WDW340 January 25 2012.docx

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19 Apr 2012
Lecture 3 - January 25
1:40 PM
Review of Last Week
-disappointment with the prisons themselves brings about positivism; science of the criminal,
experimentation/data gathering, scientific theories of why the prisoners have commit crimes; highly
deterministic (criminals have something wrong with them - sets in motion deterministic strand of theory
-social and economic interventions improving crime e.g. full employment rates etc. after WWII;
rehabilitation as central punishment theory
-rehabilitation problem; is it fair to keep person in prison/being rehabilitated i.e. think of person with leg
in cast
-moving toward punitively focused system ; removing remissions, idea that we have not been punishing
people enough
Sociology of Punishment
-attempting to understand the place of formal punishment in the social order
Question - who is in control of punishment
-connect with various other sociological questions like feminist sociology; why women commit crimes,
what particular crimes
-what part does the punishment system play in the reproduction of a patriarchal society for all members
of the community
Some Misconceptions
-idea that for a sociological analysis to be compelling should reframe the phenomenon you are looking
-people end up thinking/acting as if a sociological theory/insight can somehow change our justifications
of punishment e.g.
-we end up with interesting theories which are interesting/thought provoking, moral philosophical ideas
and history
Approaching punishment
Liberal Pluralism - way of thinking about government/government decisions
-how law and government depict themselves to some degree
-liberal pluralism does the least reframing; does not make it wrong or right, just what our intuitions are
-understanding how in a particular historical circumstance different individuals, governments, peoples,
societies etc. gained the results that they wanted
-to know what place punishment has in social order; it comes from different groups fighting for their
own views to make them the most credible
-sociology of punishment arises from the struggles within society, say liberal pluralists
-rival interests/ideas are able to have some place in the struggles/negotiations and try to make their
ways most prominent; some people take advantage of others, use contacts, most influential people
targeted, taking advantage of particular circumstances e.g. crises etc.
-according to liberal pluralism some sort of democratic liberal polity like ours is the kind of space where
this is most open
-their insights make sense here, because a liberal polity is most open and dynamic
-liberal pluralists are not saying groups are completely equal in power; i.e. government discussing policy;
not all are equal in power, like family
-punishment system comes to reflect the society; balance of forces/circumstances that give rise to ideas
-particular policy can become un-liked eventually; liberal pluralists will see this as balance of forces
operating at the time of the decision
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