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Weeks 12-13

Core reading

Philippe Artières (ed.), Groupe d'information sur les prisons : intolérable (Paris: Verticales, 2013).

Advance preparation for seminar discussion

Week 12

  1. Identify the different strands within the GIP, the key players within the group and analyse its structure.
  2. From your reading of issues 1 and 2 of Intolérable, identify the objectives of the GIP.
  3. Again from these first two issues describe and evaluate the GIP's methods and approach.*
  4. What are the particular problems with the 'model prison' of Fleury-Mérogis identified by the GIP in Intolérable 2? How do they differ from typical problems encountered in more traditional prison environments and why does the GIP focus so intensively on them?

Week 13

  1. Discuss the GIP's internationalism and its anti-racism with particular reference to Intolérable 3.
  2. Research George Jackson, the Black Panthers and Jean Genet's involvement with them.
  3. Discuss the GIP's tactical response to the wave of prison riots with particular reference to the Cahiers de revendications and Intolérable 4.
  4. Evaluate the successes and limitations of the GIP's resistance to techniques of coercive governance deployed by the French prison system of the early 1970s in light of Welch's article.*
  5. To what extent can Foucault be considered the group's prime mover and how does his activism in the GIP relate to his intellectual work?

Further reading

  • Artières, Philippe (ed.), La Révolte de la prison de Nancy, 15 janvier 1972 (Paris: Le Point du Jour, 2013). See here.
  • Artières, Philippe, ‘La prison en procès: les mutins de Nancy (1972)’, Vingtième siècle 70 (April-June 2001): 57-70, accessible via CAIRN.
  • Artières, Philippe et al, Le Groupe d’information sur les prisons: archives d’une lutte, 1970-1972 (Paris: IMEC, 2003). See here.
  • Boullant, François, Michel Foucault et les prisons (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2003). See here.
  • Davis, Angela et al., If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (London: Orbach and Chambers, 1971). See here.
  • Davis, Oliver, 'On Sur les toits', for a symposium of short papers on the prison protests in early 1970s France, curated by Marijn Nieuwenhuis, June 2016.
  • Fassin, Didier, L'Ombre du monde: une anthropologie de la condition carcérale (Paris: Seuil, 2015).
  • Foucault, Michel, Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison (Paris: Gallimard, 1975). See here.
  • Hoffman, Marcelo, Foucault and Power: The Influence of Political Engagement on Theories of Power (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). Available through the Library as an e-book here.
  • Mauger, Gérard, 'Un nouveau militantisme', Sociétés et Représentations (1996): 51-77.
  • Petit, Jacques-Guy et al., Histoire des prisons en France 1789-2000 (Paris: Privat, 2002). See here.
  • Salle, Grégory, 'Mettre la prison à l'épreuve. Le GIP en guerre contre l'"Intolérable"', Cultures & Conflits 55 (2004): 71-96, accessible via CAIRN.
  • Scott, David, 'Visualising an Abolitionist Real Utopia: Principles, Policy and Praxis', in Malloch (ed.), Crime, Critique and Utopia (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 90-113. Available through the Library as an e-book here.
  • Wehr, Kevin and Aseltine, Elyshia, Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex: Crime and Incarceration in the 21st Century (New York: Routledge, 2013), available through the Library as an e-book here.
  • Welch, Michael 'Counterveillance: How Foucault and the Groupe d'Information sur les Prisons reversed the optics', Theoretical Criminology 15, 3 (2011): 301-13.
  • Zitouni, Benedikte, 'Michel Foucault et le groupe d'information sur les prisons : comment faire exister et circuler le savoir des prisonniers', Les Temps Modernes 645-6 (2007): 268-307, accessible via CAIRN.
  • Zurn, Perry and Dilts, Andrew (eds.), Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Other material

Hélène Châtelain & René Lefort, Les Prisons aussi (1973). Available through Vimeo.

Nicolas Drolc, Sur les toits (2013). Available from the TRC.


Week 12