THE RISE OF THE PENAL STATE Neo-Liberalization or New Political Culture?

Willem De Koster*, Jeroen Van Der Waal, Peter Achterberg, Dick Houtman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Imprisonment rates are presumed to have risen in the West, and it is argued by certain social scientists that this can be explained by a comprehensive process of economic neo-liberalization. In this paper, we develop an alternative explanation, focusing on the rise of a 'new political culture'. Longitudinal cross-national analyses are performed to test the tenability of these theories. First, it is demonstrated that some countries have been witnessing a trend of penalization, but that there is no overall trend. Second, economic explanations for variations in imprisonment rates prove to be untenable. Third, it is shown that a new-rightist demand for social order, which is not found to be inspired by economic neo-liberalization, provides a better explanation. This leads to the conclusion that high incarceration rates can be understood as being part of a right-authoritarian politico-cultural complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-734
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology, delinquency and deviant social behavior
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • SILENT COUNTERREVOLUTION
  • OPINION POLARIZATION
  • EUROPE
  • AUTHORITARIANISM
  • EXPECTATIONS
  • CENTERFOLDS
  • REVOLUTION
  • PREJUDICE
  • SOCIETIES
  • THINNESS

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