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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Imprisonment and Colonialism in Kenya, c.1930-1952: Escaping the Carceral Archipelago
Author:Branch, DanielISNI
Year:2005
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:38
Issue:2
Pages:239-265
Language:English
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
Subjects:colonialism
prisons
Mau Mau
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40034920
Abstract:For Michel Foucault (1975), the punitive effect of the prison is to be found in the very act of the detention, isolation and surveillance of the individual. This paper shows that this does not accurately reflect the nature of imprisonment in colonial Kenya, where the prison and detention camp was the location for physical punishment, in the form of exposure to extremely unhealthy conditions, poor diet and corporal punishment. Most important, the individualizing nature of Western imprisonment, as described by Foucault, was almost entirely absent. In Kenya, many penal institutions showed a remarkable level of integration into wider society and were the locations for the amalgamation of prisoners with one another. It appears that the harshness of Kenyan prisons was, in part, an attempt to placate settler opinion. Settlers demanded more effective punishments of African offenders. In this context, attention is paid also to the rebellion of and counter-insurgency campaign against Mau Mau in the 1950s. Prisons and detention camps formed a crucial part of the counter-insurgency effort. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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