Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the transformation of criminal justice that took place between about 1750 and 1850. After reviewing the leading interpretations of Michel Foucault and John Langbein, it proposes a framework from theirs. The transition to modernity in criminal justice should be seen against the background of a Weberian monopolization of legitimate violence, as Western states claimed the sole authority to inflict punishment, displacing rivals that included nobles, heads of households, and the Church. In the course of monopolization, states underwent a somewhat paradoxical transformation. The secular criminal law that emerged by the middle of the nineteenth century had been Christianized, coming to resemble the historic law of the Church. The “modern” criminal law of the nineteenth century was largely a form of pre-modern Christian law, making use of the historic Church punishment of imprisonment and adopting forms of culpability analysis that had been developed by Church lawyers.

Keywords: modernity, criminal justice, state power, criminal law, punishment, Michel Foucault, imprisonment, John H. Langbein, Catholic Church

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.