Penal Law, Abolitionism and Anarchism: Conference UK–Nottingham, 26–27 April 2014

by | 10 Jul 2013


Conference Dates: Saturday 26th – 27th April 2014
Deadline for abstracts: 30th November 2013
Venue: Shire Hall, Nottingham

Can we imagine law without the state? Could what we now call ‘crime’ be dealt with by means other than criminal law and punishment? This conference seeks to explore interrelationships and tensions that exist between the philosophies and practices associated with penal law, abolitionism and anarchism. It aims to provide a space for the interdisciplinary exploration of complex critiques of state law and legality, criminalization and other forms of state and corporate power in neoliberal contexts.

The rich and complex European tradition of abolition recently explored in great detail by Vincenzo Ruggiero, to which Louk Hulsman made such a creative contribution, provides important intellectual resources to challenge neoliberal penal and social [well/war–fare] politics and policies and to expose their harms and underlying power-dynamics.

Joe Sim underlined the continued importance of Angela Davis’ concept of ‘abolitionist alternatives’ as well as of forms of a renewed penal activism. These and other abolitionist or minimalist  approaches to criminal justice challenge existing hegemonic belief systems that continue to legitimate the generation of harms via the operations of law, psychology, criminology, the media and frequently shape public opinion. For some critical criminologists such reflections might imply promoting an Anarchist Criminology, while for others this might involve the use of courts to challenge decisions made by ministers.

The direct action taken by the Occupy movement and similar movements (e.g. UK Uncut) can of course also be linked to a diversity of philosophies and principles of anarchism as well as to contemporary media movements and digital activism that are of crucial relevance in the current context.

Suggestions for presentations/posters/workshops on a range of foci are welcome:

  • Anarchism and law
  • Feminisms and anarchism 
  • Anarchist criminology
  • Anarchism in Media Movements and Digital Activism
  • Markets and the State – Anarchist and Marxist perspectives
  • Abolitionism and resistance to imprisonment
  • Decarceration movements, eco-ability and animal rights
  • Globalisation, ‘crime’ and political economy

For further details please contact:
Andrea Beckmann [] or;
Tony Ward []

1 Comment

  1. I just sent you the contributions Anarchist Conference and Abolitionist.

    I would get conformation and can participate.

    Acacio Augusto


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