School of Social and Cultural Studies

New Publication for Professor John Pratt, Institute of Criminology 

John Pratt

Institute of Criminology Professor John Pratt’s new book, Contrasts in Punishment: An Explanation of Anglophone Excess and Nordic Exceptionalism, was published earlier this year in the Routledge Frontiers of Criminal Justice series (272 pages and 15 photographs).

Contrasts in Punishment: An Explanation of Anglophone Excess and Nordic Exceptionalism

Written with Dr Anna Eriksson, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Monash University, the book uniquely addresses the question of why Nordic and Anglophone societies have such different ways of thinking about punishing law breakers. Based on research in Finland, Norway and Sweden, and England, Australia and New Zealand, these differences can be seen in the much lower rates of imprisonment in the Nordic countries and their very different prison conditions from those in the Anglophone. Why should this be so?  The book argues that the origins of these contemporary contrasts in punishment lie in the social arrangements of these societies in the early to mid 19th century that then gave rise to the development of inclusionary value systems and structural arrangements in the Nordic countries and exclusionary value systems and structural arrangements in the Anglophone.

Professor Pratt began the research in 2006. A preliminary two part article was published in the British Journal of Criminology in 2008. This was awarded the prestigious Radzinowitz Prize the Editorial Board of the journal in 2009 for ‘the article that most advanced the discipline of criminology.’ From 2009 (when Dr Eriksson joined the project) to 2012 Professor Pratt completed the research as a Royal Society of New Zealand James Cook Research Fellow in Social Science. He was also invited to take up a Fellowship at the Straus Institute for Advanced Studies in Law and Justice 2010/11. As the research developed, it attracted considerable interest, including invitations to give seminars on it at the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Yale, Zurich, Buenos Aires and Sydney and plenary addresses at conferences in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Wellington. Two symposia were held at the Institute of Criminology, University of Oslo in 2009 and 2010 and an edited collection addressing the 2008 article was published in 2011 (Penal Exceptionalism?, edited by Thomas Ugelvik and Jane Dullum). Professor Pratt was also invited to give lectures on this research on MA programmes at the Central European University, Budapest, the Universidad Central de Chile and the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina. The research was featured in Time magazine (10 May 2010) and the French biannual magazine 6Mois. In 2012 Professor Pratt was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

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