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Quantification = economization? Numbers, ratings and rankings in the prison service of England and Wales

Guter-Sandu, Andrei ORCID: 0000-0003-3143-6555 and Mennicken, Andrea ORCID: 0000-0002-5658-7678 (2021) Quantification = economization? Numbers, ratings and rankings in the prison service of England and Wales. In: Mennicken, Andrea and Salais, Robert, (eds.) The New Politics of Numbers: Utopia, Evidence and Democracy. Executive Politics and Governance. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, CH, 307 - 336. ISBN 9783030782009

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-030-78201-6_10


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.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 10:17

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