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    Theorizing 'surplus populations' in racial capitalism through juvenile justice

    Wells, Karen (2023) Theorizing 'surplus populations' in racial capitalism through juvenile justice. In: Balagopalan, S. and Wall, J. and Wells, Karen (eds.) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Theories in Childhood Studies. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781350263840. (In Press)

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    The concept of ‘surplus population’ explains how child welfare functions in the context of racial capitalism to cultivate and develop the productive capacities of children to ensure the development of a productive adult. Productive here simply means activity that adds value to privately owned capital. It does not mean: active, alive, creative, generative, dynamic, social, etc. Surplus population is that part of the population that is permanently surplus to the needs of capital and outside of the logic of productivity for capital. It does not, of course, mean that people are surplus for one another or that they are outside of community and family or that their lives are intrinsically useless or lack value. Surplus population is a concept specifically tied to how capitalism values life. This chapter argues that when the imagined future of the child falls outside of the scope of a productive future and locates the child now and in the future as part of a surplus population, juvenile justice and other mechanisms of abandoning and containing children and exposing them to premature death are mobilized. Book synopsis: The Bloomsbury Handbook of Theories in Childhood Studies showcases the cutting-edge theoretical work that has been produced within the field of childhood studies. It speaks to both scholars and students in the field by addressing basic questions such as what childhood is, how childhoods are diversely constructed and how children's experiences can be better understood. The volume draws together a wide range of theoretical perspectives from the social sciences, humanities, politics, postcolonialism, feminism, critical race studies, queer theory, disabilities studies to generate a much-needed conversation about how to move childhood studies forward as a grounded field of research. The volume is subdivided into three broad sections - subjectivities, relationalities, and structures - each of which contains around ten chapters from a diversity of disciplines and author identities. The chapters are written by experts from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Karen Wells
    Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2023 15:56
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:20


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