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Reading Wacquant : social work and advanced marginality

Cummins, ID



Professor Loic Wacquant was born in Montpelier in 1960. He was educated in Francebefore completing a Ph.D. in Chicago in 1994. He is currently Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. His work is concerned with the impact ofneoliberalism in the area of welfare and penal policy. Wacquant has published a number of highly influential books the most notable of which are Les Prisons de lamisère (1999, translated in 20 languages; new and expanded English edition, Prisonsof Poverty, 2009), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer
(2000), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008)
and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (2009).
These works, along with the major papers listed in the bibliography, form the core of Wacquant’s analysis of the impact of neoliberal welfare and penal policy. These papers
consider three key areas: advanced marginality, race (ethno racial domination) andthe rise of the penal state. His significance as a commentator for social work, specifically, lies in his critical engagement with these three areas that have so shapedthe development of modern welfare and penal policy. The article concludes that Wacquant’s work provides a clear analytical framework for the study of the organisational and social contexts of contemporary practice. His work also calls fora more politically engaged social work practice—a form of practice that will move away from social work as a narrow bureaucratic activity dominated by riskmanagement and return to core social work values.


Cummins, I. (2015). Reading Wacquant : social work and advanced marginality. European Journal of Social Work, 19(2), 263-274.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 20, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2015
Journal European Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 1369-1457
Electronic ISSN 1468-2664
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 263-274
Publisher URL
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