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Wednesday, December 4 • 9:00am - 11:00am

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Session Chair: Sailau Suaalii-Sauni 

Warwick Tie: Responding to the collapse of desire in the analysis of penal excess

An analysis of early twentieth century torture lynching in the American South by David Garland introduces to the sociology of punishment the notion of ‘surplus meaning’. Garland thereby explains the ‘penal excess’ of torture lynching not just in terms of the excess of pain it delivers but an excess of social meaning generated by lynching events. The concept enables torture lynching to be framed as a populist form of penality used for racist political purposes. Despite the apparent clarity of this analysis, the approach crumples in the midst of a subsequent and seemingly endless proliferation of explanatory accounts. Methodologically, the logic of overdetermination used to frame explanation fails. Affectively, the desire of explanation collapses. A broad theoretical point can thereby made, that the desire central to the pursuit of understanding can be rescued when explanation includes the influence of capitalist (‘real’) abstraction in how the analysis of ‘surplus meaning’ proceeds.

Emilie Rakete: The prisons are full and the cupboards are empty: Social reproduction theory in the era of mass incarceration

The historical materialist method begins from a basic truth: if a society did not produce the things people needed to survive, that society would perish. In societies like ours, riven by inequality between the capitalist and working classes, a key site of conflict is the struggle over just how much it is that people need to live: on how little can the poor be made to subsist? The price of labour-power, the only commodity that working-class people control, has been systematically devalued in order for the capitalist class to appropriate increases in the productivity of labour. In the fight to determine who benefits from this overall social wealth – over who will thrive and who will starve; who will flourish and who will wither – the institution of mass incarceration has presided like a grim cenotaph. By assigning blame for the suffering caused by decades of neoliberalism to those who suffer, mass incarceration has acted as a weapon of class war. The development of social reproduction theory allows for a materialist analysis of non-workplace exploitation in terms of the labour theory of value. This insight makes it possible to conceptualise the political economic role that mass incarceration has played in reducing the price of labour-power, depressing wages, and keeping the working class poor, desperate, and miserable.

Juan Tauri: Challenging Authoritarian Criminology

In 2010, Nigerian criminologist, Biko Agozino, argued that the discipline of criminology is a “control freak” whose epistemological foundations were formed during the colonial dispossession of Indigenous peoples worldwide. As such, the discipline has long approached Indigenous peoples residing in settler-colonial contexts as problem populations in need of significant social management through targeted surveillance (especially policing), geographical containment (in reservations and boarding schools to begin with, and of late via the prison industrial complex of late modernity), and/or corrected through the ‘gift’ of western knowledge in the form of psycho-therapeutic programmes and other, similar interventions. This presentation will challenge core assumptions of mainstream, authoritarian criminologists and members of the policy sector they work with, in relation to Indigenous peoples, including that they have nothing to learn from Indigenous peoples and their knowledge systems about how to effectively respond to social harm, and that crime control policies imported from other ‘high crime’, Western jurisdictions are suitable for all communities regardless of ethnic, cultural, social and historical context.

Carl Bradley: Gangs, Violence and the Shadow Economy

Patched gangs as a deviant sub-culture have a long history in Aotearoa New Zealand. Drawing on the cultural tenets of the outlaw bikers of North America, outlaw bikers and patched street gangs grew to such an extent that they now have a presence in most towns and major cities in Aotearoa New Zealand. One of these tenets, violence sets patched gangs outside the standard characteristics of hyper-masculine groups: violence also makes gangs well-placed to control areas of the shadow economy. This paper seeks to locate gangs in the cultural landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand and interrogate what attracts young men to these groups applying General Strain Theory. This paper also investigates the tenets of gang culture with a focus on violence and the role it plays in dominating aspects of the shadow economy. Future trends in the face of an increasingly international gang landscape will be considered while issues in obtaining accurate data on gangs will be discussed. It is the authors contention that increased economic inequality will see gang membership rise with a move by some groups to position themselves to further control the drug trade through the threat or use of violence and the utilisation of transnational networks.

Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

avatar for Carl Bradley

Carl Bradley

Research Asociate, Massey University
I research patched street gangs and Outlaw biker culture. I am interested in the persistence expressions of war-band like and hyper-masculine groups. I have also published on indigenous response to colonization from Iron Age Europe through to contemporary times.
avatar for Emilie Rākete

Emilie Rākete

People Against Prisons Aotearoa, Co-founder
Emilie Rākete (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) is a prisoner advocate from Tāmaki Makaurau and a grad student at the University of Auckland studying the political economy of prisons in Aotearoa. She is one of the founders of People Against Prisons Aotearoa.

Juan Tauri

Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato

Warwick Tie

Massey University

Wednesday December 4, 2019 9:00am - 11:00am NZDT
206-217 - Seminar Room 6