Call for Papers Vol 6, n. 1 june 2022


Lives on the fringes. Interdisciplinary approaches to incarceration

edited by C. Benelli, G. Cogliandro, G. Costanzo

Submission deadlineMay 31st 2022

Crossing the wall that surrounds a prison, marks the boundary between free individuals, and those who have lived on the edge of society and the law,  and must not only come to terms with the limitations to their freedoms (speech and movement ), but also to the perception of  time.    With respect to being on the “outside”, those “behind bars” have a different concept of time; it is a time no longer broken by the rhythm of everyday life, but weighed down by a “deafening silence” from which there is no escape, especially if it becomes insinuating and questioning in not being able to find peace in the decisions and shared experiences of interpersonal relationships.  The suspension of time does not allow personality to take shape, develop into a self-identified individual with a place in society; it deprives the individual of a foundation, as well as of any hopes and plans in building relationships and a future. 

Therefore, looking back at the period of the pandemic when prisoners were denied the right to receive visitors, along with the only possibility to communicate with the outside world,  we can understand how difficult and how much more isolated and forgotten they had become.  The development of the pandemic had brought to light several critical points in relation to prison conditions, along with many others which continue to surface if we reflect on improvements needed to education, social interaction, integration, but also to the well-being of the detainee and projects for their future.  Albeit being on the fringes of society, these individuals can and deserve to still have a second chance if a prison sentence is to be considered rehabilitative. 

In this respect, education in prison is an opportunity to reintegrate into society, through various educational means as theatre workshops, or creative and autobiographical writing.  As a result, reaching learning goals can compensate for social and educational inequality, as well as rebuild a more balanced relationship with the self and the external world. 

This is the reason why increasing efforts should be made in order to create a time and place for internees to express themselves freely,  where dialogue and listening, training and education can take place so as to prevent distress and apathy, and avoid isolation and marginalisation. In fact, it is never too late to take action and make time spent in prison more liveable for those who experience extreme and difficult situations, as in the case of foreigners, the mentally disabled, or those with socio-economic or domestic problems. 

Indeed, if we persist in making internees incapable of relating to the outside world, if we carry on believing that any form of rehabilitation is inconceivable; if at this point in time, these lives are ostracised, and considered the “waste” of society,  then imprisonment, surely represents the main obstacle towards any form of educational schemes and reintroduction into society. 

 Some possible related topics are as follow:

  1. Anthropological conditions of imprisonment: lives on the edge of doom and rebirth
  2. Philosophy and prisons
  3. What school system for prisons?
  4. Formal and informal education in prisons
  5. How to face motherhood (or fatherhood) in state penitentiaries
  6. Creative writing and autobiography in prison
  7. Theatre in prison


Author informations and submission guidelines:

Submissions are accepted in: English, Italiano, Português, Français, Español and Deutch