The boundaries of the carceral state: Accounting for the role of military incarceration

Smadar Ben-Natan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article extends the study of carceral expansion—currently encompassing criminal, civil, and immigration enforcement—by examining the role of military (and, within that, extraterritorial) incarceration. Drawing on the case of military incarceration of civilians in Israel/Palestine, which since 1967 has accounted for between one-third and one-half of the entire prisoner population, it demonstrates the consolidation of a single carceral apparatus that normalizes military detention and incorporates non-citizens detained in extraterritorial locations. Involving both institutional and spatial dimensions, the article illuminates how the boundaries of the carceral state are relatively independent of formal sovereign borders, legal categories, and institutional arrangements, identifying the military as a carceral state agency. The study thus suggests a framework for an integrated study that accounts for the actual scope of the carceral state and its paradoxical modes of exclusionary inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTheoretical Criminology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Borders
  • Israel/Palestine
  • citizenship
  • criminological theory
  • crimmigration
  • governmentality
  • military
  • prions
  • security
  • the carceral state


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