Emma Kaufman, Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison

Publication Date01 July 2018
DOI10.1177/1462474516676404
AuthorSteven De Ridder
SubjectBook Reviews
untitled 406
Punishment & Society 20(3)
Emma Kaufman, Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison,
Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2015, 244 pp.: 9780198712602, £65.00 (hbk)
Contrary to other topics in criminology and penology, fundamental analyses of the
presence of foreign nationals in prison (FNPs) remain scarce. This is quite surpris-
ing as the proportion of FNPs in the total prison population in many European
countries is substantial, i.e. Austria (50.1%), Belgium (40.6%), Germany (29.8%),
Italy (32.2%), Norway (33.6%), Spain (30.5%) (Aebi et al., 2015: 70–71). However,
drawing on more than 200 interviews with prisoners, immigration and prison staf‌f
as well as penal policy makers, the merits of Punish and Expel: Border Control,
Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison go far beyond ‘f‌illing a gap’ in
criminology and penology.
Kaufman immediately lives up to the promise of not writing in terms of the
‘grand narratives’ that often tend to dominate analyses of sociologists of punish-
ment today. By starting with three striking life stories of FNPs, Kaufman achieves
one of her most important goals: to show readers how borders are reproduced
within prison and how they contribute to the creation of citizenship, nationalism
and identity. The book confronts the reader from the very start with the problems
foreign nationals face and the contradictions that surround their everyday life in
prison.
The book is clearly an ambitious project ref‌lected by the three claims Kaufman
puts forward on a theoretical, an ethnographic and a methodological level. These
claims are developed over the course of seven chapters in a very detailed way. In
chapter The Prison and the State, Kaufman depicts the state of the art of the
sociology of punishment and the dilemmas originating from liberal and critical
conceptions of the nation state that surround the current debate. The observation
that ‘‘criminology may be suf‌fering from a widespread case of ‘methodological
nationalism’,...

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