Incarceration & Performances of Power: Narratives from Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Antebellum South
INCARCERATION AND PERFORMANCES OF POWER: Narratives from Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Antebellum South
Incarceration is inextricably linked to the power of the state, and is arguably the manifestation of the greatest power the state has over a citizen: the power to deprive him of liberty. As Morris and Rothman write, “Prison embodies the largest power the state exercises over its citizens in time of peace.”1 Captivity played a key role in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Antebellum South — three societies that differ greatly from each other in terms of their fundamental structures, central beliefs, and primarypolitical concerns. And yet, despite their differences, captivity has consistently been employed as an instrument for the maintenance and...