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Breaking the PendulumThe Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice$
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Philip Goodman, Joshua Page, and Michelle Phelps

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199976058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199976058.001.0001

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Penal Development and Plate Tectonics

Penal Development and Plate Tectonics

(p.1) 1 Penal Development and Plate Tectonics
Breaking the Pendulum

Philip Goodman

Joshua Page

Michelle Phelps

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 introduces the main argument of Breaking the Pendulum: rather than a pendulum swinging mechanistically back and forth, the motor force of penal change is struggle among actors (or “agonists”) with differing visions of how to prevent and sanction crime. The chapter documents the limits of the standard pendulum model and develops the alternative agonistic perspective. It outlines three central axioms that guide the remainder of the book: (1) penal development is the product of struggle among actors with different types and amounts of power; (2) contestation over how (and whom) to punish is constant, and consensus over penal orientations is illusory; and (3) large-scale trends in the economy, politics, social sentiments, intergroup relations, demographics, and crime affect (or condition)—but do not determine—struggles over punishment and, ultimately, penal outcomes.

Keywords:   Agonistic, agonism, agonist, penal development, punishment, punishment and society, pendulum

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