Policing and Incarceration

The racial environmental state and abolition geography in California’s Central Valley

This article introduces the “racial environmental state” as an analytical framework for examining race and environment as mutually constituting modes of state power. Under racial capitalism, the state relies on the constant articulation of racial and environmental difference and domination to sustain the uneven geographies necessary for capitalism. The racial environmental state offers a way to examine hegemonic state power operating through the convergences of race and environment, as a site for resistance, and the proliferation of abolition geographies. Using this framework, the author analyzes the abolitionist struggle to transform the carceral geographies of California’s Central Valley through a campaign to stop the construction of a prison in Delano, California. This case study shows the importance of recognizing race and environment as interconnected systems of domination and resistance. It also highlights the possibilities and limitations of engaging the state in the abolitionist fight for freedom.

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Volume 39 Issue 4

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