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CJC directors, Ana Aliverti and Henrique Carvalho, and member, Anastasia Chamberlen, have been awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Trust’s Research Project Grant

The project titled ‘The Vulnerable State: Appraising the Ambivalent Economies of State Power’ explores the ambivalent and shifting governance of socially marginalised groups in the criminal and administrative justice domains. It hypothesises that the state’s treatment of these groups produces a dissonance between objectives of care and control, which reveals profound dilemmas in the exercise of state power in a globalised, unequal world. It empirically examines these moral and emotional dilemmas through the everyday work of frontline officers.

Methodologically, it reconceptualises the study of the state, from the bottom up. Conceptually, it advances a new theory of the state which places moral sentiments and emotions at the heart of its analysis.

It will assess the significance of acknowledging anew a humane side of the state, the resulting contradictions experienced by those who embody state authority on the ground, and the critical potential of humanitarianism for resisting punitiveness from within.

Drawing on a range of methodologies, the project will study the moral and affective economies of state power in two key institutions (criminal and administrative justice) in the governance of social marginality at the macrosocial level (through the analysis of law and policy, operational training and visual material) and microsocial level (through the analysis of institutional decision-making and practices, and individual perceptions and experiences).

The project is made of five distinct yet interconnected subprojects tracing laws and policies, and documenting the work of a range of institutional actors and agencies (the police, the prison, the immigration court, and asylum case-work and support).

Based at Warwick CJC, the research team will be formed by Aliverti, Carvalho and Chamberlen, two PhD students and a research assistant. It starts in October 2022 for four years.