Chair: José A. Brandariz

Author meets critics: Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini, The Prison and the Factory (40th anniversary edition) (London: Palgrave, 2018)

Building: A
Room: 13


Author: Brandariz José A., University of A Coruna

Title: Reading the Prison and the Factory, Four Decades On
Originally published in Italian in 1977, Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini’s The Prison and the Factory is one of the most critical contributions in the field of the political economy of punishment. It provides an insightful materialist interpretation of the genealogy of the prison system. While this book is undeniably a child of the intellectual environment of the late 1970s, its analytical framework is still cogent to explore penality from a politico-economic viewpoint. This presentation aims to critically reflect on The Prison and the Factory forty years on, to scrutinize its strengths for the analysis of the penal field.
Keywords: The Prison and the Factory, Political Economy of Punishment, prison
Author: Gallo Zelia A., School of Law, King’s College London

Title: Political Economy and the Political Economy of Punishment: Interaction and Contamination
The Prison and the Factory pioneered, in its rediscovery and expansion of Rusche and Kirchheimer, a method for studying punishment. It connected the development of penality to the political economy, where the latter was understood in terms of modes of production, and of the ideology that supported – and was supported by – such modes of production. Recently the political economy of punishment has experienced a welcome revival, which has seen penal scholars keep borrowing from Political Economy scholarship, as in the case of comparative analyses that build on the ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ framework. This paper asks what methodological futures lie in store for the Political Economy of Punishment: how much further can and should penologists borrow from Political Economy? To what extent can the key insights of The Prison and The Factory be combined with contemporary political economic frameworks in our explanations of contemporary punishment?
Keywords: The Prison and the Factory, Political Economy of Punishment, prison
Author: Sozzo Máximo, National University of the Litoral

Title: Prison Beyond Factory? Theoretical Notes on Past/Present, Northern/Southern Prisons in Relation to the 40Th Anniversary Edition of the Prison and the Factory (Melossi and Pavarini, 2018)
The main objective of this work is to discuss the legacy of the important revisionist book The Prison and The Factory 40 years after its original publication in Italian. In that pioneering book of the tradition of the "political economy of punishment" a strong connection is drawn -as its title indicates- between the prison and the factory, within the framework of the historical process of the birth and consolidation of capitalism in the European and American contexts, inspired in Marx's classical analysis. In this paper I analyze two concepts that play a fundamental role in the approach of Melossi and Pavarini to the birth of the prison: on the one hand, the notion of "auxiliary institutions" and, on the other, the notion of "discipline". In the first place, I will show this centrality and understand its logic within the approach embodied in the book. Then, I will analyze to what extent these concepts and arguments are tools that can be useful to think not only the prison of the past but the prison of the present. In this direction, I will dialogue with subsequent exercises in this direction carried out by the authors of this book, but also with other recent contributions. Finally, being a book that explores contexts that are frequently related to the idea of the Global North, I will discuss the capacity of these concepts and arguments to “travel” to the Global South and whether they help to think about the past and present of the prison there.
Keywords: The Prison and the Factory, Political Economy of Punishment, prison
Author: Sparks Richard, University of Edinburgh

Title: Forty Years On': What Use Is the Penitentiary Today?
Melossi and Pavarini's classic discussion of the origins of the penitentiary ironically coincided with a shift - especially in the United States with profound reverberations elsewhere - towards an expansive, incapacitative model of incarceration. The republication of The Prison and the Factory offers an opportunity to reflect on some perhaps surprising, contradictory and unfinished aspects of the intervening decades, not all of which fit equally easily under the dominant narrative of mass incarceration. If we can reconsider i) the 'massness' in mass incarceration and ii) contemporary reconfigurations of 'penitence' in the penitentiary, we may edge closer towards grasping the ideological and emotional conflicts and complexities that attend prisons now.
Keywords: The Prison and the Factory, Political Economy of Punishment, prison
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