Abstract: This paper examines the complex relationship between welfare states and penal order in a way that reorients taken-for-granted assumptions about generous welfare states and mild penal sanctioning. It examines how certain structures the welfare state, namely the lack of individual rights and ethnocultural concepts of citizenship, lay the foundation for the dualistic system which is at once inclusionary and exclusionary. By paying close attention to state structures, the paper also challenges the neoliberal paradigm in punishment, which has linked the punitive turn to the retraction of the welfare state, and instead, argues that the rise of welfare nationalism underpins increased punitiveness in certain contexts. It goes on to argue the resilience of the nation state form and its indebtedness to penal order in the face of major social changes, including global mobility.
About the speaker: Vanessa Barker is Docent and Associate Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University. Her research focuses on questions of democracy and penal order, welfare states and immigration, and how border control is challenging the European project and European penality. She is currently working on a book project about ‘benevolent violence’ that is supported by Riksbanken Jubileumsfond, and is an academic visitor at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. Her work has appeared in such outlets as Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Theoretical Criminology, Punishment Society and edited volumes. She is the author of The Politics of Punishment: How the Democratic Process Shapes the Way America Punishes Offenders (Oxford University Press, 2009), which received a PASS award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and was funded in part by the National Science Foundation. She serves on the editorial boards of Law & Society Review and Theoretical Criminology and is a book review editor at Punishment & Society. She participates in several international research networks including: Border Criminologies; CRN on Punishment & Social Control; CRN on Citizenship & Immigration; and the Imprisonment Observatory. She is part of the Research Advisory Group for the Howard League for Penal Reform and a former and founding Board member of Project 180, a prisoner reentry organization based in Florida. She graduated from New York University, previously worked at Florida State University, and is a former Law and Public Affairs fellow at Princeton University.