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Punishment and Modern Society

A Study in Social Theory

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

Table of Contents

1. The Sociology of Punishment and Punishment Today
2. Punishment and Social Solidarity: The Work of émile Durkheim
3. Punishment and the Construction of Authority: A Reworking of Durkheimian Themes
4. The Political Economy of Punishment: Rusche and Kirchheimer and the Marxist Tradition
5. Punishment as Ideology and Class Control: Variations on Marxist Themes
6. Punishment and the Technologies of Power: The Work of Michel Foucault
7. Beyond the Power Perspective: A Critique of Foucault on Punishment
8. The Rationalization of Punishment: Weberian Themes and Modern Penality
9. Punishment and Culture: Cultural Forms and Penal Practices
10. Punishment and Sensibilities: A Genealogy of ’Civilized’ Sanctions
11. Punishment as a Cultural Agent: Penality’s Role in the Creation of Culture
12. Punishment as Social Institution


American Sociological Association: ASA Section on Crime, Law, and Deviance Dist. Schol. Aw.

Society for Study of Social Problems: SSSP-Crime & Delinquency Section Book Award

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