Caitlin Mackinlay: “Queering Carcerality: Exploring queer experiences of UK prisons”

In Students by General Account

This study seeks to understand the underexplored experiences of queerness in carceral spaces, in a UK context. UK prisons are typically constructed in line with binary gender categorisations of male and female which reproduce dimorphic gender relations and heteronormative expectations of prison space. Individuals who identify outside of such categories face additional challenges, reflected within proposed changes to prison policy (Ministry of Justice, 2023). This research emerges in recognition of an increasing number of individuals identifying as queer in carceral spaces (Fernandes et al. 2020) coupled with a rapidly changing political landscape for queer incarceration (Ministry of Justice, 2023). This study will develop a queer epistemological approach to UK carceral spaces. Adopting a queer epistemology will confront the heterosexualisation and binary gender construction within prison spaces, providing a novel perspective for conceptualising carcerality in the contemporary moment. This study will examine UK based prison spaces and systems, as a subsection of a larger carceral apparatus, considering queer experiences and embodying practices and how these are negotiated within prison spaces.   The proposed project has four aims:  1. To explore queer lived experiences of incarceration within UK carceral spaces and systems 2. To examine how carcerality is embodied, both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of carceral spaces. 3. To understand how practices of queer embodiment are negotiated and influenced by carcerality, and vice versa.  4. To ask how queer epistemologies challenge current understandings of carcerality and carceral geography. This project will develop a novel methodological approach and contribute to queer, carceral and feminist geographies.