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Prisons, Punishment and Penology

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr David Scott (The Open University) explores key philosophical and sociological approaches to prisons, punishment and penology. In the first lecture, we introduce some key areas of interest within penology, looking especially at moral justifications for punishment. In the second lecture, we consider the classical philosophical approaches of Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, and William Godwin. In the third lecture, we think about Émile Durkheim’s sociological work on punishment. Next, we think about the Marxist approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer. In the fifth lecture, we examine Michel Foucault’s influential account of the emergence of the prison in modern capitalist society. In the sixth and final lecture, we explore some contemporary penological debates.

About the Lecturer

Dr David Scott works at the Open University. He researches and teaches on prisons, penal abolitionism and the sociology and philosophy of punishment. His publications include For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics (2020), Against Imprisonment: An Anthology of Abolitionist Essays (2018), and, with Nick Flynn, Prisons and Punishment: The Essentials (2014).