Second-Chance Punitivism and the Contractual Governance of Crime and Incivility: New Labour, Old Hobbes

26 Pages Posted: 13 May 2008

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Abstract

The growing application of mechanisms of contractual governance to behaviour that breaches social norms, rather than the criminal law, appears to represent an ethopolitical concern with delinquent self-reform through the activation of technologies of the self. In fact, there is little empirical evidence that the contractual governance of incivility leads to such self-reform. Beneath the ideology of contractual agreement to observe social norms lies what this paper calls a second-chance punitivism which operates to crystallize behavioural elements of the Hobbesian social contract, after breach, into a more specific form. The responsibilizing and individualizing properties of this form of contractual governance set the moral-ideological platform for a retributive punitivism, when the rational agents it creates fail to live up to their image, and are taken to have wasted their second chance.

Suggested Citation

Mackenzie, Simon, Second-Chance Punitivism and the Contractual Governance of Crime and Incivility: New Labour, Old Hobbes. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 35, Issue 2, pp. 214-239, June 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1131787 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2008.00436.x

Simon Mackenzie (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow ( email )

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Florentine House, 53 Hillhead St
Glasgow, G12 8QF
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sccjr.ac.uk

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