Tracing the Relationship between Inequality, Crime and Punishment: Space, Time and Politics (OUP, 2021) is a new book edited by Nicola Lacey (LSE); David Soskice (LSE); Leonidas Cheliotis (LSE) and Sappho Xenakis (LSE).
The question of inequality has moved decisively to the top of the contemporary intellectual agenda. Going beyond Thomas Piketty's focus on wealth, increasing inequalities of various kinds, and their impact on social, political and economic life, now present themselves among the most urgent issues facing scholars in the humanities and the social sciences. Key among these is the relationship between inequality, crime and punishment. The propositions that social inequality shapes crime and punishment, and that crime and punishment themselves cause or exacerbate inequality, are conventional wisdom. Yet, paradoxically, they are also controversial.
In this volume, historians, criminologists, lawyers, sociologists and political scientists come together to try to solve this paradox by unpacking these relationships in different contexts. The causal mechanisms underlying these correlations call for investigation by means of a sustained programme of research bringing different disciplines to bear on the problem. This volume develops an interdisciplinary approach which builds on but goes beyond recent comparative and historical research on the institutional, cultural and political-economic factors shaping crime and punishment so as better to understand whether, and if so how and why, social and economic inequality influences levels and types of crime and punishment, and conversely whether crime and punishment shape inequalities.
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