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Why Prison?


Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

Thomas Mathiesen, David Scott, Alessandro De Giorgi, Emma Bell, Loïc Wacquant, Magnus Hörnqvist, Michelle Brown, Vanessa Barker, Mark Brown, Emma Kaufman, Mary Bosworth, Vickie Cooper, Joe Sim, Keally McBride, Marie Gottschalk, Erica Meiners, Julia Oparah
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  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107030749

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About the Authors
  • Prison studies has experienced a period of great creativity in recent years, and this collection draws together some of the field's most exciting and innovative contemporary critical writers in order to engage directly with one of the most profound questions in penology - why prison? In addressing this question, the authors connect contemporary penological thought with an enquiry that has received the attention of some of the greatest thinkers on punishment in the past. Through critical exploration of the theories, policies and practices of imprisonment, the authors analyse why prison persists and why prisoner populations are rapidly rising in many countries. Collectively, the chapters provide not only a sophisticated diagnosis and critique of global hyper-incarceration but also suggest principles and strategies that could be adopted to radically reduce our reliance upon imprisonment.

    • Engages with one of the most central questions in the sociology of punishment - why prison?
    • Brings together some of the leading contemporary writers in penology in one volume
    • Presents cutting-edge analysis which will help to shape the agenda for future developments in the field
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Finally, David Scott's edited collection Why Prison? will have the most relevance to prison practitioners and will also have the broadest appeal. It offers an impressive array of leading scholars dissecting the emergence of global hyper-incarceration and strategies for change.' Jamie Bennett, Prison Service Journal

    'This collection of exceptional scholarship reflects a critical juncture in penal reform that moves the discourse beyond that of mass incarceration. The contributing authors and their research on the inefficacy of incarceration make a compelling case for penal reform. A truly innovative, thought-provoking and engaging text, Why Prison? unearths seldom-considered lines of enquiry rather than merely following the well-worn paths that have been previously pursued by penological scholars. In sum, editor Scott and colleagues have done a superb job of providing readers with a profound opportunity to participate in a creative and comprehensive conversation about one of the essential social questions of our time: 'why prison?'' H. Bennett Wilcox III, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107030749
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 145 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.71kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword: on stemming the tide Thomas Mathiesen
    1. Why prison? Posing the question David Scott
    2. Prisons and social structure in late-capitalist societies Alessandro De Giorgi
    3. The prison paradox in neoliberal Britain Emma Bell
    4. Crafting the neoliberal state: workfare, prisonfare, and social insecurity Loïc Wacquant
    5. Pleasure, punishment and the professional middle class Magnus Hörnqvist
    6. Penal spectatorship and the culture of punishment Michelle Brown
    7. Prison and the public sphere: toward a democratic theory of penal order Vanessa Barker
    8. The iron cage of prison studies Mark Brown
    9. The prison and national identity: citizenship, punishment and the sovereign state Emma Kaufman and Mary Bosworth
    10. Punishing the detritus and the damned: penal and semi-penal institutions in Liverpool Vickie Cooper and Joe Sim
    11. Why prison? Incarceration and the great recession Keally McBride
    12. Ghosts of the past, present, and future of penal reform in the United States Marie Gottschalk
    13. Schooling the carceral state: challenging the school to prison pipeline Erica Meiners
    14. Why no prisons? Julia Oparah
    15. Unequalled in pain David Scott.

  • Editor

    David Scott, Liverpool John Moores University
    David Scott is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the School of Education and Social Science, University of Central Lancashire.


    Thomas Mathiesen, David Scott, Alessandro De Giorgi, Emma Bell, Loïc Wacquant, Magnus Hörnqvist, Michelle Brown, Vanessa Barker, Mark Brown, Emma Kaufman, Mary Bosworth, Vickie Cooper, Joe Sim, Keally McBride, Marie Gottschalk, Erica Meiners, Julia Oparah

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