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Hidden in Plain Sight: Criminological Apparatuses as Public Secrets

Fri, Nov 16, 2:00 to 3:20pm, Marriott, M105, Marquis Level

Session Submission Type: Complete Thematic Panel


Public secrets pervade everyday life. According to digital arts scholar Sharon Daniel (2007, n.p.), the expansion of the prison population in the United States offers a case in point, characterizing it as "a secret kept in an unacknowledged but public agreement not to know what imprisonment really means to individuals and their communities." Many criminological concerns, including but not limited to, the criminal justice system, arguably occupy this complicated position. This panel queries how different apparatuses contribute to the emergence of public secrets and the concealment of many problematic contours. A focus on apparatuses enables exploration of a heterogeneous suite of mechanisms, discourses, institutional arrangements, or regulatory technologies at work across different domains. The papers feature distinct cases that capture architectures of control, modes of surveillance, and practices of embodied expression. They scrutinize the substantive qualities and material characteristics of seemingly divergent examples to unveil not only their hidden contours, but also the deeper social concerns (e.g., social control, violence) underpinning them.

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Division of Special Interest

Individual Presentations