Taking Up Space: Social Norms, Space, and Mass Incarceration
Kukla, Quill QRK
Lance, Mark MNL
People have a peculiar relationship with space. Much of our thinking about who we are and how we relate to each other is mediated situationally and spatially. Put differently, where we are situated in space matters to how we conceptualize who we are, both individually and collectively, and how we adjudicate issues of social, political, and moral import. In this dissertation I first expand on these basic insights to develop a spatial analysis of social norms, culture and cultural interpretation, and personhood. Mobilizing the upshot of this analysis, I then develop an account of mass incarceration that retraces the penal expansion of postwar America to economic, cultural, and political upheavals that, like many crises of systemic proportions, unfolded geographically. That is, crises that emerged across spatially delimited cultural landscapes, with significant implications for how people ordinarily relate to one another and, perhaps more importantly, how they conceptualize such relations. This dissertation argues that we are socially normative creatures fundamentally constituted and constrained by our situation in space. Likewise, I contend that our shared practices, whether just or unjust, reflect these inexorable bonds to place and space that define us as the deeply embodied creatures that we are. In this sense, taking up space is foundational to every aspect of our animality, humanity, and personhood.