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Title page for ETD etd-11242014-105356

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Allen, Lana Michelle
Author's Email Address lana.m.allen@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-11242014-105356
Title An Arendtian Reading of Prison Resistance
Degree Master of Arts
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kelly Oliver Committee Chair
Lisa Guenther Committee Member
  • incarceration
  • Arendt
Date of Defense 2014-12-01
Availability unrestricted
Hannah Arendt theorizes that public spaces for thought and private spaces of reflection are constitutive components necessary for the production of a robust political world of thinkers, story-tellers and meaning-makers. Arendt’s conception of the transformative potential of public and private spaces can be particularly illuminating when applied to the context of the modern American prison, where prisoners are often subjected to both severe forms of social deprivation on the one hand, and lack of privacy on the other. That prison spaces exist as such is not a coincidence—or, as the rhetoric often goes, “necessary” or “practical”—but rather stands as the literal, spatial verification of the prisoner’s status as one in exile. The prisoner, as a subject that has violated the social contract, and has as a consequence lost her right to flourish in a community. Prison spaces are designed to limit the ability of insiders to reflect, privately, and to act and communicate, publically. Analyzing prison spaces through an Arendtian lens, I argue, can be helpful for understanding the very real stakes of subjecting prisoners to such conditions.
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