Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

A FAMILY PORTRAIT OF MASS INCARCERATION: The Death of Fatherhood in the Penal State (Lynne Haney)

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 4:30pm

Silverstein Forum, Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility) / Free and open to the public
Co-sponsored by the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality & Women 

Attendees are encouraged the read Prof. Haney's paper, available here.

Discussant: Marie Gottschalk (UPenn Political Science)

OF THE MANY FORMS OF CIVIC AND ECONOMIC DEATH experienced by formerly-incarcerated citizens in the contemporary U.S., little attention has been paid to the familial death caused by mass incarceration. Focusing on formerly-incarcerated fathers, Professor Haney explores how the familial has become a method of punishment for those connected to the penal system. She describes how fathers, unlike mothers, are de-familialized through the denial of their roles as parents during incarceration—and how this denial undermines parental bonds and relationships. She then analyzes how this denial extends to post-prison life as more than half of these fathers become enmeshed in another of the largest, most punitive state systems in the U.S.: public child support enforcement, which further mixes up punishment, paternity, and finances in their lives. In the process, these state systems end up complicating exactly those relationships proven essential for reintegration after prison: familial connections of care, reciprocity, and interdependence. In this way, Haney argues that familial death be conceptualized alongside the civic and economic death that social scientists already know so much about—and thus understood as yet another form of the pains of imprisonment.

LYNNE HANEY is Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her research examines how states shape and regulate a variety of social relations, particularly gender relations. Her early work centered on state systems of welfare, while more recently it has shifted to focus on punishment—and on how the institutions of social control and confinement shape the lives and livelihood of those connected to them. She is the author of Inventing the Needy: Gender, Politics, and State Development in Hungary (2002) and Offending Women: Power, Punishment, and the Regulation of Desire (2010)which explores the lived reality of prison for women in the United States today.

Attendees are encouraged the read Prof. Haney's paper, available here.