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MetamorphosisHow to Transform Punishment in America$
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Robert A. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300230833

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300230833.001.0001

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The Technology of Confinement

The Technology of Confinement

(p.109) 6 The Technology of Confinement

Robert A. Ferguson

Yale University Press

This chapter considers how prison technology is especially one-sided and imposed because it is not shared. Philosopher Jacques Ellul has argued that technical mastery (technopoly) can narrow thought and make it less sensitive to human dimensions and needs. Criminologists call this level of total technological imposition “a habitus of subjection.” In “total institutions,” prison theorists agree that current modes of technical use have led to “mortification of the self.” The bad aspects of prison technology are indeed bad. The United States has so many people in prison and jail and many more under legal surveillance because technology has made it possible.

Keywords:   prison technology, technopoly, technical imposition, Jacques Ellul, criminologists, legal surveillance

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