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Synopsis

Castles of our Conscience presents a new and distinctive analysis of the role of the modern state in the shaping of policies of social control. Staples provides a theoretical framework for understanding the mechanisms of state policy-making and capacity. This framework supports an interpretation of the changing nature of institutions of social control in the United States from the beginning in the nineteenth century to the present day.

A distinctive feature of the author’s approach is his critique of existing theories of the state as well as recent revisionist writing in social control. Both, he argues, have tended to either reduce the state to an instrument of class power or treat it in too ‘structuralist’ a fashion. Developing a sophisticated account of the relationship between the state and civil society he provides a history of social control policies in the United States that balances analytical concerns with historical narrative.

This book will be of interest to students and professionals in sociology, politics and criminology.

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