Debt as Pacification


  • Mark Neocleous Brunel University London



debt, pacification, police power


Debt is pacification’s dirtiest little secret and its cleanest weapon. Pacification is the name we give to the fabrication of social order; it is the goal of the police power and the police wars that dominate our political landscape. To understand pacification, we need to pay close attention not only to professional violence workers, but also to the far more subtle ways in which subjects are rendered obedient to a social order of exploitation and alienation. As critical theories of police power have shown, the wage is crucial to this process. But so too is debt. This article argues that we need to understand debt as pacification. In the process, the article also aims to strengthen and deepen the concept of pacification and the idea of police power.


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How to Cite

Neocleous, M. (2021). Debt as Pacification. Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(1), 58–76.



Capitalist World-Economy in Crisis: Policing, Pacification, and Legitimacy