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Anyone who considers questions of power cannot help but be struck by the ubiquitous nature, emotional force and political pull of the concept of order. The Fabrication of Social Order examines the role of policing in the fabrication of order.After an initial exploration of the original relationship between police, state power and the question of order, Neocleous focuses on the ways in which eighteenth century liberalism refined and narrowed the concept of the police, a process which masked the power of capital and broader issues of social control. In doing so he challenges the way liberalism came to define policing solely in terms of the question of crime and the rule of law. This liberal definition created a limited and fundamentally misleading understanding of policing which remains in use today. In contrast, Neocleous argues for an expanded concept of police, adequate to the expansive set of institutions through which policing takes place. These institutions are concerned not just with the maintenance or reproduction of order, but with its fabrication, especially the fabrication of a social order based on wage labour. This project, he argues, should be understood as the project of social security. Grasping this point allows a fuller understanding of the ways in which the state polices and secures civil society, and how order is fabricated through law and administration.
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Mark Neocleous is Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Government at Brunel University. His previous books are Administering Civil Society: Towards a Theory of State Power (Macmillan, 1996) and Fascism (Open University Press, 1997). He is a member of the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy.Review:
'The virtue of this short but rich text is his clarity in exposing this constant role of police in the establishment of not only public order but the social order as such ... Neocleous's book is to be warmly welcomed as a rescuing of the discussion of police from a narrow focus on crime' -- Radical Philosophy 'One of the most brilliant and provocative works of 'critical theory' produced in years ... his refusal of liberal/reformist conceptions of the state and 'law and order' is exemplary' -- Freedom
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