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4. The Marxist Approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Marxist approaches to punishment, notably Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer’s Punishment and Social Structure (1939). In particular, we focus on: (i) Jeffrey Reiman’s work on class inequality in shaping who receives punishment for their crimes; (ii) Rusche and Kirchheimer’s account of how the dominant form of punishment has changed over time based on the needs of the economy; (iii) their claim that prisons emerged to serve the needs of industrial capitalist economies, and their elaboration on the functions of prisons in modern societies.
In this course, Dr David Scott (The Open University) explores key philosophical and sociological approaches to prisons, punishment and penology. In the first module, we introduce some key areas of interest within penology, looking especially at moral justifications for punishment. In the second, we consider the classical philosophical approaches of Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, and William Godwin. In the third module, we think about Émile Durkheim’s sociological work on punishment, before turning in the fourth to the Marxist approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer. In the fifth module, we examine Michel Foucault’s influential account of the emergence of the prison in modern capitalist society, and in the final module we explore some contemporary penological debates.
Dr David Scott works at the Open University. He researches and teaches on prisons, penal abolitionism and the sociology and philosophy of punishment. His publications include For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics (2020), Against Imprisonment: An Anthology of Abolitionist Essays (2018), and, with Nick Flynn, Prisons and Punishment: The Essentials (2014).
Cite this Lecture
Scott, D. (2021, August 24). Prisons, Punishment and Penology - The Marxist Approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/prisons-punishment-and-penology/the-marxist-approach-of-georg-rusche-and-otto-kirchheimer
Scott, David. "Prisons, Punishment and Penology – The Marxist Approach of Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/prisons-punishment-and-penology/the-marxist-approach-of-georg-rusche-and-otto-kirchheimer