Prison Abolition? Incarceration and the Limits of Functional Critique

Hosted by the Department of Government

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building , United Kingdom


Tommie Shelby

Tommie Shelby


Lea Ypi

Lea Ypi

Across the political spectrum, many believe that prison systems around the globe are in need of major reform. However, some radicals insist that prisons should not (and perhaps cannot) be “reformed” but rather should be abolished altogether. Angela Davis, perhaps the most influential thinker in this latter group, has defended prison abolition as a morally required and realistic political goal. In this lecture, Tommie Shelby will critically examine the case she makes for this position, focusing explicitly on the limits of a form of social criticism that he refers to as ‘functional critique.’

Tommie Shelby (@Tommie_Shelby) is the Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He is also Chair of Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies.

Lea Ypi (@Lea_Ypi) is Professor of Political Theory in the LSE Department of Government. 

This is a Brian Barry memorial lecture hosted by the LSE Department of Government.

The Department of Government (@LSEGovernment) is home to some of the most internationally respected experts in politics and government; producing influential research that has a global impact on policy, and delivering world-class teaching to our students.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEPrisons

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