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Mannheim Matters - March 2013 Edition


News and Notes

Welcome to the March Newsletter. This features the appreciation that David Downes wrote of Stan Cohen our friend and colleague who sadly died at the beginning of this year. There have been many wonderful tributes and the Mannheim Centre recognises his tremendous contribution  to Criminology, his humanity and great  warmth.

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In Memory of Professor Stan Cohen

Members of the Mannheim Centre have been deeply saddened by the death of Stan Cohen on Monday 7 January. Stan was one of the most inspiring and original thinkers around the world in criminology and human rights. His writing and research in these fields began and ended at the London School of Economics. In 1963 he came to the Department of Sociology, following a training in social work  in South Africa, to pursue doctoral research into social responses to youthful delinquency. His Ph.D  thesis was to be the basis for his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), the study of social reactions  to Mods and Rockers, clashes between whom were taken,  for a time, as portents of social collapse. The term ‘moral panic’, with its connotations of melodrama and over-reaction to minor forms of deviance, and the coda that such responses can make things far worse, has entered the English language.


The second major phase of his work, co-authored with Laurie Taylor, began when he moved to Durham University and later to the University of Essex. Their study of the conditions and effects of long-term imprisonment in H Wing in Durham Prison, Psychological Survival (1972), led to consternation in the Home Office. That, and Prison Secrets (1976) on the lack of clear-cut rights in prison regimes, led onto Cohen’s celebrated ‘dispersal of control’ thesis. Drawing on the legacy of   Orwell as much as Foucault, he analysed the ever-extending reach of the state into everyday life. Visions of Social Control (1985) is a dystopian examination of how even benign reforms can be subverted to ever more penetrating controls. Against Criminology (1988) collects articles and papers united by his preference for criminology as a ‘sceptical’ sociology of crime, deviance and control rather than a statistically formulated correctionalism. 


The third and final phase is in many ways his most important contribution to advanced social thought. States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (2001) combines his rich expertise in criminology with his concern for human rights, generated by growing up in apartheid South Africa and sharpened by his experience of living in Israel  from 1980-94, after which he returned to London. While there is no truth whatsoever in the assertion that he was driven out of Israel for pursuing anti-Zionist policies, he was a consistent and vocal critic of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and their cause. Particular insights flowed from his skill in applying criminological theories, such as Sykes and Matza’s  ‘techniques of neutralisation’ (1957) to the denial of repression and atrocities by governments and state officialdom. The notion of ‘torture-lite’ burgeoned in such rationalisations: “The equivalent of ‘you can’t call this stealing’ is ‘you can’t call this torture’” (States of Denial: 77).


Stan Cohen made seminal contributions not only to the study of crime, deviance and control but also to human rights. He was a founder member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the LSE, as well as the most prominent member of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice. Generations of students testify to the warmth and humour, as well as the sheer range and scholarly sophistication of his teaching. He was a great exponent of the Socratic method, urging students to think for themselves and not simply to absorb received opinion. Fortunately, his work has already proved highly durable, and future generations can at least test their sense of reality against the standards he set. One of his idiosyncrasies was to have postcard sized photos of people whose work he held in the highest regard, which included George Orwell, Nelson Mandela and Samuel Beckett.


We can well imagine him among them.


Professor David Downes



The Scottish Institute for Policing Research By Nick Fyfe


Established in 2007,  the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) is a strategic collaboration between twelve of Scotland’s universities and the Scottish police service which, from  the 1st April 2013, is now known as Police Scotland and is the new national police force that has replaced the eight regional forces.  SIPR is supported by investment from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the participating universities.   Our key aims are:


  • ·     To undertake high quality, independent research of relevance to policing;

  • ·     To support knowledge exchange between researchers and practitioners and improve the research evidence base for policing policy and practice;

  • ·     To expand and develop the research capacity in Scotland’s universities and the police service;

  • ·     To promote the development of national and international links with  researcher, practitioner and policy communities;


SIPR is an interdisciplinary institute which brings together researchers from the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences around three broad thematic networks:


      Police-Community Relations which focuses on the relationships between the police and   different        socio-economic and geographical communities


      Evidence & Investigation which focuses on the role of the police in the recovery, interpretation and effective use of intelligence and evidence in the investigation of crime;


      Police Organisation which focuses on issues of management, structure and leadership within the police.


Within each of these networks, we promote a collaborative approach to research that involves academics and practitioners working together in the creation, sharing and application of knowledge about policing.   Our activities are coordinated by an Executive Committee comprising academic researchers and chief police officers and we are accountable to a Board of Governance which includes the Principals of the 12 universities and Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland. 


Within Scotland we engage in joint projects with colleagues in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research while at an international level  SIPR is a founding member of  EPIC (the European Police research Institutes Collaboration) and has strong links with the European Academy of Forensic Science, the European Society of Criminology Working Group on Policing and the Censer for Evidence Based Crime Policy at George Mason University in Washington DC.  Since we were established in 2007 our key achievements  include:


  • The award of over £6 million in research grant income to academics in the participating universities for policing and security related research;

  • Supporting the development of a postgraduate community which now numbers over 50 students studying for PhDs on policing topics;

  • Establishing a postgraduate programme in policing aimed at police practitioners;

  • An award-winning partnership with the Scottish Police College for the delivery of a professional development programme;

  • Investing in a dynamic knowledge exchange programme that includes holding over 80 events attended by more than 4000 people.


Further information about SIPR is available from its website (www.sipr.ac.uk) or please contact SIPR’s Director, Professor Nick Fyfe (n.r.fyfe@dundee.ac.uk) Tel.: 01382 384425.



The Mannheim Centre is delighted to be able to welcome back Professor Niki Lacey who will be returning to LSE holding a joint position across Gender Studies, the Department of Law and Department of Social Policy. Her  research is in criminal law and criminal justice, with a particular focus on comparative and historical scholarship. Over the last few years, she has been working on the development of ideas of criminal responsibility in England since the 18th Century, and on the comparative political economy of punishment. Her current project is an historical study combining analysis of penal policies with analysis of practices of legal responsibility-attribution in selected areas of criminalisation, framing these issues within a broad comparative political economy of crime and control. Niki also has research interests in legal and social theory, in feminist analysis of law, in law and literature, and in biography

 Professor David Nelken  has been honoured as the 2013 laureate of the Association for Law and Society International Prize. The citation reads

‘The Committee has decided that your outstanding record of publications in sociology of law, comparative law, criminal comparative law, judiciaries, and law and society theory, along a glorious and path breaking career as a scholar of law and society makes you one of the most distinguished international scholars of law and society ever'.


Our hearty congratulations to David and we wish him well when collecting his well deserved prize at the annual conference in Boston at the end of May.

David's work has been recognised previously as he was the recipient of an American Sociological Association distinguished scholar award in 1985 and the American Criminology Society's Sellin-Glueck award in 2009.




Professor Tim Newburn  gave a keynote address  on his on-going research ‘Reading the Riots’, investigating the events of August 2011 at The Theory and Methods in Criminological Research: A Postgraduate Conference 19th  December 2012 held in Cardiff.

Tim's recent publications include:

Newburn, Tim, (ed.) (2013) Criminology. Routledge, Abingdon, UK. ISBN 9780415628938


Newburn, Tim (2013) This is not quite the death knell for the probation service, but it is certainly the most radical change it has ever seen. Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science

Newburn, Tim (2013) Combining journalism with academia: how to read a riot. Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science

Post Graduate Update

 Jennifer Brown ran a workshop for the two Griffins fellows in qualitative research methods on 10th April. Rosie Miles is looking at women's experiences of restorative justice and Sue Jordan the reasons for women engaging with or breaching community sentences.


Congratulations to Daniel Bear who  won 'Best Presentation' at the Cardiff Theory and Methods in Criminological Research  Postgraduate conference for his paper entitled , "Déjà vu All Over Again: Using Digital Ethnographic Methods to Enhance Fieldwork and Analysis". Daniel won  a £50 Amazon voucher for getting up and talking about his work.  His comment “I love my job!" 


Recent Events

Joint Mannheim/BSC Seminar

13th March


Ros Burnett, Oxford University took the perspective of the person accused in  false allegations of abuse in positions of trust


Ros  obtained her doctorate in Social Psychology from the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford and, before entering academia, was a probation officer and relationship counsellor.  Her publications include: Fitting Supervision to Offenders (1996), Joined-up Youth Justice (with Catherine Appleton, 2003) What Works in Probation and Youth Justice (co-edited with Colin Roberts, 2004). Prisoners as Citizens' Advisers (with Shadd Maruna, 2004) and Reducing Re-offending: Key Practice Skills (with McNeill and Bachelor, 2005). Studies during the last two years have focused on organisational change in probation and prisons, including an investigation of the implications of NOMS for practice by prison officers, supported by a British Academy award. She is currently working as a Consultant to the Barrow Cadbury Trust in its development and promotion of linked services for, a neglected group, young adults (aged 18-24 years) in the criminal justice system.

What if..20th March 

Why some countries seem to be able to cope with fewer prisoners: what could be done to do the same?

 By Dr Tapio Lappi-Seppälä

Director, National Research Institute of Legal Policy, Finland


 The paper  discussed the following issues in the light of Nordic experiences and cross-comparative evidence from a large sample of European countries.


1. What characterises low imprisonment countries and high imprisonment countries in terms of political cultures, welfare and social policy, public sentiments and trust? How do these basic “drivers of penal policy” interact and relate to each other, how and why are they conductive to different forms of penal practices.


2. Is tough penal policy necessary and/or workable in order to maintain confidence and the credibility of the criminal justice system; does punitivity produce confidence, or does trust enable to conduct less punitive penal/social practices, and if so, why?


3. Which dimensions are essential when discussing “punitivity”? What is the role and relevance of imprisonment compared to other dimensions of systemic punitivity; how systemic and attitudinal punitivity relate and interact; do both dimensions of punitivity originate from the same sources; do high imprisonment countries display also other type of punitive practices?


4. The role of crime: To what extent does crime explain differences in the extent of imprisonment; to what extent do differences in prison policies explain differences in crime?


5. The role of penal reform: How and through which practical means Nordic countries have been able to reduce or moderate the scale imprisonment?


Hermann Mannheim quote of the month

“The crisis in values which confronts the criminal law of today is by no means of recent origin....To a greater or smaller extent, in every country the criminal law has in essential parts become out of date. Instead of being a living organism, supported by the confidence of all sections of the community and developing according to the practical and ideological needs of the time, it presents itself as a petrified body, unable to cope with the endless variety of problems created by an ever changing world and kept alive mainly by the tradition, habit and inertia.

Mannheim. H. (1946) Criminal justice and social reconstruction. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co.. p3.

From The Archives

Cartoon showing John Bull shaking hands with a Japanese soldier, against the Union Flag and Japanese flag, with a packet marked 'Alliance' at their feet. Whilst there may a resemblance to one D. Cameron, I am not sure I recognise N. Clegg anywhere  in this Coalition.






Archive ref:


We hope that you had a restful Easter break and are ready for the New Term. Spring is supposedly on its way although with all the rain even the donkeys at the end our my road won't come out as their field was completely inundated. Still since the vet put them on a diet because the villagers were feeding them too much, it is an opportunity for them to slim down!
Mannheim/BSC Seminar

Mannheim/BSC Wednesday Seminar                    

15 May 2013,London School of Economics, KSW 1.04 (Please note new venue) 6.15-8.00pm

Public protection 

Mike Nash

University of Portsmouth
Specialty Seminar
Why are the Truly Disadvantaged American, when the UK is Bad Enough?: Political economy, local autonomy and the path from education to employment’

 By Professor Nicola Lacey (All Souls College, Oxford)

Professor David Soskice School Professor of Political Science and Economics at LSE


The discussants: Professors David Downes, Tim Newburn and Robert Reiner (LSE).


The Seminar will be on 5 June, between 5-8 pm., in the Moot Court Room, 7th Floor, New Academic Building, Lincolns Inn Fields, LSE.


As numbers are limited please can you let Jennifer Brown know whether you would like to attend this seminar





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