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Over de criminologische erfenis van Stanley Cohen

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Stanley Cohen, moral panic, denial, social control, intellectual scepticism
Auteurs prof. dr. René van Swaaningen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    On the occasion of the publication of a collection of articles by Stanley Cohen in 2016 (edited by Tom Deams), René van Swaaningen pays a tribute to this important, thought-provoking and pioneering thinker in criminology. He takes Cohen’s adage that we as critical criminologists always have to balance between intellectual scepticism and political commitment as a starting point for an analysis of his work. Cohen’s rejection of criminology as a liberal project may have led him to defining himself as an ‘anti-criminologist’, yet at the same time Cohen has been able to transform the discipline as such into a more power-critical direction. Two of Cohen’s key-contributions to criminological theory, those on moral panics and on denial, are discussed and related to each other. Whilst adopting Foucault’s analyses of power as a constructing practice, Cohen, in his work on social control, rejects the pessimist implications of Foucault’s work, in which human agency is defined away. In this essay, the relation of Cohen’s work with that of his mentor David Matza is also discussed, as well as is his great and ironic style of writing.


prof. dr. René van Swaaningen
Prof. dr. René van Swaaningen is hoogleraar Internationaal Comparatieve Criminologie en voorzitter van de sectie criminologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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