Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity

Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity

by Loïc Wacquant
     
 

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ISBN-10: 082234422X

ISBN-13: 9780822344223

Pub. Date: 05/22/2009

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The punitive turn of penal policy in the United States after the acme of the Civil Rights movement responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity generated by the fragmentation of wage labor and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy. It partakes of a broader reconstruction of the state wedding restrictive "workfare" and expansive

Overview

The punitive turn of penal policy in the United States after the acme of the Civil Rights movement responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity generated by the fragmentation of wage labor and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy. It partakes of a broader reconstruction of the state wedding restrictive "workfare" and expansive "prisonfare" under a philosophy of moral behaviorism. This paternalist program of penalization of poverty aims to curb the urban disorders wrought by economic deregulation and to impose precarious employment on the postindustrial proletariat. It also erects a garish theater of civic morality on whose stage political elites can orchestrate the public vituperation of deviant figures-the teenage "welfare mother," the ghetto "gang banger," and the roaming "sex predator"-and close the legitimacy deficit they suffer when they discard the established government mission of social and economic protection. By bringing developments in welfare and criminal justice into a single analytic framework attentive to both the instrumental and communicative moments of public policy, Punishing the Poor shows that the prison is not a mere technical implement for law enforcement but a core political institution. And it reveals that the capitalist revolution from above called neoliberalism entails not the advent of "small government" but the building of an overgrown and intrusive penal state deeply injurious to the ideals of democratic citizenship.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822344223
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
05/22/2009
Series:
Politics, History, and Culture
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
408
Sales rank:
1,299,908
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Tables and Figures ix

Prologue: America as Living Laboratory of the Neoliberal Future xi

1 Social Insecurity and the Punitive Upsurge 1

Part I Poverty of the Social State

2 The Criminalization of Poverty in the Post-Civil Rights Era 41

3 Welfare "Reform" as Poor Discipline and Statecraft 76

Part II Grandeur of the Penal State

4 The Great Confinement of the Fin de Siecle 113

5 The Coming of Carceral "Big Government" 151

Part III Privileged Targets

6 The Prison as Surrogate Ghetto: Encaging Black Subproletarians 195

7 Moralism and Punitive Panopticism: Hunting Down Sex Offenders 209

Part IV European Declinations

8 The Scholarly Myths of the New Law-and-Order Reason 243

9 Carceral Aberration Comes to France 270

Theoretical Coda: A Sketch of the Neoliberal State 287

Acknowledgments 315

Notes 319

Index 367

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