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Probation pp 245-261 | Cite as

Explaining Probation

  • Fergus McNeill
  • Gwen Robinson
Chapter

Abstract

Most of the contributions to this collection deal with questions about probation that have obvious and immediate practical importance not just for scholars and students of the subject but also for policymakers and practitioners—and even for the wider public. This chapter is a little different, though we would suggest that it is no less important. Here, our focus is on the question: ‘How we can best account for probation’s emergence and development as a penal institution and as a set of connected penal discourses and practices?’ In essence, we aim to set out some possible approaches to developing a sociological account of probation. This matters—and has real contemporary import—because if we fail to understand the social, cultural and political conditions which gave rise to and subsequently have shaped probation’s development, and how they have done so, then we will remain poorly placed to assess or affect its prospects. The evolution of policy and practice is always and everywhere profoundly affected, not just, for example, by arguments about technical effectiveness (and cost effectiveness) but also by the extent to which a given policy or practice proposal ‘fits’ with the zeitgeist or spirit of the times.

Keywords

Crime Control Probation Scholar Social Solidarity Penal System Disciplinary Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fergus McNeill
    • 1
  • Gwen Robinson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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