Visions of Social ControlCrime, Punishment and Classification
Visions of Social Control
Crime, Punishment and Classification
Visions of Social Control is a wide ranging analysis of recent shifts in ideas and practices for dealing with crime and delinquency.
In Great Britain, North America and Western Europe, the 1960's saw new theories and styles of social control which seemed to undermine the whole basis of the established system. Such slogans as 'decarceration' and 'division' radically changed the dominance of the prison, the power of professionals and the crime-control system itself.

Stanley Cohen traces the historical roots of these apparent changes and reforms, demonstrates in detail their often paradoxical results and speculates on the whole future of social control in Western societies. He has produced an entirely original synthesis of the original literature as well as an introductory guide to the major theoreticians of social control, such as David Rothman and Michael Foucault. This is not just a book for the specialist in criminology, social problems and the sociology of deviance but raises a whole range of issues of much wider interest to the social sciences. A concluding chapter on the practical and policy implications of the analysis is of special relevance to social workers and other practitioners.

This is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to make sense of the bewildering recent shifts in ideology and policy towards crime - and to understand the broader sociological implications of the study of social control.
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More Info
  • January 1991
  • 336 pages
  • 154 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Paperback $34.25
  • 9780745600215
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1

Something like a Definition 2

The Sociological Connection 4

What Follows 9

1 The Master Patterns 13

The Original Transformation 14

The Alleged Current Move: Destructing 30

First Doubts, Second Thought 36

2 Inside the System 40

Size and Density 43

Visibility, Ownership and Identity 56

Penetration and Absorption 76

Conclusion: The Emerging Patterns 83

3 Deposits of Power 87

Progress 90

Organizational Convenience 92

Ideological Contradiction 100

Professional Interest 101

Political Economy 102

Conclusion 112

4 Stories of Change 115

The Quest for Community 116

The Ideal of the Minimum State 127

The Return to Behaviorism 139

Conclusion: Telling Stories 155

5 The Professionals 161

Part of a ‘New Class’? 162

The Logic and Language of Control 167

Cognitive Passion 175

Towards the Classified Society 191

6 Visions of Order 197

The Dystopian Assumption 197

The City as Metaphor 205

Planning for Order 211

Maps and Territories 218

Conclusion: Domains of Control 230

7 What Is To Be Done? 236

The Intellectual as Adversary 239

Doing Good and Doing Justice 245

Inside the System – Again 254

Means and Ends 261

Exclusion and Inclusion – Again 266

Appendix: In Constructing a Glossary of Controltalk 273

Euphemism 276

Medicalism and Psychologism 278

Acronyms 279

Technobabble 280

Notes and References 282

Index 318

About the Author
Stanley Cohen is at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of numerous books, including Visions of Social Control (Polity, 1985), Folk Devils and Moral Panics:The Creation of the Mods and Rockers (1980), Against Criminology (1988) and Psychological Survival: The Experience of Long Term Imprisonment (1973).
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"A major achievement ... in range and in analysis it is quite the best thing to have appeared in the area for many years."

Sociological Review

"A model worthy of emulation and a challenge to all, regardless of theoretical, methodological or ideological persuasion."

American Journal of Sociology

"A rich, provocative, and at times brilliant analysis of social control, punishment and classification. Cohen's use of historical, theoretical and empirical description, his unique vision and objective argumentation, and his compassion and involvement with the issues make this an essential text for anyone interested in social control... Cohen has permanently broadened and illuminated the discourse in this field."

Law and Society Review

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