Quantification = Economization? Numbers, Ratings, and Rankings in the Prison Service of England and Wales

Andrei Guter-Sandu, Andrea Mennicken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This paper uses the case of prison privatization in England and Wales to scrutinize what it means to “economize the social” through numbers. It argues that we ought to be careful not to equate quantification with economization. To uncover the multiple effects of economization and quantification brought about by new public management reforms and prison privatization, one needs to set presumed dichotomies between the public and the private aside and turn instead to the multiplicity of economizing practices (curtailing, marketizing, financializing) and their implication in different forms of quantification. Ironically, numbers and state contracts governing privately managed prisons also shielded these establishments from economization (e.g. budgetary savings requests); and it is the public prisons that have been exposed the most to measures of government austerity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Politics of Numbers
EditorsRobert Salais, Andrea Mennicken
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages307-336
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-78201-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-78200-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021

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