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'A Punishment More Bitter Than Death'

Dirck Coornhert's Boeven-tucht and the Rise of Discipline

Roger Deacon

Dirck Coornhert (1522-90) was a Dutch humanist whose seminal 1587 book, Boeven-tucht, redefined issues of poverty, charity, development and crime. A transitionary document, Boeven-tucht lies on the cusp of what Michel Foucault called the 'great confinement', which took place between about 1600 and 1750 and which was the common response by local and national authorities to the social disorder concomitant upon population expansion, a widening gap between rich and poor, religious discord and war. Inspired by Boeventucht, the Amsterdam Rasphuis and Spinhuis were the European prototypes of houses of correction which sprang up all over Europe, intended to apply 'a punishment more bitter than death' to all 'criminal idlers'. This introduction to the first-ever English translation of Boeven-tucht situates Coornhert's text in the space between unmediated absolutist sovereignty and full-blown modern discipline, when disciplinary techniques were as yet only gradually emerging from the monasteries and lay fraternities in which they had been incubated, and before they spread into all facets of modern society.

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Corporal Punishment in Japan

One Path to Positive Anthropological Activism

Aaron L. Miller

anthropologist, and by sharing my experiences researching the controversial issue of corporal punishment in Japan. Based on these experiences, I believe that the field of anthropology will fade into the shadows of irrelevance unless we can find a way to interpret

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To Punish or to Forgive?

Responding to Dirty Hands in Politics

Cristina Roadevin

-hands problem in politics and sketch out Walzer's argument for the claim that we all need to address the wrong involved in a dirty-hands act. In Section 2, I criticise his solution to how citizens should respond to dirty acts and argue that punishment is

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The Queer Death of the Hanged Dog

The 1677 Execution of Mary Higgs’ Mongrel

Jennifer Lodine-Chaffey

, and those writing about these spectacular punishments, the meaning of capital punishment was fraught with contradiction. 1 Yet, as P. J. Klemp notes, the execution itself usually functioned in predictable ways, with the condemned providing a final or

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Pathologizing Latinas

Racialized Girlhood, Behavioral Diagnosis, and California's Foster Care System

Isabella C. Restrepo

criminology studies, girls’ experience with this has only recently become part of the conversation. 4 Boys, prior to their official entry into the penal system, were “caught … in a spiral of hypercriminalization and punishment. The cycle … began as they were

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War, Memory, and Punishment in Russia

Two Heldt Prize Winners

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

Judith Pallot and Laura Piacentini, with the assistance of Dominique Moran, Gender, Geography, and Punishment: The Experience of Women in Carceral Russia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 290 pp., $99.00 (hb), ISBN 978-0-19965-861-9.

Karen Petrone, The Great War in Russian Memory, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011, 385 pp., $39.95 (hb), ISBN 978-0-25335-617-8.

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Victimización en México

Un análisis de equilibrio general

Sandra Edith Medellín Mendoza and Joana Cecilia Chapa Cantú

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: There exists few studies on Mexico related to research of the factors involved in the decision-making process of individuals when choosing whether to be a law-abiding citizen or a criminal. From the perspective of members of criminal markets—i.e., victims, felons, and the government—this work explains under a general equilibrium model how the delinquency rate for felonies, such as theft, in the various Mexican states function as structural parameters for wages, taxes, police reliability, and legal penalties. The results suggest that, in an environment of low accusation and punishment, the only variable in this model which has a real effect in reducing crime are monetary penalties, due to the fact that the felon must face this kind of penalty once accused, captured, and jailed.

Spanish abstract: Existen pocos estudios para el caso mexicano donde se investiga cuáles son los factores que intervienen en la toma de decisiones de los individuos al elegir entre ser criminal o no. Desde la perspectiva de los integrantes del mercado del crimen, esto es, víctimas, delincuentes y gobierno, este trabajo explica bajo un modelo de equilibrio general, cómo responde la tasa de delincuencia para delitos como el robo de las entidades federativas mexicanas ante cambios en los parámetros estructurales como salarios, impuestos, productividad de la policía y las penas consideradas en el marco legal. Los resultados encontrados sugieren que en un contexto de bajas tasas de denuncia y castigo, la única variable de política que en el marco de este modelo tiene efecto para reducir el crimen son las penas monetarias, ya que estas las enfrenta el criminal una vez que es denunciado, capturado y encarcelado.

French abstract: Rares sont les études au Mexique qui s'interrogent sur les facteurs liés au processus de prise de décision chez les individus concernant leur choix de devenir ou non des criminels. Fondé sur les opinions des agents du crime organisé, dont les victimes, les criminels et le gouvernement, cet article analyse sur la base d'un modèle d'équilibre général, la manière dont le taux de délinquance, à l'instar des détournements des fonds publics dans des régions mexicaines, réagit aux changement des paramètres structurels tels que les salaires, les impôts, l'efficience de la police et la fiabilité des sanctions dans le cadre juridique. Les résultats suggèrent que dans un contexte pareil marqué par un faible taux de plaintes et de sanctions, la seule variable de politiques susceptibles de réduire efficacement la criminalité, sont les sanctions pécuniaires, auxquelles les criminels seraient systématiquement confrontés en cas de dénonciation, d'arrestation ou d'emprisonnement.

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Chaos in Siberia

New Scholarship on Exile in the Late Russian Empire

Jeffrey S. Hardy

. … Why? Because they had determined that to exile a man from Russia as God had exiled Adam from Eden was insufficient as a punishment; for in another country, a man might immerse himself in his labors, build a house, raise a family. That is, he might

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Concerning Durkheim's 1899 Lecture ‘On Penal Sanctions’

Introduction, Translation Notes, and Comments

Ronjon Paul Datta and François Pizarro Noël

, sanctions, his main departure point. He dissects the limitations of approaches to law, morality, and penality that emphasize the intentions of legislators or the effects of punishment on the subject (e.g., suffering). The sociological alternative to this

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Flavien Bertran de Balanda and Matthieu Béra


This article examines how the counter-revolutionary writer Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821) theorizes the notion of sacrifice. For de Maistre sacrifice understood as punishment is foundational to all societies. Durkheim used many of this author's works without citing them. At the time Durkheim was teaching his criminal sociology course on punishment and responsibility as well as preparing his course on religion dealing with ‘revelation’. It is possible to explain his interests by the fact that de Maistre appears in Durkheim's core readings for theoretical ‘juncture’ that featured authors concerned with the articulation between questions of penal law and of religious phenomena. This provides additional evidence that for Durkheim religion is at the origin of the definition of the crime and of the establishment of the punishment.


Cet article examine comment l'essayiste contre-révolutionnaire Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821) théorise la notion de sacrifice: pour lui, le sacrifice est compris comme une peine et il est à l'origine de toutes les sociétés. Or Durkheim fit usage de plusieurs de ses livres sans jamais les citer. Alors qu'il dispensait son cours de sociologie criminelle sur la peine et la responsabilité, et préparait sans doute aussi le cours sur la religion, dit ‘de la révélation’, il emprunta l'essai sur le sacrifice de de Maistre. On peut expliquer cet intérêt par le fait que De Maistre fait partie des lectures spéciales de ‘charnière’ théorique, qui renvoient à des auteurs se situant à l'articulation des questions de droit pénal et des phénomènes religieux repérés par Durkheim. On peut aussi, en conséquence, y voir une preuve de plus que, pour Durkheim, la religion est à l'origine de la définition du crime et de l'établissement de la peine.