches, and disadvantages, poor black children. More troubling, even if incarceration rates were reduced dramatically in the near future, the long-term harms of our national experiment in the mass incarceration of marginalized men are yet to be fully revealed. Optimism about current reductions in the imprisonment rate and the resilience of children must therefore be set against the backdrop of the children of the prison boom-a lost generation now coming of age.
Stem cell research has sparked controversy and heated debate since the first human stem cell line was derived in 1998. Too frequently these debates devolve to simple judgments—good or bad, life-saving medicine or bioethical nightmare, symbol of human ingenuity or our fall from grace—ignoring the people affected. With this book, Ruha Benjamin moves the terms of debate to focus on the shifting relationship between science and society, on the people who benefit—or don't—from regenerative medicine and what this says about our democratic commitments to an equitable society. People's Science uncovers the tension between scientific innovation and social equality, taking the reader inside California's 2004 stem cell initiative, the first of many state referenda on scientific research, to consider the lives it has affected. Benjamin reveals the promise and peril of public participation in science, illuminating issues of race, disability, gender, and socio-economic class that serve to define certain groups as more or less deserving in their political aims and biomedical hopes. Under the shadow of the free market and in a nation still at odds with universal healthcare, the socially marginalized are often eagerly embraced as test-subjects, yet often are unable to afford new medicines and treatment regimes as patients. Ultimately, Ruha Benjamin argues that without more deliberate consideration about how scientific initiatives can and should reflect a wider array of social concerns, stem cell research— from African Americans' struggle with sickle cell treatment to the recruitment of women as tissue donors—still risks excluding many. Even as regenerative medicine is described as a participatory science for the people, Benjamin asks us to consider if "the people" ultimately reflects our democratic ideals.
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