Loïc Wacquant is a professor of Sociology and Research Associate at the Institute for Legal Research, Boalt Law School, University of California at Berkeley, where he is affiliated with the Global Metropolitan Studies Program, the Program in Medical Anthropology, the Center for the Study of Race and Gender, the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, and the Center for Urban Ethnography. He is also a researcher at the Centre de européen de sociologie et de science politique in Paris.
Born and raised in Southern France, Wacquant was educated in Montpellier, Paris, and Chicago, where he received his Ph.D in Sociology in 1994 after earlier graduate studies in industrial economics and a research stint in the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. His interests span comparative urban marginality, ethnoracial domination, incarnation, the penal state, social theory and the politics of reason. (For an introduction to and overview of his work, see “The Body, the Ghetto and the Penal State”).
A member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1990-1993) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (1997-2002), he is the recipient of an Alphonse Fletcher Jr. Fellowship and of the 2008 Lewis A. Coser Award of the Theory Section of the American Sociological Association. He has been a visiting professor in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, and New York City, and invited as a Fellow to the Russell Sage Foundation, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
Wacquant’s scholarly articles have appeared in journals of sociology, anthropology, criminology, social theory, feminist studies, social policy, philosophy, psychology, physical education, literature, architecture, and urban and cultural studies, and have been translated in two dozen languages. Among his books are An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (1992, with Pierre Bourdieu, translated in 19 languages), Les Prisons de la misère (1999, translated in 20 languages; new and expanded English edition, Prisons of Poverty, 2009), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2000/2004, translated in 8 languages), The Mystery of Ministry: Pierre Bourdieu and Democratic Politics (published in 5 languages in 2005), Das Janusgesicht des Ghettos (2006, translated in 3 languages), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008, translated in 7 languages), and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Duke University Press, 2009, translated in 7 languages).
Wacquant has conducted fieldwork in the colonial island of New Caledonia, on the South Side of Chicago, and in the jails of big cities in the United States, France, and Brazil. He has acted as consultant on issues of urban poverty, violence, ethnicity, and crime to central and local governments, unions, and the courts in France, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and to the United Nations and the OECD.
Wacquant is co-founder of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography, which he co-edited from 2000 to 2008, and was a regular contributor to Le Monde diplomatique from 1996 to 2004. His ongoing investigations include a carnal anthropology of desire, an epistemological inquiry into the construction of the object in urban ethnography, and a comparative-historical sociology of forms and mechanisms of racial domination over four centuries and three continents provisionally entitled Peculiar Institutions.