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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 17, Issue 2, 2014

Special Project: Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration

Robert Nichols
Pages 435-455

The Colonialism of Incarceration

This essay attends to the specificity of indigenous peoples’ political critique of state power and territorialized sovereignty in the North American context as an indispensible resource for realizing the decolonizing potential latent within the field of critical prison studies. I argue that although the incarceration of indigenous peoples is closely related to the experience of other racialized populations with regard to its causes, it is importantly distinct with respect to the normative foundation of its critique. Indigenous sovereignty calls forth an alternative normativity that challenges the very existence of the carceral system, let alone its racialized organization and operation.

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