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David Downes's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David Downes recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David Downes's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Over the last two decades, and in the wake of increases in recorded crime and other social changes, British criminal justice policy has become increasingly politicised as an index of governments' competence. New and worrying developments, such as the inexorable rise of the US prison population and the rising force of penal severity, seem unstoppable in the face of popular anxiety about crime. But is this inevitable? Nicola Lacey argues that harsh 'penal populism' is not the inevitable fate of all contemporary democracies. Notwithstanding a degree of convergence, globalisation has left many of... more
Recommended by David Downes, and 1 others.

David DownesMass imprisonment in America has stimulated intense interest in cross-national variations in imprisonment rates and the character of prison regimes: is the rest of the democratic world doomed to follow that trajectory? David Garland’s The Culture of Control (2001) sees the logic of late modernity, in both the USA and Britain, as fuelling a ‘prison works’ mentality which translates into far more... (Source)

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Over the last thirty years, the prison population in the United States has increased more than seven-fold to over two million people, including vastly disproportionate numbers of minorities and people with little education. For some racial and educational groups, incarceration has become a depressingly regular experience, and prison culture and influence pervade their communities. Almost 60 percent of black male high school drop-outs in their early thirties have spent time in prison. In Punishment and Inequality in America, sociologist Bruce Western explores the recent era of mass... more
Recommended by David Downes, and 1 others.

David DownesThe most compelling documentation of the character and consequences of the cataclysmic rise of mass imprisonment in the USA over the past three decades. Western spells out its adverse effects for black and Hispanic communities in particular – four decades ago, they were 30 per cent of the prison population, now they constitute 70 per cent. ‘The basic brute fact of incarceration in the new era of... (Source)

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Violence and Governance in the Night-Time Economy

This book is the first attempt to understand Britain's night-time economy, the violence that pervades it, and the bouncers whose job it is to prevent it. Using ethnography, participant observation and extensive interviews with all the main players, this controversial book charts the emergence of the bouncer as one of the most graphic symbols in the iconography of post-industrial Britain.
Recommended by David Downes, and 1 others.

David DownesDeindustrialisation is the context for this ‘state of the art’ study of the emergent career of the bouncer in the burgeoning night-time economy of those towns and cities hard-pressed to maintain their revenue base in the wake of the loss of manufacturing infrastructure. Hobbs and his co-authors not only accomplished a first-rate ethnography of the ‘informal’ social control of clubbing and bars by... (Source)

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Deliquency and Opportunity

A Theory of Deliquent Gangs

Recommended by David Downes, and 1 others.

David DownesRobert Merton Americanised anomie theory in the 1930s, arguing that the strain to anomie was integral to the culture of the USA, as all are encouraged to aspire to the goal of ‘money-success’ whilst only a minority can attain it. In the post-World War II period, the conundrum was to explain rising crime in the context of growing prosperity. In 1960, Cloward and Ohlin integrated Merton’s approach... (Source)

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A Study in Sociology

A classic book about the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes written by one of the world’s most influential sociologists.

Emile Durkheim’s Suicide addresses the phenomenon of suicide and its social causes. Written by one of the world’s most influential sociologists, this classic argues that suicide primarily results from a lack of integration of the individual into society. Suicide provides readers with an understanding of the impetus for suicide and its psychological impact on the victim, family, and society.
Recommended by David Downes, and 1 others.

David DownesThis is a great taproot for modern theories of crime in the anomie tradition, anomie being a state lacking social and moral cohesion. It was Durkheim who, in this book, did most to establish sociology as a subject in its own right, by showing how suicide, that supremely individual act, varied in relation to social pressures. He stressed the pursuit of ‘infinite aspirations’ as generating higher... (Source)

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