Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School by Sabina E. Vaught

Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School

Book Title: Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School

Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 0816696217

Author: Sabina E. Vaught


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Sabina E. Vaught with Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School

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“This is an American story, unsettled by contradictions, constituted by unresolvable loss and open-ended hope, produced through brutal exclusivities and persistent insurgencies. This is the story of Lincoln prison.” In her Introduction, Sabina E. Vaught passionately details why the subject of prisons and prison schooling is so important. An unprecedented institutional ethnography of race and gender power in one state’s juvenile prison school system, Compulsory will have major implications for public education everywhere.



Vaught argues that through its educational apparatus, the state disproportionately removes young Black men from their homes and subjects them to the abuses of captivity. She explores the various legal and ideological forces shaping juvenile prison and prison schooling, and examines how these forces are mechanized across multiple state apparatuses, not least school. Drawing richly on ethnographic data, she tells stories that map the repression of rightless, incarcerated youth, whose state captivity is the contemporary expression of age-old practices of child removal and counterinsurgency. 



Through a theoretically rigorous analysis of the daily experiences of prisoners, teachers, state officials, mothers, and more, Compulsory provides vital insight into the broad compulsory systems of schooling—both Inside prison and in the world Outside—asking readers to reconsider conventional understandings of the role, purpose, and value of state schooling today.