Call for Papers: inside inside. Architecture as Punishiment.

Edited by Christine McCarthy (Interior Architecture, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand)

In Fabrication of Virtue (1982), Robin Evans famously located “an instrumental relationship between architecture and morality” in the emergence of the prison as a punishment in the eighteenth-century. This “moral geography” is open for scrutiny in this themed issue of Space and Culture. The severe environment of super max “cold storage” (Human Rights Watch, 1997), and long periods on death row, challenge a straightforward distinction between life and death, and an uncompromising experience of interiority. These are counter to the open prisons of Scandinavia. Home detention also seemingly constrains in a less geographically-isolating fashion, but equally uses spatial (and temporal) confinement as a punitive mechanism. Simultaneously, in The Netherlands, former prisons have been converted into refugee housing – as they experience significant reduction in their need for incarceration, while in the US, the television programme 60 Days In represents prison as a reality TV set.

The persistence of incarceration, and its image as an ultimate punishment, is despite criminology pointing to the failure of prison to deter crime or support rehabilitation and the reintegration of former inmates into the community. In this context of what has been identified as an era of “new punitiveness” (Pratt et al, 2005), Space and Culture asks for contributions – from any discipline – which explore the spaces and cultures that sustain the societal impetus for architecture to be a punishment.

As well as engaging with the special issue’s theme all articles must:
(a) comply with the general submission requirements,
(b) address the central concern of the journal to explore cutting-edge questions of spatiality and materiality by connecting conceptual analysis with empirical work, and
(c) be of relevance to a wide international and multidisciplinary readership (see here for the journal’s aims and scope).

Key dates:
31 May 2020: abstracts (500 words max.) and bios (200 words max.)
30 June 2020: authors notified of outcome of abstracts and some invited to submit full articles.
Acceptance of an abstract is not a guarantee of publication.
15 January 2021: deadline for full articles of 7000 words (including references).
Submit to:

All submissions will be double-blind reviewed. For more information about the journal, see the Space and Culture page at SAGE: Regarding the special issue, please email abstracts and any queries to



Evans, Robin Fabrication of Virtue : English prison architecture, 1750-1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010; first published 1982)
Pratt, John, David Brown, Mark Brown, Simon Hallsworth and Wayne Morrison (eds). The New Punitiveness: Trends, theories, perspectives (London and New York: Routledge, 2005)
Human Rights Watch “Cold Storage: Supermaximum Security Confinement in Indiana” (October 1997)