The Political Economy of Punishment Today: Visions, Debates and Challenges, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Political Economy of Punishment Today

Visions, Debates and Challenges, 1st Edition

Edited by Dario Melossi, Máximo Sozzo, José A Brandariz García


248 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Over the last fifteen years, the analytical field of punishment and society has witnessed an increase of research developing the connection between economic processes and the evolution of penality from different standpoints, focusing particularly on the increase of rates of incarceration in relation to the transformations of neoliberal capitalism.

Bringing together leading researchers from diverse geographical contexts, this book reframes the theoretical field of the political economy of punishment, analysing penality within the current economic situation and connecting contemporary penal changes with political and cultural processes. It challenges the traditional and common sense understanding of imprisonment as 'exclusion' and posits a more promising concept of imprisonment as a 'differential' or 'subordinate' form of 'inclusion'.

This groundbreaking book will be a key text for scholars who are working in the field of punishment and society as well as reaching a broader audience within law, sociology, economics, criminology and criminal justice studies.


"Amid the recent resurgence of interest in the political economy of punishment, this timely and valuable collection brings fresh insights as well as building on established paradigms. The book, which features some of the leading figures in the field, ranges widely across countries and explores a variety of approaches, yet holds nicely together within a coherent shared project. It should reach a wide and attentive audience."

- Nicola Lacey, School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, London School of Economics, UK

Table of Contents

The Political Economy of Punishment Today: An Introduction (José A. Brandariz-García, Dario Melossi and Máximo Sozzo)

1. Between Struggles and Discipline: Marx and Foucault on Penality and the Critique of Political Economy (Dario Melossi)

2. The Renaissance of The Political Economy of Punishment from a Comparative Perspective (Máximo Sozzo)

3. For and Against the Political Economy of Punishment: Thoughts on Bourdieu and Punishment (Ignacio González-Sánchez)

4. Do Economic Depressions Reduce the Use of Fines? Revisiting Rusche and Kirchheimer’s Punishment and Social Structure (Patricia Faraldo Cabana)

5. From One Recession to Another: The Lessons of a Long-Term Political Economy of Punishment. The Example of Belgium (1830-2014) (Charlotte Vanneste)

6. Political Economy and Punishment in Australia (Hilde Tubex)

7. Punishment in A Hybrid Political Economy: The Italian Case (1970-2010) (Zelia A. Gallo)

8. ‘A Return to Gulags’? Explaining Trends in Post-Soviet Prison Rates (Gavin Slade)

9. Inclusion’s Dark Side: The Political Economy of Irregular Migration in Greece (Leonidas K. Cheliotis)

10. Reflections on Spanish Policies of Migration Control: A Political Economic Reading on the Punishment of Migrants (José Ángel Brandariz-García)


About the Editors

Dario Melossi is Professor of Criminology in the School of Law of the University of Bologna. After having been Editor-in-Chief of Punishment and Society he is currently Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Criminology.

Máximo Sozzo is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the Social and Juridical Sciences Faculty of the National University of Litoral (Santa Fe, Argentina). He is also Adjunct Professor at the School of Justice of Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia).

José A. Brandariz-García is an Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of A Coruna (Spain), and member of the Executive Board of the European Society of Criminology.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Crime, Diversity and Criminal Justice

The works in this series strive to generate new conceptual and theoretical frameworks to address the legal, organisational and normative responses to the challenges that diversity and intersectionality present to criminal justice systems. This series aims to present cutting edge empirically informed theoretical works from both new and established scholars around the world.

Drawing upon a range of disciplines including sociology, law, history, economics, anthropology, and social work, the series encourages different approaches to questions of mobility, social inequality, and exclusion with a cross-section of theorists, empiricists, and critical policy researchers. It will be key reading for scholars who are working in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law and human rights, as well as those in the fields of gender and LGBTI studies, migration studies, race and ethnic relations, social stratification, refugee studies and post-colonial studies.

We welcome book proposals that address any of these issues, or related topics, for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. Please contact series co-editor, Patricia Faraldo Cabana ([email protected]) or Nancy Wonders ([email protected]) to discuss potential book projects. To submit a proposal, contact the Editor, Charlotte Endersby ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology