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  • © 2020

Law, Insecurity and Risk Control

Neo-Liberal Governance and the Populist Revolt

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

  • Examines the rise of the ‘security sanction’ to meet new uncertainties and fears from the 1980's: the use of immobilizing punishments, in the community or prison on those putting the well—bring of others at risk

  • Explores the implications of the populist "revolt against uncertainty", particularly. Brexit and Trump

  • Covers a full range of risk prevention strategies in criminal law and punishment, drawing on material from five advanced liberal democracies in the Anglophone world

  • Provides a sociological analysis of important shifts in criminal law and punishment

Part of the book series: Crime Prevention and Security Management (CPSM)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-48872-7
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Softcover Book USD 139.99
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Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction

    • John Pratt
    Pages 1-20
  3. “Never Again”

    • John Pratt
    Pages 21-51
  4. Set Risk Free

    • John Pratt
    Pages 53-92
  5. The Celebration of Risk

    • John Pratt
    Pages 93-131
  6. Fear and Anxiety in the Risk Society

    • John Pratt
    Pages 133-178
  7. The Rise of the Security Sanction

    • John Pratt
    Pages 179-222
  8. The Revolt Against Uncertainty

    • John Pratt
    Pages 261-306
  9. The End

    • John Pratt
    Pages 307-328
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 329-387

About this book

This book examines our contemporary preoccupation with risk and how criminal law and punishment have been transformed as a result of these anxieties. It adopts an historical approach to examine the development of risk control measures used across the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada - particularly since the 1980’s - with the rise of the "security sanction". It also takes a criminological and sociological approach to analysing shifts in criminal law and punishment and its implications for contemporary society and criminal justice systems. 

Law, Insecurity and Risk Control analyses the range and scope of the ‘security sanction’ and its immobilizing  measures, ranging from control over minor incivilities to the most serious crimes. Despite these innovations, though, it argues that our anxieties about risk have become so extensive that the "security sanction" is no longer sufficient to provide social stability and cohesion.  As a consequence,  people have been attracted to the ‘magic’ of populism in a revolt against mainstream politics and organisations of government, as with the EU referendum in the UK and the US presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016. While there have been political manoeuvrings to rein back risk and place new controls on it, these have only brought further disillusionment, insecurity and anxiety. This book argues that the "security sanction" is likely to become more deeply embedded in the criminal justice systems of these societies, as new risks to both the well-being of individuals and the nation state are identified. 

Keywords

  • risk
  • penal populism
  • risk prevention
  • security sanction
  • crime prevention
  • fear
  • punishment
  • crime and society
  • liberal democracies
  • criminal law
  • insecurity state
  • risk society
  • moral panic
  • crime control
  • securit
  • populism

Reviews

“It is beautifully and devastatingly written. It combines heart-stirring prose with astutely observed empirical examples. I have long followed Pratt’s research and writing, and this book, in my opinion, is simply his finest.” (Jo Phoenix, The British Journal of Criminology, August 18, 2021)

“Law, Insecurity and Risk Control makes a major contribution to our understanding of the recent history and current landscape of criminal justice across the Anglo common law world. … It is full of rich nuggets of empirical material drawn from across the Anglo world … that he relies on to both develop and illustrate the analysis. In addition, it is a compelling read.” (Russell Hogg, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Vol. 10 (2), 2021)

“This is a timely, thought-provoking and authoritative book. John Pratt has provided us with a critical, engaging and highly prescient account of the impacts of neo-liberal governance on the criminal justice system and the broader management of ‘security’ in an age of pervasive risk and uncertainty. Masterful writing, by one of Criminology’s finest scholars” (Professor Gabe Mythen, University of Liverpool, UK)

“Caught between its core commitment to shifting economic risk to ordinary citizens and workers, and the growing backlash of populism, John Pratt shows how the neoliberal state increasingly turns to novel sanctions that are placing the rule of law in crisis. A global analysis of astounding breadth. Theoretical criminology at its best” (Professor Jonathan Simon, Centre for the Study of law and Society, UC Berkeley, US)

“Many will already know and admire John Pratt's contributions to studies of risk and criminal justice. Law, Insecurity and Risk Control is the culmination of those efforts. In charting the rise of 'the security sanction', Pratt here also tells an engrossing story about the transformations that have engulfed Anglophone countries in recent decades. In Pratt's view the populist revolt is no longer merely the shadow or counterpart of neo-liberal government; it is the token of its failure to develop a viable habitat in which humans can flourish. This is not just a book about the present and future of criminal justice, but about the future of democracy as a way of life” (Professor Richard Sparks, School of Law, Edinburgh University, UK)

“In Law, Insecurity and Risk Control, John Pratt provides a compelling cautionary tale of hubris and unlearned lessons. Placing risk at the core of a socio-historical analysis of Anglo-American societies in the last 75 years that carries the insightful rigour and sophistication that are the hallmarks of his work, Pratt traces the rise of the security sanction from before its neoliberal framing up to its appropriation by the populist revolt and the contemporary challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This book is essential reading to anyone wishing to reflect on the role of criminal law and punishment in politics and society today” (Dr Henrique Carvalho, School of Law, University of Warwick, UK)

“John Pratt’s new book 'Law, Insecurity and Risk Control. Neo-liberal governance and the populist revolt' is broadly about the consequences of unleashing risk. From the inter and post-war attempts to manage and tame population risks, to a neo-liberal freedom where market risk and ontologically insecurities fuel fear and facilitate the emergence of punitivity and populism, the book traces the broad contours of risk in late modernity. Pratt shows that risk not only re-writes criminal law in the form of the ‘security sanction’, but also recasts our human rights. In the new paradigm the key human right becomes that which protects the many from the few – even if the few are yet to commit and offence. The book is stunning in scope yet manages to ground its analysis of broad concepts through a discussion of a range of historical and contemporary issues.   The book will be of great value to the fields of sociology, criminology, political science and policy” (Professor Murray Lee, Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney, Australia)

“In Law, Insecurity and Risk Control, John Pratt provides a typically systemic, sociologically-informed analysis of the way in which the politics of risk (and its inherent duality) has been turbo-charged by populist politics and underlying social and economic discontent. In so doing, Pratt poses fundamental questions about the future of the (neo-)liberal state and the role of criminal law within it” (Dr Harry Annison, Southampton Law School, University of Southampton, UK)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

    John Pratt

About the author

John Pratt is Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His fields of research are comparative penology and the history and sociology of punishment. He has published in eleven languages and has been invited to lecture at universities in South America, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. His books include Punishment and Civilization (2002), Penal Populism (2007) and Contrasts in Punishment (2013). His work is often cited in the international media including TIMEThe Observer and The Financial Times.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-48872-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)