The persistence of the Victorian prison: alteration, inhabitation, obsolescence, and affirmative design

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Abstract

Prior scholarship tracing the origins and architecture of prisons has tended to focus on how and why prisons are built—what they are intended to achieve and their construction as an expression of the punitive philosophies of their age. It does not consider how prisons persist as time passes, perhaps beyond their anticipated operational life span, and into “obsolescence.” Focusing on the archetypal Victorian prison, and considering the alteration and inhabitation of such prisons through time, this article critically reinterprets notions of obsolescence in the built environment and explores an enduring cultural attachment to a particular and arguably archaic material manifestation of punishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-378
Number of pages15
JournalSpace and Culture
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding was received from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ES/T005483/1 for the research which underpins this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • carceral geography
  • prison
  • Victorian period
  • prison design
  • obsolescence

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