Abolitionist Intimacies by El Jones
In Abolitionist Intimacies, El Jones examines the movement to abolish prisons through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity. Understanding the history of prisons in Canada in their relationship to settler colonialism and anti-Black racism, Jones observes how practices of intimacy become imbued with state violence at carceral sites including prisons, policing and borders, as well as through purported care institutions such as hospitals and social work. The state also polices intimacy through mechanisms such as prison visits, strip searches and managing community contact with incarcerated people. Despite this, Jones argues, intimacy is integral to the ongoing struggles of prisoners for justice and liberation through the care work of building relationships and organizing with the people inside. Through characteristically fierce and personal prose and poetry, and motivated by a decade of prison justice work, Jones observes that abolition is not only a political movement to end prisons; it is also an intimate one deeply motivated by commitment and love.
“Abolitionist Intimacies is an urgently needed text. Drawing from years of organizing experience, Jones’ work as a Black feminist theorist, activist and scholar skillfully draws attention to the banal violence of carcerality in Canada and the ongoing work of freedom-oriented struggle. With rigour, theoretical agility and a grounded sense of integrity, Jones forwards a poetic vision of intimacy, care, and human liberation, sketching out abolitionist futures beyond policing, prisons, and cages.”
— Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives, co-author of Rehearsals for Living
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