Communicative punishment as a penal approach to supporting desistance

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    This essay aims to explore the interfaces between Habermas' theory of communicative action (in particular his notion of the 'colonisation of the lifeworld'); Duff's penal communication theory and Rex's recent work on reconstructing community penalties. Its central argument is that a critical reading of the desistance research provides empirical support for the need to reconceptualise penal practices as communicative enterprises which can engage with their stakeholders in supporting desistance-both at the level of the individual and in the community. Particular attention is paid to the need to reconsider the relationship between 'offender management' services and the communities which they purport to serve.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-29
    Number of pages21
    JournalTheoretical Criminology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


    • communicative punishment
    • community penalties
    • desistance


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