722.4 Mobility, a new paradigm for prisoná?

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 1:06 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Christophe MINCKE , Centre d'Útudes sociologiques, FacultÚs universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels, Belgium
In its classical conception, imprisonment is the confinement in jail, for a determined stretch of time, without (almost) anything to do or to hope. So it seems that imprisonment can be considered as a paradigmatic immobility. But this classical immobility-based conception appears to be challenged by a mobility-based vision. This one is at the centre of my current reflection, trying to integrate it in a broader study of our discursive relationships with mobility (in collaboration with Bertrand Montulet). In this broader scope, my hypothesis is that we face the emergence of a «mobilitarian ideology» in which mobility is prized for itself and is used to value institutions, persons, behaviours,... This is the consequence of a modification of social representations of time and space, from borders and periodicity, to inter-penetration and continuum.
Mobility is not only physical, but also social, axiological, affective, normative,... In all these spaces, a perpetual movement is becoming obligatory through mobility imperatives: activity, activation, participation and adaptation, in a relational perspective of society.
But how can imprisonment and inmates be considered in such an axiological context? I try to answer this question by studying the parliamentary documents relative to the new Belgian penitentiary law. Are there signs of intrusions of a mobilitarian ideology to be found in this field? Can we consider that mobility is becoming a penitentiary value and imperative?
In my contribution, I’m showing how space and time in prison are reconsidered with, as a result, the rise of a mobility-based discourse aiming at legitimating prison through the imperatives of activation and adaptation.« Good prisoners » are thus mobile ones, matching the mobilitarian ideology, and prison is seen as a mean to make the immobile, mobile, as paradoxical as it can be.