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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
This should be essential reading for anyone interested in what 'welfare reform' really means: as Wacquant shows, it doesn't mean creating a better deal for the needy, it means extinguishing both the right and the expectation that the needy will get help from the government. Wacquant argues that the so-called 'war on crime' in the US is nothing other than a war on the poor...
Published on August 30, 2009 by Ian M. Buchanan

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0 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What creates poverty?
Wacquant should focus more on what creates poverty, and less on it's effects.

If he did, he would be forced to acknowledge the governments responsibility in creating poverty; by centrally planning the economy with laws, taxes, regulations, and mandates.

These government "tools" force entrepreneurs and business owners to reduce economic activity, and...
Published 15 months ago by ECHO1X


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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, August 30, 2009
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This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
This should be essential reading for anyone interested in what 'welfare reform' really means: as Wacquant shows, it doesn't mean creating a better deal for the needy, it means extinguishing both the right and the expectation that the needy will get help from the government. Wacquant argues that the so-called 'war on crime' in the US is nothing other than a war on the poor with the aim of making them less visible. The irony is that it is costing government more to incarcerate the poor than it would to put them on welfare. So what has to be explained is why government would should the more expensive and obviously far less humane option. Given that the UK an Europe seem anxious to follow the same path as the US on this subject, Wacquant's claim that his research has a prophetic value is justified. This book is part of a trilogy and is obviously the product of a long and obsessive amount of research that has left no stone unturned.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Thought Provoking Analysis!, October 3, 2011
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This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
'Punishing the Poor' is the second part of a Trilogy beginning with 'Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality' and ending with 'Deadly Symbiosis: Race and the Rise of the Penal State'.
In Punishing the Poor Wacquant elucidates the connection between Prison and Welfare. Both of these institutions serve the same demographics with the same purposes. According to Wacquant the rise in prison populations are in proportion to the dismantling of welfare and the deindustrialization of the urban core. Incarceration serves the function of removing undesirables from view while extending state surveillance and control beyond the prison itself through parole, probation and welfare. Welfare 'Queens' and 'Dangerous' criminals serve the function of displaced anger while the state proceeds with it's neoliberalism program of retrenchment.
There is a lot going on in this book which required a careful reading by me. Very thought provoking!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poverty and Punishment, August 28, 2012
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This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
Loic Wacquants dense and detailed book "Punishing the Poor" charts the changes in Public Welfare and Penal policies during the Neo-Liberal era. His critique is compelling: States have retreated from their responsibilities to the majority of the population in the economic sphere, turned welfare into machine for forcing workers into the ever growing precarious sector of the labour market, and dealt with those areas, classes and ethnicities who have suffered the most at the hands of the lack of stable employment opportunities and adequate social security with relentless and intruisive policing followed up with grotesque levels of incarceration.

The focus is primarily on the experience of the United States. Part 1 - "The Poverty of the Social State" details the welfare reforms of the post-civil rights era that culminated in the Clinton era "Workfare" act of 1996. With respect to the black population, as well as latinos, a strong case is made for regarding the changes to the labour market and welfare entitlements as functioning as a further stage of repression following slavery and the post-reconstruction "Jim Crow" era following the gains of the civil rights movements of the 1960's.

Part 2 - "Grandeur of the Penal State" charts the inexorable rise of incarceration during the Neoliberal era, the class and "race" dimensions of this immense (2,000,000+) penal obsession. Wacquant regards "workfare and prisonfare" as two sides of the same coin: workfare attacking the welfare of women to encourage them en masse to participate in a precarious labour market where they are no better off, and prisonfare as being the response to the troublesome lower class casualties of a Neoliberal economy that is not able, nor meant to, offer them employment or other prospects.

Part 3 - "Priviliged Targets" is divided into two distinct case studies, the first being "The Prison as Surrogate Ghetto" deals in further detail with black experience of the penal system; and "Moralism and Punitive Panopticism" engages with the subject of prison and sexual offenders in a refreshingly objective manner, charting the moral posturing of politicians and the media against a punitive regime that may well increase rates of recidivism, and arguing for a dispassionate, rigorously scientific re-look at the whole question of sexual offenders with a view to reducing rates of re-offending and providing the most effective protection of the public.

The final part "European Declinations" charts the growing European tendancy to follow the example of the United States. It begins with a comprehensive debunking of zero-tolerance policing in particular that of New Yorks Mayor Rudy Giuliani, before moving on to general European turn to a workfare and prisonfare state, with particular focus on the experience of Wacquants native France.

The biggest, but far from fatal, shortcoming of the book is the occasional descent into what might be regarded as academic jargon. The introduction is particularly guilty of this, but I would encourage readers to work their way through this as they will be rewarded with a fascinating and holistic account of the Neoliberal State and its relations (Penal and Welfare/Workfare) with those who have lost most during its seemingly inexorable rise. Well recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic!, June 13, 2013
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This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
Loic Wacquant's masterful deployment of language in embedding continuously cogent, extended metaphors to illustrate complex relationships and ideas made this book a pleasure to read. This is the second book in a three part series, and having not read the first or the second, I feel that I was able to understand the book in its entirety. Great book, definitely recommended for anyone interested in government, sociology, penology, critical theory, philosophy, or law.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Expected!, October 5, 2014
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This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
Thanks!
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0 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What creates poverty?, November 25, 2013
This review is from: Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Paperback)
Wacquant should focus more on what creates poverty, and less on it's effects.

If he did, he would be forced to acknowledge the governments responsibility in creating poverty; by centrally planning the economy with laws, taxes, regulations, and mandates.

These government "tools" force entrepreneurs and business owners to reduce economic activity, and incentivise future entrepreneurs to leave the country.
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Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity
Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity by Loïc Wacquant (Paperback - May 22, 2009)
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