SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Baruchello, G. (2004). Cesare Beccaria and the cruelty of liberalism: An essay on liberalism of fear and its limits. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 30, 303-313.

Abstract: In this paper I outline and criticize Judith Shklar’s and Richard Rorty’s “liberalism of fear.” Both political thinkers believe liberalism to be characterized by a fundamental opposition to cruelty, which they regard as the least liberal of the features that may distinguish any given human community. In order to demonstrate the limits of the Shklar–Rorty thesis, I make use, in the first place, of John Kekes’s critique of liberalism as to show that liberalism allows for cruelty in so far as it grants wider margins of agency to the members of the community. In the second place, I make use of Cesare Beccaria’s reflections on the cruelty implied by liberalism as such, in so far as this political doctrine endorses the institutions of penal justice and private property.

Journal Article 2: Smith, P. S. (2004). A religious technology of the self: Rationality and religion in the rise of the modern penitentiary. Punishment & Society, 6, 195-220.

Abstract: This article deals with the rise of the modern prison system in Denmark and internationally from the late decades of the 18th century until the mid-19th century. The theoretical focus will be on the interconnectedness of scientific and religious conceptions that--according to this interpretation--formed an ideological base for modern prisons. I discuss how rationality and religion can be understood as naturally conjoined elements in this context, and show how religion, rather than simply diminishing in influence, took on new roles and functions in modern society. Two religious “modes of operation” can be identified: religion as a power strategy and religion as a technology of the self. The main part of the article addresses the thinking behind, and experiments with, the modern penitentiary--which finally broke through in the United States during the 1820s and from there was re-imported to Europe. I show, recalling Weber, how the liberal and modern-minded bourgeois Danish reformers simultaneously embraced both the religious and rational implications of the modern prison project. The intense debates of this period on the best methods of reforming prisoners disclose distinctively modern accounts of human nature, in which science and religion are mutually involved.