modernity and late modernity

modernity and late modernity - From Modernity to Late...

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From Modernity to Late Modernity The Modern Era Modernity is regarded in criminal justice terms at least as that period in the history of western societies that began with the end of the middle ages and which began to draw to a close at the end of the 20 th century. It is closely associated with intellectual developments in the arts, philosophy and sciences that emerged generally within the early 18 th century and which are identified as the Enlightenment. Concepts such as the autonomy of reason, the perfectibility and progress of mankind, confidence in the ability to discover causality principles governing nature and an assault on arbitrary royal and governmental authority were features of this period associated with the writings of Rousseau, Voltaire and Hume (Hampson 1968). One of the defining processes of modernity, in the view of Garland (2001, pp. 29-30) and others (e.g. Foucault 1977) was the evolution of the assumption by the state (initially the monarch, later representative government) of the control and prosecution of crime, rather than local communities and individuals fulfilling this function, as had been the case in earlier societies. For example, Garland discusses Thomas Hobbes (p.30) and his notion of the late 17 th century ‘Leviathan State’ which ‘quelled disputing factions’ to promote social order as part of the ‘social contract’. Hobbes’ thesis may be seen as describing the decline of the absolute monarch and the emergence of representative forms of government. Garland regards this as a process that continued and developed throughout the 18 th and 19 th centuries in western societies; a process regarded rather uncritically until the last quarter of the 20 th century. This witnessed the development of a penal policy that sought not to crush deviant behaviour to demonstrate a monarch’s or state’s sovereign power, but came rather to aim to include and normalise deviant individuals into conformity. It was first realised in the growth of imprisonment, but later came to employ such devices as the probation order and other ‘community’ disposals. For Bottoms (1995, p.42) this change mirrored other wider social developments, which witnessed the drawing of the mass working class into the body politic as a way of normalising and including them in civil society, something that was necessary for the stable continuation and development of capitalism. As the 19 th century ended and the 20 th century began, modernity was exemplified by the emergence of a penal policy that Garland describes as ‘penal welfarism’ (2001, p. 3). He uses this term to describe the system of bureaucratic control of prisons and non-custodial sanctions, where policy was driven by professionals, largely away from the view of the general public. Whilst the use of prison was seen as necessary, there was a tendency to try
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modernity and late modernity - From Modernity to Late...

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