The orphanage as an institution of coercive mobility

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This article reconsiders children’s mobilities through the relationship between care and control in the context of Russia’s disability orphanages. Drawing upon the lens of carceral mobilities, the article challenges the dominant conceptualisations of children’s mobilities as ‘independent’ or necessarily intertwined with notions of ‘wellbeing’. Instead this piece draws upon ethnographic research into the Russian disability orphanage system to present three typologies of multi-scalar carceral mobilities which children experience in this context; firstly as a form of spatial segregation and containment, secondly as a form of punishment and finally enforced stillness and restraint as a form of care. In doing so it provides new insights into the nature of the everyday for children in restricted institutional environments, largely absent from the wider geographical literature. Through the lens of carceral mobility this article provides a more nuanced geographical reading of the orphanage beyond an environment variously understood to harm or problematically to provide shelter, but as an institution enmeshed in biopolitical processes of power and control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1921
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number8
Early online date26 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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