Penal and welfare conditionality: discipline or degradation?

McNeill, F. (2020) Penal and welfare conditionality: discipline or degradation? Social Policy and Administration, 54(2), pp. 295-310. (doi: 10.1111/spol.12549)

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This paper aims to complement analyses of welfare conditionality by examining what can be learned from studies of conditional punishment in the criminal justice system. Drawing on a range of recent studies, I explore lived experiences of the conditionality attendant on penal forms of supervision; penal forms that have expanded rapidly in recent decades. I argue that, to paraphrase Stan Cohen, such supervision is as much about the dispersal of degradation as it is about the dispersal of discipline. Indeed, in contemporary western societies, both in punishment and in welfare systems, I suggest that conditionality functions less to discipline poor and marginalised people and more to disqualify them from the entitlements of ordinary citizenship. In so doing, conditionality constructs them as denizens, thus serving to limit the liabilities for the state that arise from social inequalities. Extending Delroy Fletcher and Sharon Wright's metaphor, the abusive slaps now meted out in concert by both hands of the penal state are as much about degrading and denying the entitlements of “needy” denizens as they are about influencing their conduct. But crucially, even within the increasingly restrictive context created by these developments, penal practitioners can and do provide care and assistance.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Also funded by European Union COST. Grant Number: IS1106.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McNeill, Professor Fergus
Authors: McNeill, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Social Policy and Administration
ISSN (Online):1467-9515
Published Online:06 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
First Published:First published in Social Policy and Administration 54(2):295-310
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300586Pervasive Punishment: The Shadow of Penal SupervisionFergus McNeillBritish Academy (BRITACAD)MD160022S&PS - Sociology