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3. Émile Durkheim and the Sociology of Punishment
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Émile Durkheim’s sociological approach to punishment, focusing particularly on: (i) Durkheim’s understanding of punishment as a means of maintaining moral boundaries and upholding social cohesion; (ii) his notion of crime and deviance as social constructions, and his argument that deviance is necessary to achieve social change; (iii) his interest in the relationship between social change and penal change, through his work on the forms of punishment which predominate in primitive and advanced societies; (iv) the similarities and differences between Durkheim and the abolitionist thinker Peter Kropotkin.
In this course, Dr David Scott (The Open University) explores key philosophical and sociological approaches to prisons, punishment and penology. In the first module, we introduce some key areas of interest within penology, looking especially at moral justifications for punishment. In the second, we consider the classical philosophical approaches of Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, and William Godwin. In the third module, we think about Émile Durkheim’s sociological work on punishment, before turning in the fourth to the Marxist approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer. In the fifth module, we examine Michel Foucault’s influential account of the emergence of the prison in modern capitalist society, and in the final module we explore some contemporary penological debates.
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).
Cite this Lecture
Scott, D. (2021, August 24). Prisons, Punishment and Penology - Émile Durkheim and the Sociology of Punishment [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/prisons-punishment-and-penology/emile-durkheim-and-the-sociology-of-punishment
Scott, David. "Prisons, Punishment and Penology – Émile Durkheim and the Sociology of Punishment." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/prisons-punishment-and-penology/emile-durkheim-and-the-sociology-of-punishment