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Tracing the Relationship between Inequality, Crime and PunishmentSpace, Time and Politics$
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Nicola Lacey, David Soskice, Leonidas Cheliotis, and Sappho Xenakis

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266922

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266922.001.0001

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Punishing Inequality: Notes on Social Worth from Sweden

Punishing Inequality: Notes on Social Worth from Sweden

(p.222) 9 Punishing Inequality: Notes on Social Worth from Sweden
Tracing the Relationship between Inequality, Crime and Punishment

Vanessa Barker

British Academy

This chapter revisits key concepts of equality, inequality and punishment in the Nordic context. By reexamining who and what the welfare state is for, and who and what punishment is for, it questions the presumed universality of equality in the Nordic context. Instead, it will argue that equality is conditional. It is conditional upon a hierarchy of social worth, with negative implications for punishment. This chapter draws our attention to a new form penal power –penal nationalism– in which penal power is used to uphold national interests, in this case, welfare state preservation and equality for insiders, at the expense of inequality for outsiders.

Keywords:   Inequality, Penal nationalism, Welfare state, Nordic, Punishment

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