Corcoran, M (2019) Market society utopianism in penal politics. In: Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Policy Press, Bristol. (In Press)

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This chapter examines the utopian intellectual origins of some strands of contemporary free-market ideas and practices from their post-war revival via thinkers such as Friedrich Hayek, whose ideas went on to influence the New Right following the economic and political crises of the 1970s. The discussion then draws on Karl Polyani’s (1945) Origins of our Time: The Great Transformation, where he first gave theoretical expression to the concept of a 'market society’. Published just after the Second World War and in the context of emerging welfare states, these thinkers marked out the ideological cleavages that have dominated political-economic thought since. The chapter considers the pre-eminence of free market ideology with regards to its impact on penal politics and thinking. It concludes by noting that predictions of the withering away of outsourcing and competitive regimes in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-8 appear to be a ‘false dawn’. However, a change in direction may be imminent in the wake of controversial and costly terminations of penal service contracts.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an extract/chapter to be published in Privatisation and Marketisation in Criminal Justice. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it will be available online at:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV7231 Criminal justice administration
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 08:17
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2021 01:30

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