The Militarization of Urban Marginality: Lessons from the Brazilian Metropolis

  • Loïc Wacquant
Part of the Frontiers of Globalization Series book series (FOG)


Neoliberal penalty is paradoxical in that it purports to deploy ‘more state’ in the realm of the police, criminal courts and prisons to remedy the generalized rise of objective and subjective insecurity which is itself caused by ‘less state’ on the economic and social front in the leading countries of the First World. It reaffirms the omnipotence of Leviathan in the restricted domain of public-order maintenance, symbolized by the running battle against street delinquency and clandestine immigration that has everywhere surged to the forefront of the civic stage, just when the state claims and proves to be incapable of stemming the fragmentation of wage labor and of bridling the hypermobility of capital that converge to destabilize the entire social edifice. And, as I showed elsewhere (Wacquant 1999; 2001a), this is no mere coincidence: it is precisely because the governing elites, having converted to the new ruling ideology of the all-mighty market radiating from the United States, relinquish the state’s prerogatives in socioeconomic matters that they must everywhere enhance and reinforce its mission in matters of domestic ‘security’1 after having abruptly reduced the latter to its sole criminal dimension, and furthermore to festering lower-class crime in the streets as opposed to mounting upper-class lawbreaking in corporate suites.


Police Abridgement Criminal Violence Brazilian City Social Insecurity Military Police 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Loïc Wacquant 2011

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