Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory

University of Chicago Press
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In this path-breaking book, David Garland argues that punishment is a complex social institution that affects both social relations and cultural meanings. Drawing on theorists from Durkheim to Foucault, he insightfully critiques the entire spectrum of social thought concerning punishment, and reworks it into a new interpretive synthesis.

"Punishment and Modern Society is an outstanding delineation of the sociology of punishment. At last the process that is surely the heart and soul of criminology, and perhaps of sociology as well—punishment—has been rescued from the fringes of these 'disciplines'. . . . This book is a first-class piece of scholarship."—Graeme Newman, Contemporary Sociology

"Garland's treatment of the theorists he draws upon is erudite, faithful and constructive. . . . Punishment and Modern Society is a magnificent example of working social theory."—John R. Sutton, American Journal of Sociology

"Punishment and Modern Society lifts contemporary penal issues from the mundane and narrow contours within which they are so often discussed and relocates them at the forefront of public policy. . . . This book will become a landmark study."—Andrew Rutherford, Legal Studies

"This is a superbly intelligent study. Its comprehensive coverage makes it a genuine review of the field. Its scholarship and incisiveness of judgment will make it a constant reference work for the initiated, and its concluding theoretical synthesis will make it a challenge and inspiration for those undertaking research and writing on the subject. As a state-of-the-art account it is unlikely to be bettered for many a year."—Rod Morgan, British Journal of Criminology

Winner of both the Outstanding Scholarship Award of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 26, 2012
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780226922508
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Criminal Law / General
Social Science / General
Social Science / Penology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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First published in 1985, this classic of law and society scholarship continues to shape the research agenda of today’s sociology of punishment. It is now republished with a new Preface by the author.

Punishment and Welfare explores the relation of punishment to politics, the historical formation and development of criminology, and the way in which penal reform grew out of the complex set of political projects that founded the modern welfare state. Its analyses powerfully illuminate many of the central problems of contemporary penal and welfare policy, showing how these problems grew out of political struggles and theoretical debates that occurred in the first years of the 20th century.

In conducting this investigation, David Garland developed a method of research which combines detailed historical and textual analysis with a broader sociological vision, thereby synthesizing two forms of analysis that are more often developed in isolation. The resulting genealogy will interest everyone who works in this field.

“… a brilliant book … the main arguments of Punishment and Welfare are undoubtedly some of the most tenacious and exciting to emerge from the field of criminology in many years.”
— Piers Bierne, Contemporary Sociology

“… one of the most important pieces of work ever to emerge in British criminology. It is a study of depth, subtlety and complexity … Garland’s integration of close historical details with a broader sociological vision provides a model methodology….”
— Stan Cohen, British Journal of Criminology

“This study shows how early 20th-century penal policy was a function of the nation’s social welfare practices. Garland’s theory is as applicable to the 21st century as it is to that earlier era: A tour de force.”
— Malcolm Feeley, University of California–Berkeley

Stateville penitentiary in Illinois has housed some of Chicago's most infamous criminals and was proclaimed to be "the world's toughest prison" by Joseph Ragen, Stateville's powerful warden from 1936 to 1961. It shares with Attica, San Quentin, and Jackson the notoriety of being one of the maximum security prisons that has shaped the public's conception of imprisonment. In Stateville James B. Jacobs, a sociologist and legal scholar, presents the first historical examination of a total prison organization—administrators, guards, prisoners, and special interest groups.

Jacobs applies Edward Shils's interpretation of the dynamics of mass society in order to explain the dramatic events of the past quarter century that have permanently altered Stateville's structure. With the extension of civil rights to previously marginal groups such as racial minorities, the poor, and, ultimately, the incarcerated, prisons have moved from society's periphery toward its center. Accordingly Stateville's control mechanisms became less authoritarian and more legalistic and bureaucratic. As prisoners' rights increased, the preogatives of the staff were sharply curtailed. By the early 1970s the administration proved incapable of dealing with politicized gangs, proliferating interest groups, unionized guards, and interventionist courts.

In addition to extensive archival research, Jacobs spent many months freely interacting with the prisoners, guards, and administrators at Stateville. His lucid presentation of Stateville's troubled history will provide fascinating reading for a wide audience of concerned readers.

". . . [an] impressive study of a complex social system."—Isidore Silver, Library Journal
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