Right to Be Hostile : Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies book cover
1st Edition

Right to Be Hostile
Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies

ISBN 9780415957120
Published March 20, 2007 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

In Right to be Hostile, scholar and activist Erica Meiners offers concrete examples and new insights into the "school to prison' pipeline phenomenon, showing how disciplinary regulations, pedagogy, pop culture and more not only implicitly advance, but actually normalize an expectation of incarceration for urban youth. Analyzed through a framework of an expanding incarceration nation, Meiners demonstrates how educational practices that disproportionately target youth of color become linked directly to practices of racial profiling that are endemic in state structures. As early as preschool, such educational policies and practices disqualify increasing numbers of students of color as they are funneled through schools as under-educated, unemployable, 'dangerous,' and in need of surveillance and containment. By linking schools to prisons, Meiners asks researchers, activists, and educators to consider not just how our schools’ physical structures resemble prisons— metal detectors or school uniforms— but the tentacles in policies, practices and informal knowledge that support, naturalize, and extend, relationships between incarceration and schools. Understanding how and why prison expansion is possible necessitates connecting schools to prisons and the criminal justice system, and redefining "what counts" as educational policy.

Table of Contents

1. Surveillance, Ladies Bountiful, and the Management of Outlaw Emotions  2. Strange Fruit: Prison Expansion, Deindustrialization and What Counts as an Educational Issue  3. Life After OZ: Policies, Popular Cultures, and Public Enemies  4. Awful Acts and the Trouble with Normal  5. Political Recoveries: "Softening" Selves, Hard Experiences, and Organized Resistance  6. Horizons of Abolition: Strategizing For Change through The Good, The Bad and The Innocent


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Erica Meiners is an Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations and Women’s Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She is also the founder and director of an alternative high school in Chicago for formerly incarcerated men and women.


"Given how formidable her task, the result is nothing short of remarkable. No educator can read this book and be unchanged by it." – Book Smarts, Patricia H. Hinchey, 6/16/08