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Sociology professor awarded for outstanding achievement by British Society of Criminology

Professor Stan Cohen of the London School of Economics and Political Science has been awarded the British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award.  

Photograph of Professor Stan CohenThe award is a new prize, introduced this year, to celebrate outstanding contributions to the discipline by member of the British Society of Criminology. Stanley Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at LSE, is being honoured for his contributions over the last four decades, which have consistently proved to be reference points in the development of criminology.

Among Professor Cohen's notable achievements are his publications Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Visions of Social Control and States of Denial, all of which proved hugely influential and enhanced the discipline's interests on the national and international stage.

Cover of Folk Devils and Moral PanicPossibly his most famous work remains Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), the central concepts of which have proved so influential as to have made the transition from academia into popular usage. Visions of Social Control (1985) is a rich source for the explication of ideas such as 'net-widening' and 'mesh-thinning' which remain among the most cited concepts in the critical literature on the criminal justice system. And with States of Denial (2001), he interrogated the notion of being 'in denial' with such precision that it is now impossible to seriously write about neutralisations and rationalisations, genocide and other atrocities, without reference to that work.

Dr Anne Brunton, director of the British Society of Criminology, said: 'Professor Cohen's publications have the great quality of being universally relevant for our discipline - to the point that it is difficult to imagine what sub-field of criminology one might be working in and not find it useful or interesting to read Cohen. Many of the Society's members have learned their trade in no small part by reading and discussing Stan's work, and we are very pleased to be able to thank him for that through this prize.'

Professor Stan Cohen is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at LSE. His latest book, States of Denial: knowing about atrocities and suffering deals with public reactions to information, images and appeals about inhumanities. He received the Sellin-Glueck Award of the American Society of Criminology (1985) and is on the Board of the International Council on Human Rights. In 1987, he was elected as a member of the British Academy.

Professor Cohen's current work includes follow-up research to his book on Denial; a study of how Truth Commissions create collective memory and an international project on "crime, order and security" as a human rights problem. He has written a 30 year review of his concept of "moral panics" for a new edition of Folk Devils and Moral Panics and is editing (with Tom Blomberg) a new edition of Punishment and Social Control.

Professor Judy Wajcman, Head of the Sociology Department at LSE, said: 'Stan Cohen's work has influenced a generation of sociologists and helped shape the discipline today. Many congratulations to Stan for this well deserved award.'

Professor Cohen will be presented the award at the opening plenary of the Society's annual conference in Cardiff on 29 June.


For further information please contact:

Dr Anne Brunton (director@britsoccrim.org)
Or the LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060, pressoffice@lse.ac.uk

4 June 2009