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The Criminal, the Pauper, and the Foreigner in the Production of Citizenship

18:30 -20:00, Monday 12 March 2012

Town Hall, Oxford

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Speaker: Loïc Wacquant, University of California, Berkeley and Centre européenne de sociologie, Paris

The social and symbolic silhouette of the modern citizen is defined through contraposition with three deviant figures: the criminal, who violates the law and imperils the physical integrity of civil society from within; the pauper, who shirks the obligation of work and corrodes the moral integrity of the wage-labor compact from within; and the foreigner, who threatens to breach the membrane of national membership from without and is suspected of being prone to turning into a criminal or a welfare recipient. These three figures have been studied by different disciplines (criminology, social welfare, sociology/ethnic studies) and by different subfields inside of each discipline.

Wacquant proposes to bring them under a single analytic framework attentive to the material and symbolic charge of policies aimed at managing problem categories. He argues that the shift from rehabilitative to punitive criminal justice, the transition from protective welfare to disciplinary workfare, and from the administrative to the penal regulation of immigration are correlated and converging changes that partake of the building of the neoliberal state and fuel the politics of resentment in the age of social insecurity and ethnic anxiety.