Bernard Harcourt – The Punitive Order: Free Markets, Neoliberalism, and Mass Incarceration in the United States

Event Date: 3 and 4 June 2011
Clore Lecture Theatre
Clore Management Centre
Birkbeck College
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Centre for Law and the Humanities presents:


A Conference at Birkbeck College, University of London Reflecting on 20 years of
The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality

Bernard Harcourt The Punitive Order: Free Markets, Neoliberalism, and Mass Incarceration in the United States

Much has been written about Michel Foucault’s critique of neoliberalism, both of neoliberalism in general and of the three different varieties of neoliberalism that he specifically discussed in his 1979 lectures (German Ordoliberalism, French Giscardian neoliberalism, and the Chicago School). In this essay, I explore Foucault’s critique of American neoliberalism specifically, and its relation to contem‐porary punitive practices in the United States.

Bernard Harcourt

Recent lecture material online (French language):

Fabienne Brion, Bernard Harcourt: Le pouvoir de la vérité. Trois lectures de ‘Mal faire, dire vrai’, de Michel Foucault

Bernard is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law, the Chair of the Political Science Department, and Professor of Political Science at The University of Chicago. Professor Harcourt’s scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, and penal law and procedure. His latest book is The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (Harvard University Press, forthcoming 2011) and the co-editor with Fabienne Brion of Michel Foucault’s Mal faire, dire vrai (forthcoming in French at Presses Universitaires de Louvain and in English at the University of Chicago Press). He is also the author of Against Prediction: Punishing and Policing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago Press 2007), Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy (University of Chicago Press 2005), and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing (Harvard University Press 2001). Harcourt is the coauthor of Criminal Law and the Regulation of Vice (Thompson West 2007), the editor of Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York University Press 2003), and the founder and editor of the journal Carceral Notebooks.

After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Charles S. Haight Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, representing death row inmates. He continues to represent death row inmates pro bono, and has also served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala.






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