Fugitive Life: Race, Gender, and the Rise of the Neoliberal-Carceral State examines the forms of knowledge produced by anti-racist and queer women activists in the 1970s as they contested the demise of the Keynesian-welfare state and the unprecedented expansion of the prison system in the United States. As economic policies based on deindustrialization, deregulation, and privatization left cities in ruins, mass incarceration emerged as a solution to the unrest produced by a new wave of racialized poverty. In short, the social state of the mid-twentieth century turned into a penal state by the mid-1980s. Although some scholars have analyzed this process at the level of social and economic policy, what remains unexamined are the intimate ways in which gender and sexuality have been integrated into, and affected by the entrenchment of racialized state power in the form of mass incarceration. Fugitive Life turns to culture--the memoirs, communiqués, literature, films, prison writing, and poetry of leftist women activists in the 1970s--to provide an analysis of the centrality of race, gender, and sexuality to a new mode of state power that I term "the neoliberal-carceral state." By contextualizing feminist, queer, and anti-racist activism within neoliberal economics and law and order politics, Fugitive Life offers a reinterpretation of post-1960s activism in relation to the emergence of neoliberalism and the rise of mass incarceration. Throughout the project, I document how leftist feminist and queer social movements theorized and challenged the ways that deindustrialization and privatization required incarceration. I argue that women activists in the 1970s anticipated and challenged the formation of the neoliberal-carceral state.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: American Studies. Advisors: Regina Kunzel, Roderick Ferguson. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 236 pages.
Fugitive life: race, gender, and the rise of the neoliberal-carceral state.
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