University of Hertfordshire

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Transforming Rehabilitation: The micro-physics of (market) power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Matt Tidmarsh
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-126
Number of pages19
JournalPunishment and Society
Early online date28 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


This paper explores the impact of the introduction of competition and profit to the probation service in England and Wales following the implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. The paper adapts the ideas advanced in Foucault’s Discipline and Punish to draw similarities between the characteristics of ‘disciplinary institutions’ and a micro-physics of (market) power in probation under Transforming Rehabilitation. It utilises Foucault’s ‘instruments’ of disciplinary power – hierarchical observation, normalising judgement, and the examination – as lenses through which to highlight the unintended consequences of the installation of market techniques within the service. The paper argues that the constraints peculiar to instilling decentralising market mechanisms that were presented as a means to liberate practitioners and reduce reoffending have entrenched further the centralising tendencies associated with managerialism.


© The Author(s) 2019.

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