Canadian Journal of Sociology Online March - April 2003
David Garland. The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society.
University of Chicago Press, 2001, 320 pp. $US 30 hardcover (0-226-28383-6) With the publication of The Culture of Control David Garland has once again demonstrated why he is one of today’s pre-eminent Criminologists. The author’s goal is to present a‘history of the present’ of penological developments in the United States and Britain during the ‘late modern’ period. Through meticulous attention to detail reminiscent of Michel Foucault and through a plethora of examples expertly used to buoy his claims, Garland has masterfully achieved his objective. Written in very accessible prose, Garland’s latest contribution deserves, and no doubt willreceive, a wide readership. The Culture of Control presents a complex argument about the rise of a schizophrenic crime control complex that Garland argues is characteristic of late modern penality. In highlighting how justice policies on both sides of the Atlantic took their contemporary shape, Garland’s book makes a significant contribution to debates on the rise of punitiveness in contemporaryWestern nations (Beckett 1997, Newburn 2002, Simon 2001), the contradictory nature of 21st century justice policy (O’Malley 1999) and the political interests knotted within this process (Hogeveen and Smandych 2001, Campbell, Dufresne and Maclure 2001, Goldson 2002). Garland’s interrogation of the nuances distinguishing contemporary crime control policy from those that dominated for most of the 20thcentury is easily one of the most ambitious and comprehensive to date. Throughout the book Garland is careful not to argue that the changes he sees in late 20th century American and British justice policy signal the end of modernity and the blossoming of post modernity. Instead, he suggests that recent crime control initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic represent a ‘reconfigured complex ofinterlocking structures and strategies that are themselves composed of old and new elements, the old revised and reoriented by a new operation context’ (23). Recent developments in penality, however, are marked in sharp contrast with post WW II programmes. Distinguished by a commitment to community based solutions to the crime problem, rehabilitating offenders, indeterminate sentences and creatingtailor made solutions to each deviant’s unique qualities, Garland argues that ‘penal welfarism’ that characterized criminal justice practice from the 1890s to the 1970s has been increasingly dismantled. As a result of significant societal and economic changes, Garland suggests that the new politics of crime control are socially and culturally conditioned and have become increasingly more expressive andinstrumental (139). He suggests that contemporary justice policy is bifurcated by an adaptive strategy characterized by community partnership and a sovereign state strategy that stresses coercive control of offenders. According to Garland this divide emerged when high crime rates became normal, the rehabilitative ideal fell out of favour, and the penal welfare complex failed to protect the publicfrom the risks associated with crime (141). Garland argues that in contrast to ‘penal welfarism,’ contemporary crime control policy can be distinguished by the (re)emergence of punitive sanctions and expressive justice, the return of the victim, and the politicization of crime issues. One of Garland’s most remarkable observations concerns the reinvention of the prison. Suggesting that Westernnations possess high rates of imprisonment seems pedestrian. However, this was not always the case. Within the post-war penal welfare justice
seems pedestrian. However, this was not always the case. Within the post-war penal welfare justice
Canadian Journal of Sociology Online March - April 2003 Garland, Culture of Control - 2
complex prisons were in many ways considered schools for...
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