Beyond the penal state: advanced marginality, social policy and anti-welfarism

Hancock, Lynn and Mooney, Gerry (2012). Beyond the penal state: advanced marginality, social policy and anti-welfarism. In: Squires, Peter and Lea, John eds. Criminalisation and Advanced Marginality: Critically Exploring the Work of Loic Wacquant. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 107–128.



The themes we explore focus on Wacquant’s (2008) work on ‘advanced marginality’, what this means in the contemporary UK and the role of territorial stigmatisation in the production of marginality. This occupies an important position within his overall approach which arguably has not received the same levels of attention as some of his other concepts.

Wacquant has placed important emphasis on the interrelationships between social welfare and criminal justice. We explore a number of aspects which are overlooked by Wacquant: in particular we highlight that representations of ‘the urban poor’ as a ‘problem’ category in the population (both historically and contemporarily) are significant aspects not only of advanced marginality – but also of social policy interventions (understood in their broadest sense). Further, advanced marginality and the construction of particular disadvantaged populations as problematic are also enabled and reinforced by what is increasingly being referred to as ‘poverty porn’ and ‘penal pornography’.

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