Constructing the Durable Penal Agent: Tracing the Development of Habitus Within English Probation Officers and Scottish Criminal Justice Social Workers

Scott Grant

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)
    53 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    In contrast to prison personnel, practice cultures of penal agents charged with delivering 'community punishment' are surprisingly under-researched. Recent evidence from Scotland and England suggests that community-based penal agents demonstrate strong capacities for resistance against state-level punitive discourse. This indicates that despite several turns in penal policy, successive UK Governments have failed to produce tougher systems of community punishment as intended. By deploying Bourdieu's conceptual tools of habitus and field, and referring to evidence from empirical studies, this article will attempt to show that penal agents possess durable and deeply embedded dispositions that not only protect them from punitive field conditions, but also guide and underpin their everyday practice with offenders. By doing so, this article offers a conceptual starting point for an emerging sociology of community punishment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)750-768
    Number of pages19
    JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
    Volume56
    Issue number4
    Early online date27 Jul 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

    Keywords

    • Bourdieu
    • Community punishment
    • Criminal justice social work
    • Habitus
    • Probation

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