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The penality of politics, penality in contemporary Italy 1970-2000

Gallo, Zelia (2013) The penality of politics, penality in contemporary Italy 1970-2000. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis is a socio-legal account of Italian penality between 1970 and 2000. It analyses the Italian experience as a critical case study with which to test David Garland, Alessandro De Giorgi and Nicola Lacey’s theories of punishment in contemporary Western polities. It argues that Italian penality is not sufficiently explained by reference to Garland or De Giorgi’s meta theories of ‘late modern’ and ‘post-Fordist’ punishment. Lacey’s institutional analysis provides a better framework, if modified to allow for the centrality of political dynamics in Italy. The thesis argues that Italian penality is a ‘volatile penal equilibrium’, whose ‘differential punitiveness’ is marked by oscillations between repression and leniency. The thesis provides an institutional analysis of Italian punishment, investigating in turn the Italian political economy, political culture and state-citizen relations, judicial contributions to penal trends, and the punishment of non-EU migrants. The thesis argues that Italian penality can be systematised by reference to political dynamics, in particular political conflict and political dualisms. Political conflict can broadly be defined as conflict between political interests, ranging from parties through to broader political groups such as families; dualisms are tensions produced by opposing institutional dynamics. The thesis analyses these conflicts and dualisms in terms of penal pressures, either in favour of penal exclusion or moderation. Italy’s institutional structure incorporates political conflict, and fosters structural tensions. The result is that Italy’s volatile political equilibrium is conveyed through its institutions to the penal realm, producing a volatile penal equilibrium. Ultimately, the Italian case study demonstrates that contemporary theories of penality should explicitly incorporate political dynamics and their institutional anchorage. Italian penality can be analysed in terms of the nature of the state and its institutions and inclusion and exclusion from political belonging. Contemporary theories would profit from incorporating this analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Zelia Gallo
Library of Congress subject classification: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Ramsay, Peter and Lacey, Nicola

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