The cell and the corridor: imprisonment as waiting, and waiting as mobile

Armstrong, S. (2018) The cell and the corridor: imprisonment as waiting, and waiting as mobile. Time and Society, 27(2), pp. 133-154. (doi: 10.1177/0961463X15587835)

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Imprisonment is the exemplary symbol of waiting, of being stuck in a space and for a time not of our choosing. This concept of waiting is perfectly represented by the image of the prison cell. In this paper, I contrast the cell with the less familiar imagery of the corridor, a space of prison that evokes and involves mobility. Through this juxtaposition, I aim to show that prisons are as much places of movement as stillness with associated implications for penal power and purpose. I argue that the incomplete imaginary of prison as a cell (and waiting as still) may operate as a necessary fiction that both sustains and undermines its legitimacy. By incorporating the corridor into the penal imaginary, key premises about how prisons do and should work, specifically by keeping prisoners busy, and how prison time flows and is experienced, are disrupted.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Prison, time, waiting, mobility, corridor.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Journal Name:Time and Society
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7463
Published Online:18 June 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Author
First Published:First published in Time and Society 2015
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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