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Seasons, Senses, Spaces: Discerning the Social Choreography of the Penal Field



Graham H (2015) Seasons, Senses, Spaces: Discerning the Social Choreography of the Penal Field. Offender Supervision in Europe COST Action IS1106, 18.06.2015.

Considering the penal field, including its practices and cultures, creates space for simultaneous (self) reflection on ourselves as criminological actors (and our respective disciplinary allegiances, cultures and ‘habitus’ as Bourdieu would say, as ‘seers’ and ‘knowers’ of the penal field). The leitmotif of this COST Action network is its culture. It encompasses a remarkable and rare combination of productivity, creativity, empirical integrity, and epistemological humility. I affirm Prof Stef’ Decoene's observation that a palpable sense of joy and camaraderie exists among COST network researchers, creating a special atmosphere infrequently observed in other academic forums of the same size. In the following sub-sections, I summarise some of the network’s compelling characteristics and contributions across three inter-related spheres, using the metaphors of ‘seasons’, ‘senses’ and ‘spaces’. Interwoven within this is a reflexive critique of what I see as some of the wider issues affecting criminology and criminal justice research, demarcating why the work of this COST Action network is distinctive.

Probation; offender supervision; criminal justice; criminology; punishment; culture; penal field; Bourdieu; penal architectures; Europe

Publication date18/06/2015
PublisherCOST - European Cooperation in Science and Technology
Publisher URL…-the-penal-field

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Dr Hannah Graham

Dr Hannah Graham

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology