Social solidarity, penal evolution and probation

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McNeill, Fergus ; Dawson, Matt (2014)

Compared to the sociology of the prison, the 'sociology of probation' has been much neglected. In Europe and the USA, that neglect is beginning to be addressed by a number of scholars, both empirically and conceptually. Where these scholars have looked to the founding figures in the sociology of punishment, they have tended to examine probation through a Foucauldian or Marxist lens. This paper takes a different direction, reexamining Durkheim’s ideas about social solidarity and penal evolution to try to offer some analytical resources for making sense of probation's historical development and contemporary struggles. In so doing, we hope to illustrate both the continuing value of Durkheimian analyses of penality and the need to extend Durkheimian analyses beyond the prison. More broadly, we aim to briefly illustrate and to stimulate new cultural analyses of probation’s historical emergence and contemporary adaptations.
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