A neoliberal security complex?

Georgios Papanicolaou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction: The global onslaught since the late 1970s of policies obsessed with levelling obstacles to free markets, the privatisation of public services and entire sectors of the economy, the marketisation of public goods and the deregulation particularly of the labour market, in short, neoliberalism as economic dogma and policy recipe is today regularly associated with developments in criminal justice, particularly with what many critical scholars today identify as a decisive punitive turn in penal policy (e.g. Garland 2001; Simon 2007; Wacquant 2001, 2009b; Young 1999). It is less certain whether the study of policing makes this association with the same intensity. It is true that the dominance of neoliberalism and the social and political restructuring it brings about is present in considerations of changes in the role, organisation and operations of the police. However, the particular paths that the sociology of the police has taken seem to be preventing a systematic unravelling of the relation between neoliberalism and change in policing. On one hand, there is a clear trend to take a wider approach to the questions of policing and security (Johnston and Shearing 2003; Loader and Walker 2007), one that draws its ancestry from an earlier bold change of focus away from the workings of the public police to a wider institutional assemblage of public and private actors involved in the provision of security (Shearing and Stenning 1981, 1983).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganising Neoliberalism
Subtitle of host publicationMarkets, Privatisation and Justice
EditorsPhilip Whitehead, Paul Crawshaw
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780857285362
ISBN (Print)9780857285331
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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