Affective technologies of welfare deterrence in Australia and the United Kingdom

China Mills, Elise Klein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Across the political spectrum of different historical periods, welfare deterrence has shaped social security and immigration policy in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Deterrence discourages access to state welfare through the production and mobilization of negative affect to deter specific groups from claiming state support, and by crafting public affect (of fear and disgust) about these target populations in order to garner consent for punitive policies. In this paper, we argue that deterrence works as a human technology where the crafting of negative affect operates as a technology of statecraft. Through critical juxtaposition and multiple genealogies of deterrence, this paper meshes time and space, and colony/colonizer and metropole, to show the historical and contemporary connectivity of the affective nature of deterrence. We identify five main operations that produce the ‘feel’ of deterrence: stigmatization by design, destitution by design, deterrent architecture, the control of movement, and the centrality of labour; as well as tracing the political economy of deterrence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-422
    Number of pages26
    JournalEconomy and Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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