Re-Thinking the Political Economy of Punishment: Perspectives on Post-Fordism and Penal Politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Re-Thinking the Political Economy of Punishment

Perspectives on Post-Fordism and Penal Politics, 1st Edition

By Alessandro De Giorgi


184 pages

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The political economy of punishment suggests that the evolution of punitive systems should be connected to the transformations of capitalist economies: in this respect, each 'mode of production' knows its peculiar 'modes of punishment'. However, global processes of transformation have revolutionized industrial capitalism since the early 1970s, thus configuring a post-Fordist system of production. In this book, the author investigates the emergence of a new flexible labour force in contemporary Western societies. Current penal politics can be seen as part of a broader project to control this labour force, with far-reaching effects on the role of the prison and punitive strategies in general.


'With Re-thinking the Political Economy of Punishment, Alessandro De Giorgi has been the first to update and complete the 1970s revisionist literature of punishment and social control - from Rusche and Kirchheimer to Foucault - for the age of postfordism and imperial globalization!' Dario Melossi, University of Bologna, Italy 'In this strikingly original work, Alessandro De Giorgi revitalizes the tradition of scholarship in the political economy of punishment for our new, but no less troubled, times. In re-examining the boundaries and exclusions where "post-disciplinary control" is exercised, De Giorgi offers both a powerful new analysis and a timely warning.' Richard Sparks, University of Edinburgh, UK 'In this remarkable work, De Giorgi takes the daunting task of sorting out decades of writings on the political economy and convincingly situates them into a coherent framework explaining punishment in a post-Fordist world…With an eye for good format, the author provides an exhaustive review of literature on the political economy while extracting new insights that can be applied to recent shifts in punishment and institutional corrections.' British Society of Criminology '…this book is a significant contribution to the political economy of punishment. De Giorgi has done scholars working within the sociology of punishment a great service in tracing the lineage of this perspective and carrying it beyond the 1970s to the present. Hopefully, others choosing to follow the path he has cleared will apply the same energy and enthusiasm with which he embraces this theoretical perspecitve to addressing some of its limitations.' Theoretical Criminology

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The political economy of penality and the sociology of punishment - past and present; Post-Fordism and the emergence of the multitude; The government of surplus - preliminary incursions in the field of post-Fordist social control; Mass confinement and actuarial penology; The criminalization of international migrations - toward an actuarial model of control; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Alessandro De Giorgi has a PhD in Criminology from Keele University, UK. He is a researcher in Criminology in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bologna, Italy. His main research interests are in global migrations and the political economy of social control in contemporary societies.

About the Series

New Advances in Crime and Social Harm

This series seeks to publish original cutting-edge contributions to the fields of criminology, criminal justice and penology. Volumes include discussions of Foucault and 'governmentality'; critical criminology; victims and criminal justice; corporate crime; comparative criminology and women's prisons.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology