Necropolitics: The Religious Situation of U.S. Mass Incarceration
Ringer, Christophe Darro
This project analyzes the religious situation of mass incarceration in America. I employ the social phenomenology of Alfred Schutz to investigate the deeply sedimented meanings that legitimate and rationalize mass incarceration as an enduring formation of social power. These meanings are interpreted within our religious situation, which is the political economy that sustains life and the social relationships that give it meaning. These meanings are also traced genealogically to disclose their presence within the religious depth of America, its civil religion. Orlando Patterson’s social death, Abdul JanMohamed’s death-bound-subject and Michelle Alexander’s the New Jim Crow are three images I employ to interpret the religions situation of mass incarceration. These images reveal the role of political economy in the organization of the power of death, a necropolitics that occasions mass incarceration. The study has also disclosed possibilities of hope and the affirmation of life within the structures of death that constitute mass incarceration.