Institutionalist accounts of punishment, crime, and inequality should look to the thinning of political ideologies and its institutional implications. I argue that thin ideologies such as populism, technocracy and plebiscitarianism, have institutional ambitions and tend to incentivise reforms that favour executive discretion and a politics of disintermediation. I illustrate this claim by reference to Italy both during and after the Eurozone crisis. I use Italy as a starting point for a broader discussion of how ideologies might change institutions, and therefore the penal incentives that follow from particular institutional configurations. I claim that institutional changes rooted in thin ideologies may have long-term effects on punishment by incentivising a more adversarial and retaliatory approach to conflict – and thence to crime and deviance – and dis-incentivising a more negotiated and reintegrative approach to conflict, including the type of interpersonal conflict represented by crime and deviance.
Dr Gallo’s recent publications include: ‘From ideologies, to institutions to punishment: the importance of political ideologies to the political economy of punishment’ (2021) in (Lacey et al, eds.) Tracing the Relationship between Inequality, Crime and Punishment. Oxford: OUP; The penal implications of austerity: Italian punishment in the wake of the Eurozone crisis’ (2019) European Journal of Criminology. 16(2); “The constitution of political membership”: punishment, political membership, and the Italian case' (2017) Theoretical Criminology. 21(4); and 'Punishment, authority and political economy: Italian challenges to western punitiveness' (2015) Punishment and Society. 17 (5): 598-623.