Bringing the state back in: understanding neoliberal security

John Lea and Simon Hallsworth

in Criminalisation and advanced marginality

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9781447300014
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307587 | DOI:
Bringing the state back in: understanding neoliberal security

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John Lea and Simon Hallsworth discuss the restrictiveness of Wacquant's characterisation of the neoliberal state as a penal state. They argue that Wacquant's notion of the ‘centaur state’ whose coercive gaze frowns upon the poor and the precariat while it smiles upon the middle and upper classes, fails to grasp a key dynamic of neoliberalism as the reconstruction of all social relations on the model of the rational entrepreneur. They see the coercive aspects of the penal state as one aspect of a wider security state whose increasing surveillance capacities and compromises on civil liberties have effects throughout society. They see the growing role of private agencies as part of the process of expansion rather than displacement of the state.

Keywords: State theory; Security; Neoliberal governance; Inequality; critique

Chapter.  8645 words. 

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