Friday, 21 September 2007

Punishment and Control By Barbara Hudson

Punishment and Control
Barbara Hudson


This chapter will present an overview of the body of criminological work which has examined the nature of punishment and control in modern societies. Major themes to be covered are:

the relationship between crime and control;

the nature of punishment and control;

transformations in strategies of punishment and control;

the relationship between punishment, control and other societal characteristics;

the punishment and control of women.

These themes recur throughout the development of sociological and criminological work on punishment and control, albeit in slightly different formulations as they are reproduced in the terminology and theoretical orientations of different periods. This chapter is organised with more or less chronologically; its division into sections reflects both developments and transitions in the nature of punishment and control (the development of the modern prison; the growth of alternatives to custody; the emergence of contemporary mass imprisonment), and the theoretical perspectives in currency at any particular time (progressivist, Marxist, Foucauldian and post-structuralist, etc.). The exception to this thematic continuity is the punishment and control of women. This is largely absent in the mainstream work on punishment and control in all eras, and is dealt with in a more or less separatist literature which often has little connection with theorising in other fields of criminology and penology, and is often detached from any political-penological context. A separate section on the control and punishment of females is therefore included here, although there is some reference to gender issues in the other sections.
Key writers whose work will be discussed include Pat Carlen, Stanley Cohen, Michel Foucault, David Garland and Jonathan Simon, and important concepts which will be introduced and explained include discipline; panopticism; crime and governance; inclusion and exclusion; new penology; penal populism; legitimation; penal modernism and postmodernism; risk and control; punishment as an aspect of culture; mass imprisonment.
Punishment, in criminology, is punishment for crime, imposed by the judiciary in accordance with penal law, and administered by penal institutions such as prisons and the probation service. Other types of 'punishment', such as detention of pupils by teachers, beatings or community expulsions of criminals by vigilantes and lynch mobs, are usually excluded (Hudson, 1996: 2). It is essential to the definition of punishment in this context that it is inflicted because of behaviour which transgresses the criminal law, and that the pain or hardship involved is intentional, not just a coincidental or accidental outcome. The criminology of punishment is conceived as the study of penality, a term associated with Michel Foucault (1977), which indicates a complex of theories, institutions, practices, laws, professional roles and political-public attitudes which are concerned with the sanctioning of criminals (Garland and Young, 1983: 14).
Just as criminology's concern with punishment does not include all the usages of the term in everyday life, the discipline has generally adopted a more restricted definition of control than the wider sociological concept of 'social control'. It has followed the American sociological tradition of designating processes designed to produce conforming behaviour, such as education, religion, broadcasting etc. as 'socialization', concerning itself with those institutions of control - law, police, courts, prisons etc. - which provide
"the repertoire of organised social responses to deviance."
(Blomberg and Cohen, 1995:3)
This definition allows for further differentiation into, for example, state-sponsored and non-state-sponsored responses to deviance; responses to crime and responses to other forms of deviance such as mental illness or 'alternative lifestyles; socially inclusive and socially exclusive strategies of control.
At various times, criminology has dealt with punishment and control as separate phenomena or as one phenomenon, and at different times it has merged 'crime control' within a generalised study of social control, or has focused on crime control without much reference to wider fields of control. However close the focus on crime as opposed to other forms of deviant behaviour, and however close the focus on punishment rather than more general strategies of crime control, it is usually necessary to utilise the insights of wider aspects of social control, and of broader traditions of social theory, to understand particular facets of punishment and control which criminologists wish to study (Garland and Sparks, 2000; Garland and Loader, this volume). Two of the most important strands in the criminology of punishment and control have been investigations of the balance between conformity-producing and deviance-repressing modes of control (or the balance between informal social control and repressive penal control), and of the ways in which punishment and control are reflections of more general cultural trends (for example the 'civilizing' and 'de-civilizing' of punishments).
Criminology is itself part of the apparatus of control in modern societies, as well as being concerned with the study of control. It is a body of knowledge developed to help the day-to-day work of police, courts, prison governors and medical officers, probation officers, social workers and forensic psychiatrists, as well as to inform legislators and policy-makers. Much criminology, often referred to as mainstream or administrative criminology (Young, J., 1988 inter alia), contents itself with the unreflexive production of technicist information for legislators, criminal justice planners and practitioners. Such literature is not my concern here. More critical criminologies have sought to interrogate and understand the nature of punishment and control in modern societies, and it is this body of work which is discussed in what follows. This focus also excludes work which - although it may be critical and analytical - is concerned primarily with describing the detail of imprisonment, community penalties or crime prevention programmes (Morgan, this volume; Pease, this volume; Raynor, this volume Matthews and Francis, 1996; Brownlee, 1998; Worrall, 1997).
Another body of work which has bearing on criminological understanding of punishment and control, is the legal-philosophical writing on punishment. This is in many ways analagous to the wider sociology (theories of modernism and late-modernism, for example) that control studies draw on. From time to time such work becomes especially important, as for example when the theory of 'just deserts' became prominent in the 1980s and influenced the institutions and practices of punishment and control in many countries (Cohen, 1985; Hudson, 1987). Generally, though, this legal-philosophical work is a separate discursive enterprise and proceeds in parallel to, but not as part of, the criminology of punishment and control.

The full Chapter of this excellent article can be found in the third edition of the Oxford Handbook of Criminology.

1 comment:

joana said...

I am student of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, in Porto (Portugal). I'm just studying the author Barbara Hudson and would like to know, if possible, if have you been working in the area of criminology and where.
I apologize for English use.
Thank you