Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Solitary Confinement – Social Death and Its Afterlives - Minnesota Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives

Lisa Guenther


This book offers a critical phenomenology of solitary confinement in US prisons from the early penitentiary system to present-day supermax prisons. Drawing on first-person testimony, phenomenological analysis, and critical social theory, I argue that forced isolation is a form of violence against the relational structure of living being. Many prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement describe their experience as a form of living death. They experience perceptual, affective, epistemic, and even ontological alterations that undermine their capacity to make sense of the world. Who are we, such ... More

Keywords: solitary confinement, prisons, phenomenology, racism, slavery, psychology, isolation, animal studies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780816679584
Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816679584.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lisa Guenther, author
Assistant Professor of Philosophy