Mayer, Margit (2010):
"Punishing the Poor — a debate: Some questions on Wacquant’s theorizing the neoliberal state." Theoretical Criminology 14.1: 93-103.
Journal Article

While in broad agreement about the growing importance of workfare and punitive tendencies in contemporary politics, this article raises four questions about Wacquant’s model of a neoliberal state. Besides pointing out the fuzzy definition of the target group of punitive regulation, it questions whether penal containment is generalizable as ‘core’ of the neoliberal state. Third, it critiques the selective treatment of contemporary poverty policies (excluding a variety of, for example, activating, neoliberal policies), built on a skewed view of the transition from a supposedly generous ‘nanny state’ to a strict ‘daddy state’. Fourth, it challenges the claim of ‘overall fitness’ of punitive containment of urban marginality and the absence of agency and contradictions from the model.