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Clark University Home > Academic Catalog

Clark University    
  Nov 24, 2017
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

SOC 272 - Punishment, Politics and Culture

In the past forty years the purposes and practices of punishment in the U.S. have changed dramatically, becoming increasingly harsh (death penalty, three strikes, supermax prisons)and retributive (abandonment of all rehabilitation efforts)and far reaching (over 2 million Americans are in prison or jail). These changes represent a near-complete and rapid reversal of fairly long-term trends in penal justice in the U.S. This course will explore what factors-political, cultural, demographic, technological - changed crime from a remote possibility in the minds of most Americans to a defining concern of Americans. Why, despite similar experiences of modernity, are European democracies characterized by such different cultures of control? In what ways, do our penal practices reflect and reinforce major social divisions - of race, ethnicity, gender, and class? What are the effects of such a transformation on the economy, the family, community, schools, and our ideals of justice? In short, what do our penal practices reveal about late twentieth century American culture, social structure and politics?

Prerequisites: (Prerequisites: SOC 262  or SOC 263 , Permission only

Anticipated Terms Offered: Offered periodically