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Risk, responsibility and reconfiguration : penal adaptation and misadaptation

McNeil, Fergus and Burns, Nicola and Halliday, Simon and Hutton, Neil and Tata, Cyrus (2009) Risk, responsibility and reconfiguration : penal adaptation and misadaptation. Punishment and Society, 11 (4). pp. 419-442. ISSN 1462-4745

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Abstract

This article draws on the findings of an ethnographic study of social enquiry and sentencing in the Scottish courts. It explores the nature of the practice of social enquiry (that is, of social workers preparing reports to assist sentencers) and explores the extent to which this practice is being reconfigured in line with the recent accounts of penal transformation. In so doing, we problematize and explore what we term the ‘governmentality gap’; meaning, a lacuna in the existing penological scholarship which concerns the contingent relationships between changing governmental rationalities and technologies on the one hand and the construction of penality-in-practice on the other. The findings suggest that although policy discourses have, in many respects, changed in the way that these accounts elucidate and anticipate, evidence of changes in penal discourses and practices is much more partial. Drawing on Bourdieu, we suggest that this may be best understood not as a counter-example to accounts of penal transformation but as evidence of an incompleteness in their analyses which reflects the ‘governmentality gap’ and requires the development of more fully cultural penology drawing on ethnographies of penality.

Item type: Article
ID code: 17862
Keywords: risk, sentencing, criminal justice, probation, pre-sentence investigation, social enquiry, social inquiry, Penology, punish, criminal justice social workers, scotland, Scottish, Penology. Prisons. Correction, Criminal justice administration, Social Sciences (miscellaneous), Law
Subjects: Social Sciences > Social pathology. Social and public welfare > Penology. Prisons. Correction
Social Sciences > Social pathology. Social and public welfare > Criminal justice administration
Department: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Law > Law
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Strathprints Administrator
    Date Deposited: 06 May 2010 10:21
    Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 04:00
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/17862

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