International two-day conference
18 / 19 September 2014.
Law School, University of A Coruna.
A Coruna, Spain

Over the last decade, several key texts have sought to examine the recent transformations of penality, most prominently among them mass imprisonment, through Political Economy conceptual tools. Hence, this literature, which is fairly heterogeneous both in perspectives and conclusions, contributed to updating the theoretical framework of Political Economy of Punishment, which was crucial to reframing critical thought on punishment in the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, those recent works have coincided with the unfolding of a theoretical line aimed at explaining the rise of punitiveness of the last decades from the standpoint of the rise of neoliberalism, understood both as a political project and as an economic doxa. By contrast, another prominent body of literature has tended to emphasise the cultural and/or political components of the evolution of penality –and hence its variability– to some extent side-lining the political economic analysis.

Taking account of this theoretical context, it appears to be particularly timely to reflect on the current condition of the analytical field of the Political Economy of Punishment from the plural perspectives that arose from these new contributions on the subject.

First, the Conference aims to debate whether those recent texts are shaping new theoretical tools for the political economic analysis of punishment. Second, the Conference seeks to analyse whether and how the recent Political Economy of Punishment literature may be related to the texts on neoliberalism and punishment and to those which are focused on the cultural and political elements of the contemporary penal trends. Last, but not least, the Conference is aimed at examining to what extent the Political Economy of Punishment literature may contribute to critically analyse the evolution of penality since the onset of the so-called Great Recession.

Therefore, the Conference will focus on the themes of:

  • Variants of capitalism and punishment: versions and relations.
  • Contemporary transformations of capitalism and penality: postfordism, neoliberalism, etc.
  • Great Recession and penal policies.
  • Economy, culture, politics and punishment: theoretical tools, dialogues and conflicts.

Keynote speakers:

  • Kerry Carrington (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
  • Leonidas Cheliotis (University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
  • Alessandro De Giorgi (San Jose State University, USA)
  • Dario Melossi (University of Bologna, Italy)
  • Máximo Sozzo (National University of the Litoral, Argentina)
  • Richard Sparks (University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
  • Charlotte Vanneste (Federale Overheidstdienst Justitie, Belgium)


ECRIM, University of A Coruna, Spain (

Academic chairs:

  • Jose Ángel Brandariz (University of A Coruna, Spain)
  • Máximo Sozzo (National University of the Litoral, Argentina)
  • Dario Melossi (University of Bologna, Italy)

Organising committee chair:

  • Patricia Faraldo (University of A Coruna, Spain)

Organising committee secretary:

  • David Castro (University of A Coruna, Spain)

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