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This panel examines confinement arising from the political, legal, social, economic and spatial abandonment of certain categories of people in society and within institutions. It analyses how people seek to escape confinement, or lessen its impact, by creating relationships of care.
Over the past decade, a neoliberal paradigm shift and ongoing socio-economic crises have led to a weakening in public service provision and welfare. As states prioritize whom to support and whom to abandon, the rights and protections of people who have come to be deemed politically unwanted 'surplus populations' have been curbed along gendered, racialized and class lines. This not only exacerbates marginalisation and social suffering but also creates increasingly harrowing parallels between incarceration as a method of punishment and other zones of confinement (Besteman et al. 2018, Gilmore, 2007, Schneider 2021, Weegels et al. 2020). Such zones no longer need prison walls to immobilise, but instead manage to police, confine and abandon certain categories of people within "free society". The construction of prisons as 'a kind of moral space which tags inhabitants as unethical and immoral people' (Ugelvik 2012: 273) can lead incarcerated people to feel abandoned, unwanted and uncared for by society and its members. However, people in and outside prison find new and innovative ways to create meaningful, connected and caring lives in the midst of deprivation. In particular, many seek to escape such political, social, economic, legal and spatial abandonment by creating relationships of care within confinement and in wider society (e.g. Cunha 2008). This panel invites scholars who examine the logics of care and abandonment in contexts confinement (prisons, migrant detention centres, hospitals, asylums etc.) to discuss the possibilities and limits of theoretically and empirically exploring care and protection in contexts of confinement.