Punishment Essay

Good Essays

There are many explanations for what punishment characterises. For Emile Durkheim, punishment was mainly an expression of social solidarity and not a form of crime control. Here, the offender attacks the social moral order by committing a crime and therefore, has to be punished, to show that this moral order still "works". Durkheim's theory suggests that punishment must be visible to everyone, and so expresses the outrage of all members of society against the challenge to their collective values. The form of punishment changes between mechanic (torture, execution) and organic (prison) solidarity because the values of society change but the idea behind punishing, the essence, stays the same - keeping the moral order intact not …show more content…

Therefore, these social rules, customs and traditions all form a culture, which gives different societies their unique characteristic.

In relation to punishment, Durkheim's approach considers the importance of punishment for this social solidarity. Durkheim 's theory of punishment is a part of a bigger theory based on law, in The Division of Labour in Society (1960) which then developed into 'Two Laws of Penal Evolution' (1984)

In The Division of Labour in Society, Durkheim analyses the differences between modern industrial society and forms of society which went before it, and his main concern is to locate the sources and type of social solidarity - the common feelings customs and traditions that make people recognise themselves as part of the same society - in the modern industrial state. In Durkheim's view, a pre-industrial society consists of individuals carrying out the same tasks, or shared life experiences, with the exception of a few i.e. priests and rulers). There will therefore be solidarity based on similarity in shared beliefs, understandings and tradition. (Hudson, 1996,P2) This, as Durkheim calls it, is mechanic solidarity, where the shared rules and customs will function to keep society alive and up and running.

In comparison, if and when the

Get Access