Re-Thinking the Political Economy of Punishment: Perspectives on Post-Fordism and Penal Politics

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.