Kanishk Tharoor ~ The Rise And Fall Of Great World Cities: 5,700 Years Of Urbanisation – Mapped

Urbanisation is one of the defining processes of modern times, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, and new mega-metropolises mushrooming in Asia, Latin America and Africa. But a comprehensive, digitised database of city populations through world history has been lacking, with the United Nations’ dataset only extending as far back as 1950.

That was until recent research, published in the journal Scientific Data, transcribed and geocoded nearly 6,000 years of data (from 3700BC to AD2000). The report produced a gargantuan resource for scholars hoping to better understand how and why cities rise and fall – and allowed blogger Max Galka to produce a striking visualisation on his site Metrocosm.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/rise-fall

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Punishment And Purpose ~ From Moral Theory To Punishment In Action

Justice

Contents

List of tables and figures
Foreword – John Braithwaite

1. Introduction

2. The theoretical debate
– 2.1 Introduction
– 2.2 The need for philosophies and theories of punishment
– 2.3 Categorisation of philosophical theories
– 2.4 Retributivism
– 2.4.1 Negative and positive retributivism
– 2.4.2 The intuitionist approach
– 2.4.3 Restoring a balance
– 2.5 Utilitarianism
– 2.5.1 Bentham and Beccaria
– 2.5.2 Individual or general prevention? Muller’s utilitarianism pur sang
– 2.6 Mixed theories
– 2.7 Restorative Justice

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Punishment And Purpose – Introduction

JusticeIn Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1972), after spending some time in prison, young delinquent Alex is treated with the revolutionary Ludovico’s technique. With this new technique a violent criminal can be effectively reformed within a fortnight. Ludovico’s technique is happily embraced and advocated by the government that hopes to win the coming elections by boasting of the way it has effectively dealt with crime. As a result of the treatment, “the intention to act violently is accompanied by strong feelings of physical distress. To counter these the subject has to witch to a diametrically opposed attitude” (p. 99). In short, Alex is being impelled towards the good as a mechanical result of his inclination towards evil. Although as a result of his treatment Alex ceases to be a creature capable of moral choice, government officials stress that their main concern is with cutting down crime and relieving the congested prison system and not with higher ethics. After the treatment is successfully completed, Alex is released back into society. When he returns home to his parents, he finds that his personal belongings have been sold by the police in order to compensate his victims. He also finds himself rejected by his grief-stricken parents who now have a lodger, Joe, staying in Alex’s room. Joe is like a new son to Alex’s parents. He makes clear to Alex that it is only right he should suffer further because he has made others suffer in the past. Now homeless and, as a result of his treatment, incapable of defending himself, Alex is abused as an act of revenge by one of his victims from the past whom he encounters in the public library. Alex’s newly found ‘freedom’ has become unbearable to him and he wants ‘to snuff it’.

The story of Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ incorporates a number of important issues related to the morality, legitimacy and goals of punishment that are still of relevance to the contemporary practice of legal punishment. It involves issues of moral choice and free will, criminal politics, interests of victims, revenge, proportionality in punishment and the uneasy relation between reformation and retribution. To date, these issues continue to be subject to fundamental differences of opinion. Legal punishment is considered a means of dealing, in a suitable and just way, with those who infringe legal rules. However widely accredited such a view may be, it nevertheless begs the fundamental question of what should be considered as suitable and just punishment. The answer to this question is not immediately evident and yet, the practice of punishment needs a moral justification since punishment itself is morally problematic (Duff & Garland, 1994). Punishment involves a deliberate and avoidable infliction of suffering (Honderich, 1970). It involves actions, such as depriving a person of his or her freedom that, if not described and justified as legal punishment, would be considered to be wrong or evil (Cavadino & Dignan, 1997; Hart, 1963; Sullivan, 1996). Thus, while the institution of legal punishment is perceived by most as a self-evident part of society, it nevertheless needs a sound moral justification. From a moral point of view therefore, we would expect the practice of legal punishment to reflect a solid and commonly shared legitimising framework. Such a framework involves answers to questions relating to the justification and goals of punishment. Read more

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Punishment And Purpose ~ The Theoretical Debate

Justice2.1 Introduction
In one of his essays, John Stuart Mill noted that even if we admit the legitimacy of inflicting punishment, many conflicting conceptions of justice regarding the proper apportionment of punishment to offenders come to light (Mill, 1867). This statement touches the core of what theories and philosophies of punishment are about. This chapter discusses the various ways that the State’s reaction to offending can be legitimised as well as the subsequent goals that could guide this reaction. A number of theoretical and philosophical approaches exist that consider legitimacy and goals of punishment in depth. Each approach has its own theoretical and practical problems. Although the different approaches are often mutually exclusive, there have been attempts to compromise.

The theoretical and philosophical debates on the justification and goals of punishment that have ensued, cover a vast area of social, political and legal thinking. This chapter aims at providing a concise overview of the various approaches.[i] It aims to highlight the key arguments from the most influential approaches, frequently by discussing the works of influential writers in these fields.

In Section 2.2, the relevance of philosophies and theories of punishment is discussed. In Section 2.3, the different approaches are categorised under the headings of retributivism, utilitarianism, restorative justice and mixed approaches. In the subsequent sections, 2.4 through 2.7, each category is discussed in some detail. The ideas of several influential writers are presented for illustrative purposes and different directions within each category, each with their own merits and problems, are briefly touched upon.

2.2 The need for philosophies and theories of punishment
Crime threatens our personal safety, our property and ultimately the social coherence of society. We consider criminality to be a serious and urgent national problem (cf. Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau, 1998). Our fear of crime not only stems from the direct threats it poses to us, but also from the general feelings of insecurity that result from the awareness of its existence. Crime exerts external influences on our lives over which we feel we have little or no control (Steenstra, 1994). In an era of mass communication and extensive media coverage of crime, such an awareness is inescapable. Read more

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Punishment And Purpose ~ Penal Attitudes

Justice3.1 Introduction
In the previous chapter it has been argued that the practice of legal punishment in itself is morally problematic because it involves actions that would be considered wrong or evil in other contexts. The practice of legal punishment therefore demands a sound (moral) justification. Questions relating to the justification and subsequent goals of punishment have been considered in depth in a number of theoretical and philosophical approaches.

The gamut of theoretical perspectives concerning the justification and goals of punishment has been narrowed down to the general categories of Retributivism, Utilitarianism, Restorative Justice and mixed or hybrid theories. Paying due attention to the main controversies that (still) shape theoretical debate, Chapter 2 elaborated in some detail on the core arguments of these accounts of legal punishment. Radical theories were introduced, but not elaborated, since it was argued that they are of little relevance to the focus of this book, namely the study of attitudes of magistrates within the criminal justice system.

This chapter takes a more detailed look at the concept of penal attitude and its measurement. Penal attitudes are defined as attitudes towards the various purposes and functions of punishment. In turn, these purposes and functions of punishment are deduced from the philosophical theories discussed in the previous chapter. Section 3.2 elaborates in some more detail on the ‘attitude’ concept in general, and ‘penal attitudes’ in particular. A number of different approaches to the definition and use of the concept of penal attitudes is briefly presented. Section 3.3 explores and justifies the arguments of why it is important to try to measure such attitudes. It is argued that the measurement of penal attitudes is essential for any study that is directly or indirectly concerned with the link between moral theory and practice. Section 3.4 discusses various strategies that can be used for measuring penal attitudes including some of the practical and methodological issues. Research experiences in the Netherlands and abroad are introduced both for illustrative purposes and to highlight the pros and cons of the different approaches (and should not be viewed as an exhaustive review of such research).

3.2 What is a penal attitude?
In the previous section penal attitudes have been broadly defined as attitudes towards the various goals and functions of punishment. Although such a definition introduces the object of the attitudes, the actual meaning of the concept attitude remains unexplained. Before elaborating further on penal attitudes and their measurement, a somewhat more detailed discussion of the attitude concept is therefore merited. Read more

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Punishment And Purpose ~ Development Of A Measurement Instrument

Justice4.1 Introduction
In Chapter 3, the concept of penal attitude was examined in some detail. Furthermore, the point was made that, while research on psychological characteristics of magistrates is quite common in some other countries (e.g. United States, England, Canada, Germany), in the Netherlands this type of research seems to be a ‘blank spot’ (Snel, 1969). The few (predominantly qualitative) studies that were carried out have led to rather inconclusive results concerning magistrates’ penal attitudes. Furthermore, no systematic quantitative study on this topic has been carried out in the Netherlands thus far. We consider this to be a serious deficiency in criminological and psychological research on the Dutch magistrature.

The present chapter therefore focuses on the systematic process of developing a theoretically informed measurement model of penal attitudes. Section 4.2 discusses the measurement approach that we have adopted. However, our approach, like any other, is accompanied by a number of methodological and practical concerns. Each of these will be given due attention. Section 4.3 elaborates on the process of translating the relevant theoretical concepts into measurable variables (i.e., operationalisation) resulting in an initial version of the measurement instrument. In Section 4.4, the procedure and results of the first application of the instrument with Dutch law students (N=266) are discussed. Implications of this study for subsequent refining or revising the measurement instrument are then considered in Section 4.5. Section 4.6 describes the further steps in the development of the measurement instrument. The procedure and results of a second empirical study with Dutch law students (N=296) are reported. The results of this second study are compared to those of the first study thus allowing a measure of reliability (i.e. replicability) to be obtained. Finally, in Section 4.7, results of the second study with law students are used as the foundation for a basic (structural) model of penal attitudes. To further validate the measurement instrument, to confirm results of the studies with law students and to explore the structure of penal attitudes, this model will be tested in Chapter 6 using data collected from judges in Dutch criminal courts. The position we adopt is that the development of a theoretically integrated model of penal attitudes contributes to a better understanding of how moral legal theory becomes translated into practice by criminal justice officials. Read more

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