Degrees of Estrangement: The Cultural Theory of Risk and Comparative Penology

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Abstract

We can accept that risk is a key idea in understanding contemporary penality—but which constructions of risk are most compelling? Moreover, how does risk-based practice intersect with other structuring principles of penal systems and penal politics? I compare and contrast the views of Feeley and Simon (1992) and of Mary Douglas's `cultural theory' (Douglas, 1992), and conclude that among the attractions of the latter are its orientation towards comparative empirical inquiry and its understanding of the notion of `political culture'. I conclude with some reflections on the comparative penological work in a period marked by both globalizing and particularizing trends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-76
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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