Punishment and Imprisonment in Contemporary Society
General Catalog Course Title:
Punishment and Imprisonment in Contemporary Society
Terms Offered:
Spring 2013

 This course is a selective inquiry into punishment as a social institution standing at the crossroads of (i) social inequality and solidarity, (ii) authority and the state, (iii) economy and the labor market, and (iv) culture and morality. We first outline the major theoretical approaches to penalty derived from Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Jeremy Bentham, Max Weber, Norbert Elias and Michel Foucault, as well as from positivist, functionalist, and interactionist criminologies. We draw on these conceptual resources to examine imprisonment as the preeminent form of punishment in modern society and to probe the social causes, functions, and consequences of the turn to hyperincarceration made by the United States in the post-Civil rights era and of the widening of the “penal net” in other advanced societies after the breakup of the Keynesian-Fordist social compact.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.