CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Harcourt on Punishment, Political Economy, and the Genealogy of Morals

HarcourtBernard_01Bernard E. Harcourt (Columbia University) has posted The ’73 Graft: Punishment, Political Economy, and the Genealogy of Morals on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In this essay, I explore the place of a genealogy of morals within the context of a history of political economy. More specifically, I investigate the types of moralization — of criminals and delinquents, of the disorderly, but also of political economic systems, of workers and managers, of rules and rule-breaking — that are necessary and integral to making a population accept new styles of political and economic governance, especially the punitive institutions that accompany modern political economies in the contemporary period. 

The marriage of political economy and a genealogy of morals: this essay explores how the moralization of certain groups of people has been necessary to render tolerable the great American paradox of laissez-faire and mass incarceration. How, in effect, practices of moralization are necessary to make tolerable the intolerable.

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