Exploring Modern Probation: Social Theory and Organisational Complexity

Exploring Modern Probation: Social Theory and Organisational Complexity


By (author) Philip Whitehead


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Hardback $89.95
  • Publisher: Policy Press
  • Format: Paperback | 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 172mm x 240mm x 12mm | 322g
  • Publication date: 9 June 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Bristol
  • ISBN 10: 1847423485
  • ISBN 13: 9781847423481
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 1,125,362

Product description

Since 1997 the probation service, an integral component of criminal justice for over 100 years, has been subject to a politically-driven process of modernisation and cultural transformation. This innovative book explores this probation modernisation by using social theories associated with Durkheim, Weber, Marx and Foucault. The book combines this theoretical analysis with empirical research from interviews, which highlights challenges to, as well as support of, the politics of modernisation. This research is unique in providing insights into what representatives of other organisations think about probation - from the outside looking in. This up-to-date text will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of probation, criminology, criminal and social justice and allied disciplines.

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Author information

Philip Whitehead is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Teesside University. Previously he worked for the Probation Service for 26 years and held numerous positions including Research and Information Officer. Since the 1980s he has researched various aspects of probation and latterly the impact of modernisation and cultural change on criminal and social justice. He is the author of seven books and numerous articles.

Review quote

"During the past twenty years or so through a process involving missed opportunities, misguided policies and political posturing successive governments have almost squeezed the humanitarian life out of the Probation Service: it lingers still. Although, Philip Whitehead argues in this book that the humanitarian role of the Service will not survive, those of us who disagree know that if it is to survive in some form that benefits society by contributing to the rehabilitation of those people who offend, a thorough and critical understanding of that process is crucial. No-one is better qualified to deliver that understanding than Philip Whitehead. Not only has he worked within the Service throughout this period but he has shown in his many publications an acute understanding of the history of probation. This book promises to be both the definitive account of its recent past and the critically challenging one that is needed." Maurice Vanstone, Emeritus Professor of Criminology, Swansea University "This deeply erudite book blends social theory with the all too often self-contained 'probation in crisis' literature. It has a sharper, darker take on what has gone wrong with a service that, twenty years ago, had a lot going for it, could have modernised itself in far better ways - and still could, if the lessons of Exploring modern probation are taken to heart." Mike Nellis, Glasgow School of Social Work, University of Strathclyde "...is a meticulous, succinct and extremely well written analysis of the probation services in the United Kingdom..." European Journal of Probation

Table of contents

Introduction; Modernising probation and criminal justice since 1997; Durkheim, Weber, Marx, and Foucault: social theory with 'the big guys'; Religious, humanitarian and personalist impulses: footprints left by 'the good guys'; Social theory and organisational complexity: putting theories and impulses to work; Researching modernisation and cultural change in probation: views of solicitors, clerks, magistrates, barristers and judges; Modernising monstrosities and cultural catastrophes: probation trapped in a new order of things.