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Dr Claire Loughnan
University of Melbourne

This paper examines attempts to silence those who speak out against institutional violence.  Using the language of necessity and crisis to defend these moves, the suppression of dissenting voices is increasingly achieved through criminal sanctions, as well as through removal of the very means of communication, such as access to phones and limited human contact for those confined in detention, for example.  While whistle-blowing has traditionally been a way of calling attention to ‘wrong doing’, it is now being undermined through gag orders, policing and other forms of control. It is not simply that we cannot hear voices of those who speak: these are the silences of living in ‘end times’, of those whose words cannot be spoken, of those whose voices are never intended to be heard. This paper explores the silences, effects and experiences of ‘speaking out’ through an exhibition being developed by artist Hoda Afshar, in collaboration with the author: Whistle-blowing as Truth Telling.

Claire is a lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the experiences, modes and effects of sites of confinement, from an ethical perspective, including immigration detention, youth detention and aged care. She is currently exploring the carceral expansion accompanying offshore processing – including reiterative patterns of openings and closures of immigration detention centres, and examining the implications of what Kurdish writer and refugee Behrouz Boochani has termed ‘Manus Prison Theory.’

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