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This outstanding book explores the rise of prison populations in the US, in Britain and in other European countries, as well as in Latin America. Beginning with a rich, ethnographic account of being inside the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, the author moves on to develop an argument about the connections between neoliberalism as a political doctrine, and incarceration as a social policy.
Loïc Wacquant reveals that the growing symbiosis between politics, the media, immigration and penal institutions are transforming the definition, treatment and representation of crime, justice and citizenship not only in the United States but also in Europe and Latin America.
In the age of unfettered markets and enfeebled social-welfare states, the penal system is a major engine of social stratification, urban change and cultural demarcation in its own right. It remakes those segments of the city onto which it latches in its own image, turning them into devices for the expurgation of dispossessed groups and the symbolic destruction of important urban ills.
Deadly Symbiosis is a timely book, which offers a rigorous and engaging account of why the penal system must be put at the centre of social inquiry, political reflection and civic action today.
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Loïc Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne-Paris.
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