Catching Our Breath: Critical Race STS and the Carceral Imagination

Benjamin, Ruha
Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

This article draws together science and technology studies and critical race theory to examine the proliferation and intensification of carceral approaches to governing human life. It argues for an expansive understanding of “the carceral” that extends well beyond the domain of policing, to include forms of containment that make innovation possible in the contexts of health and medicine, education and employment, border policies and virtual realities. In interrogating the relationship between innovation and containment, it urges scholars to consider, who and what are fixed in place––classified, corralled, and/or coerced—to enable technoscientific development? Finally, it proposes the cultivation of an abolitionist consciousness that fosters human agency and freedom with and against sciences and technologies.