On the carceral settler state: Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, ‘Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime’: Liberal Carceral Logics and the Reproduction of Settler Colonial Violence in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, PhD dissertation, City University of New York, 2017


Abstract: This dissertation illustrates how settler colonialism is reproduced in present-day Canada through the governance of crime, and how political struggles against policing, imprisonment, and colonialism are linked. It focuses on the politics of crime in the Province of Manitoba from 1999–2016, during which the left-of-center New Democratic Party (NDP) government engineered a significant expansion of the carceral state, overseeing unprecedented increases in policing and jail growth. In Manitoba, the vast majority of prisoners are Indigenous. This dissertation explores the logic through which the NDP integrated their support for policing and imprisonment into their “progressive” value system, packaging their carceral expansion as a project of protecting poor people from victimization. The central argument of this dissertation is that carceral expansion in Manitoba was made to fit into a “progressive” agenda by appealing to a contemporary colonial common sense: that Indigenous communities are suffering from the legacy of a colonial past, and that policing and imprisonment are necessary but not sufficient responses to violence that originates within those damaged communities. Through interviews with NDP politicians, political advisors, bureaucrats, policy researchers, and people who work at community-based organizations (CBOs) recruited to participate in crime prevention, this dissertation documents how colonial logic structured both the NDP’s crime-prevention programming, and their punitive tough-on-crime initiatives.

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