Introduction: The Six Hues of Penal Abolition

Coyle, Michael J. and Scott, David (2021). Introduction: The Six Hues of Penal Abolition. In: Coyle, Michael J. and Scott, David eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition. London: Routledge, pp. 1–12.



This chapter begins by presenting the general viewpoint of the penal abolitionist. We then consider penal abolitionism in six hues of thinking, speaking, acting, reflecting, hearing and changing: (1) penal abolitionism as an intellectual and theoretical perspective providing a way of interpreting the world; (2) penal abolitionism as a language; (3) penal abolitionism as a social movement engaged in emancipatory praxis and direct social struggle against penal oppression; (4) penal abolitionism conceived as a form of reflexive political strategy and emancipatory political engagement that builds on abolitionist theory and direct interventions in the social world; (5) penal abolitionism conceptualised as a broader set of ethico-political values and principles that inform how we should live on a day-to-day basis; and (6) penal abolitionism as revolutionary praxis that hears and responds to the voice of subjugated social actors in a given historical conjuncture.

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