chapter  3
18 Pages

The punishment mentality and coercive technologies

In Chapter 2 we suggested that the punishment mentality is focused primarily, though by no means exclusively, on past events, emphasises coercive physical force, involves direct governance through the state and consists of an imposed process prescribed through general rules. Cohen’s account of ‘the punitive style of control’ reflects this view:

. . . it entails the infliction of pain (loss, harm, suffering); it must always identify an individual held responsible for the breaking of abstract rules (notably legal rules); it is moralistic in essence; it is coercive rather than voluntary and (an important feature to which we will return) it involves the transfer of social control functions to a third party – that is, the deviance or conflict is removed from the parties concerned (for example, victim and offender) and handed over to a specialised agency (usually the state’s criminal justice system).