The Persistence of the Victorian Prison: Alteration, Inhabitation, Obsolescence, and Affirmative Design

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Abstract

Prior scholarship tracing the origins and architecture of prisons has tended to focus on how and why prisons are built—what they are intended to achieve and their construction as an expression of the punitive philosophies of their age. It does not consider how prisons persist as time passes, perhaps beyond their anticipated operational life span, and into “obsolescence.” Focusing on the archetypal Victorian prison, and considering the alteration and inhabitation of such prisons through time, this article critically reinterprets notions of obsolescence in the built environment and explores an enduring cultural attachment to a particular and arguably archaic material manifestation of punishment.

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Moran, D., Houlbrook, M., & Jewkes, Y. (2022). The Persistence of the Victorian Prison: Alteration, Inhabitation, Obsolescence, and Affirmative Design. Space and Culture, 25(3), 364–378. https://doi.org/10.1177/12063312211057036

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