The prison and the factory : origins of the penitentiary system

Melossi, Dario and Pavarini, Massimo The prison and the factory : origins of the penitentiary system. London: Macmillan Press, 1981.

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Author Melossi, Dario
Pavarini, Massimo
Title The prison and the factory : origins of the penitentiary system
Place of Publication London
Publisher Macmillan Press
Publication year 1981
Sub-type Other
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Series Critical criminology
ISBN 0333266676
0333266684 (pbk)
Language eng
Total number of pages 243
Subjects 1602 Criminology
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Editors' Introduction

This is the first appearance in English of an Italian work which has become one of the seminal books in its field, and which has been influential in shaping recent Marxist studies of social discipline and control. The Prison and the Factory, like Rusche and Kirchheimer's Punishment and Social Structure, has become a much cited but largely unavailable text for those working in the field of deviance and social control. Because of the attention which The Prison and the Factory has attracted, we believe it to be important to provide a translation for English-speaking audiences. A second reason for publishing this work is to extend more widely the interest that has been generated by more recent work by Dario Melossi which has become available in English.

The Prison and the Factory is where Melossi and Pavarini established their fundamental arguments concerning the interrelationship between the development of capitalist accumulation and forms of punishment and discipline. These arguments have become a basis for increasing exploration and debate in this area, which has merged a variety of different academic starting points: in law, sociology and history. This focus of interest has been manifested in recent work in Britain, in organisations such as the National Deviancy Conference and the Conference of Socialist Economists; in the USA, particularly through Crime and Social Justice, as well as in other European countries through the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, and La Questione Criminale.

In more general terms, the work of Melossi and Pavarini coincides with a major expansion of interest in historical criminology: for example, in the work of Hay, Linebaugh and Thompson. As Melossi and Pavarini themselves point out in their Introduction, one particularly sharp focus of this move to historical analysis has been  the relationship between the crisis of prison systems and the attempt to unearth the social and historical origins of those institutions. It has become increasingly apparent that in all Western societies, the penal system, no matter what its specific national form, is failing in its selfproclaimed tasks of rehabilitation and deterrence. One of the responses to this 'crisis' has been the attempt to excavate the real nature of the connection between prisons and social structures. As such, he prison has emerged as one of the key sites for analysing the relation between social regimes and forms of discipline and regulation. 

Melossi and Pavarini's entry to this debate follows the direction established in Rusche and Kirchheimer's pioneering work, Punishment and Social Structure. The Prison and the Factory reconsiders and develops the work of Rusche and Kirchheimer in examining the relation between modes of production and modes of punishment. The specific form of this project in The Prison and the Factory is the analysis of the connection between the genealogy of capitalism and the genealogy of the penal institution. The prison as a specific form of punishment is located within the emergence of capitalist social relations and the development of generalised labour. It is this development which they argue produces a regime of punishment based on the deprivation of liberty.

Within this analysis, Melossi and Pavarini provide a synoptic tracing of the shifts and developments in penal regimes in relation to changes in the process of capital accumulation and the problems of the regulation of labour associated with that process. This work deals with the early stages of capitalist development through the specific national forms which this development took in a number of European States and in North America. The Prison and the Factory thus lays the foundation for major investigations of the relationship between capitalist modes of production and their apparatuses of social discipline and control.
Keyword Prisons -- Italy -- History
Convict labor -- Italy -- History.
Convict labor -- History
Prisons -- History
Q-Index Code AX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes Translation of: Carcere e fabbrica.

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Created: Fri, 06 Jan 2017, 19:02:50 EST by Ms Christine Heslehurst on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service