Sociology of Punishment

The sociology of punishment seeks to understand why and how we punish; the general justifying aim of punishment and the principle of distribution. Punishment involves the intentional infliction of pain and/or the deprivation of rights and liberties. Sociologists of punishment usually examine state-sanctioned acts in relation to law-breaking; why, for instance, citizens give consent to the legitimation of acts of violence.

Two of the most common political and ethical motivations for formal punishment are utilitarianism and retributivism. Both these concepts have been articulated by law-makers and law-enforcers, but may be seen as descriptive rather than explanative. Sociologists note that although attempts of justification are made in terms of these principles, this does not fully explain why violent punitive acts occur. Social psychology and symbolic interactionism often inform theory and method in this area.

Read more about Sociology Of Punishment:  Retributivism, Utilitarianism, Marxist Theories of Punishment, See Also

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