CJ presents: Dr. Erin Dej (York University)

Wed. Dec. 6 01:30 PM - Wed. Dec. 6 02:30 PM
Contact: Dr. Kevin Walby 786-9105
Location: 3D01

Criminal Justice presents: "Imprisoning the Free: Conceptualizing the Homeless Shelter as a Neo-liberal Total Institution"

What do total institutions look like in the 21st century? In this presentation Dr. Dej will conceptualize emergency shelters as ‘neo-liberal total institutions’. The emergency shelter looks to create docile and disciplined subjects within a space where, unlike traditional total institutions, individuals remain ‘free’. Dr. Dej reconsiders the notion of freedom and unpacks the paradox of describing a public and open institution as totalizing. As described by people experiencing homelessness, the shelter acts as a prison, a mental hospital, and for some, as home. Dr. Dej argues that techniques of exclusion work in tandem with technologies of the self to act as invisible restraints so that physical confinement are only necessary for a select few. This reasoning calls for an expansion of typical notions of what constitutes a carceral space and sheds light on the intersection of various sectors in surveilling and managing marginalized and vulnerable persons.