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Volatile and Contradictory Punishment

Volatile and Contradictory Punishment Criminologists have recognized that contemporary penal policy and practice are characterized by an unusual degree of incoherence and volatility. Garland (1996) sees this as evidence of the limits of the sovereign state, Simon (1995) as a sign of the postmodern disintegration of modern penality, while others explain it in terms of the emergence of advanced liberalism and neo-liberal politics. This article argues that such incoherence is better understood in terms of the contradictory elements of New Right politics. The nature of this political alliance extends the repertory of penality simultaneously in `nostalgic' (neo-conservative) and `innovative' (neo-liberal) directions, resulting in considerable incoherence. At the same time, the conservative orientation to state authoritarian strategies and the neo-liberal leaning toward market and private sector governance, could account for the volatility. This brings into question some of the accounts based on more fundamental social transformations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Theoretical Criminology: An International Journal SAGE

Volatile and Contradictory Punishment

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References (62)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
1362-4806
eISSN
1461-7439
DOI
10.1177/1362480699003002003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Criminologists have recognized that contemporary penal policy and practice are characterized by an unusual degree of incoherence and volatility. Garland (1996) sees this as evidence of the limits of the sovereign state, Simon (1995) as a sign of the postmodern disintegration of modern penality, while others explain it in terms of the emergence of advanced liberalism and neo-liberal politics. This article argues that such incoherence is better understood in terms of the contradictory elements of New Right politics. The nature of this political alliance extends the repertory of penality simultaneously in `nostalgic' (neo-conservative) and `innovative' (neo-liberal) directions, resulting in considerable incoherence. At the same time, the conservative orientation to state authoritarian strategies and the neo-liberal leaning toward market and private sector governance, could account for the volatility. This brings into question some of the accounts based on more fundamental social transformations.

Journal

Theoretical Criminology: An International JournalSAGE

Published: May 1, 1999

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