Thursday, February 16, 2012

Neoliberal Safety Nets: Looking at the Relationship Between Local Labor Demand and Welfare Sanctions

So I think this blog has a theoretical apparatus to discuss the simultaneous rise and expansion of both a carceral state and a market-conforming, submerged, “nudging” state, both targeted to different geographical and socio-economic spaces. But what about the spaces in-between? How has the regulation of conduct among the working poor changed in the past 20 years?

I’m currently enjoying Discipling the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race by Joe Soss, Richard C. Fording and Sanford F. Schram. They look at the historical evolution of the governance of the working poor through several lens, including local devolution, the marketization of poverty (“how privatization and the ‘business model’ have turned service provision into a site of profitable investment and a tool for servicing employer needs”) and competitive performance systems. (I saw at a recent talk that Wendy Brown’s critical thoughts on neoliberalisms have also taken a turn towards an analysis of “devolution” and “responsibilization” involved in current governing practices – see a writeup of a similar talk here.) Read more....

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