Research Projects in Cultural and Political Geography

Carceral seas: Ocean governance beyond boundaries

Longstanding work by Turner (2014, 2016) has considered the role of the ‘boundary’ as essential to the understanding crime and carcerality. For example, individuals – on committing and being convicted of crime – are often removed from society through the act of bordering, of placing people within a boundary, behind bars. Yet as Turner shows, boundaries are far more porous than many imagine. This research builds on an interest in boundaries to push the very boundaries of what we understand spaces of incarceration, bounding, containment and confinement to be. Spaces other than the prison, the workhouse or the youth justice estate also have ‘carceral’ qualities of control, exclusion and confinement. By thinking of other spaces through a conceptual lens of ‘carcerality’ we may be able to better understand lived experiences, modes of governance, and the politics of control – historically and today. This research explores offshore spaces as ones of crime and carcerality. Work considers the politics of containment of people at sea (on the prison ship) as well the bordering practices that characterise modern marine governance (in the shape of boundary making spatial management tools such as Marine Protected Areas). Prof. Dr Jennifer Turner collaborates with Prof. Dr Kimberley Peters, Dr Paula Satizábal and Alexa Obando-Campos at the The Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB).

CCWORK: A longitudinal study of Canadian correctional workers’ well-being, organizations, roles and knowledge

This project explores how working in the prison environment impacts the well-being of correctional officers in Canadian federal prisons. Using both qualitative and quantitative data collection strategies (e.g., surveys, interviews, and clinical assessments), CCWORK follows newly recruited officers for up to 10 years to identify and understand the consequences of the stressors that can compromise health and well-being in the prison workplace. Prof. Dr Jennifer Turner is part of a team of international researchers on the project led by Prof. Rose Ricciardelli (Memorial University, Canada) and in conjunction with Correctional Services Canada and the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, Canada. Click here for more information about the project.

Correctional staff in Canada: Understanding the armed forces to civilian transition

Prisons often recruit staff with a background in the armed forces. Following a successful UK study, this project extends the enquiry to understand the role of the prison as a site of armed forces­civilian transition for ex­Service personnel in the Canadian context. Deploying an extensive survey, the project interrogates how ex­armed forces personnel adapt to prison work; the ways they feel managers, colleagues, and prisoners perceive their military background; their potential to ‘model’ preferred behaviours; the career paths they take, and the nature of their leadership within the prison setting. Prof. Dr Jennifer Turner collaborates with Prof. Rose Ricciardelli (Memorial University, Canada), A/Prof. Anna Eriksson (Monash University, Australia) and Prof. Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham, UK).

Rethinking Informality in Spatial Planning in Germany

As a modus operandi of governance, informality forms an integral part of planning processes: from personalised or political communication to the fuzziness of decision-making. This project seeks to contribute to a better understanding of these “black boxes” in spatial planning by analysing case studies from Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) through a comparative-postcolonial lens that draws on theory beyond the localisation of its cases. Maximillian Haße leads this project, which forms part of doctoral research.

The persistence of the Victorian prison: Alteration, inhabitation, obsolescence and affirmative design

In England and Wales today, more than a quarter of prisoners live in Victorian-era prison accommodation. The continued operation of these historic prisons has been the subject of intense criticism, with such buildings frequently described as obsolete and unfit for purpose. This research project uses analysis of archival material, interviews with current and former staff and prisons as well as creative work from currently incarcerated men in two prisons in England and Wales to understand the implications of the longevity and persistence of the Victorian prison. Prof. Dr Jennifer Turner collaborates with Prof. Dominique Moran (Project Leader) and Prof. Matt Houlbrook (University of Birmingham, UK) and Prof. Yvonne Jewkes (University of Bath, UK).  Click here for more information about this project.

Women's imprisonment, social control and the carceral state (WISCA)

Women have remained largely absent from studies into key issues such as control, exclusion and experiences of confinement. Yet female prisoners are particularly important because many reform agendas are trialled on this relatively small and seemingly more manageable group. WISCA employs a survey and interviews with incarcerated persons and staff in (or recently released from) women’s prisons in North-Rhine-Westphalia to understand the lived experiences of the prison system in Germany. The project is led by Dr. Anna Schliehe. Click here for more information about the project.