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Status: Published

Social control policies (2010)



Social Control ReportThis project looks into the human rights implications of contemporary patterns of social control: how laws and policies construct and respond to people, behaviour or status defined as “undesirable”, “dangerous”, criminal or socially problematic.

The report explores the human rights implications of questions such as:

  • How changing ideas of crime, criminality and risk are shaping social policy?

  • Why does incarceration continue to be a preferred sanction?

  • How are public health and urban governance being reshaped into regimes of discipline and punitiveness?

  • How do contemporary policing and surveillance practices order and organise social relations?

Despite the significant amount of research conducted around some of these themes, a considerable gap exists between those engaged in research and theory and those engaged in human rights advocacy and policy. This report seeks to bridge that gap.

Drawing on research across five policy areas: infectious diseases, urban spaces and the poor, policing, migration, and punishment and incarceration, as well as a case study of the Roma in Europe, the report is relevant to human rights advocates and professionals working in diverse policy areas. It points to human rights challenges and ways forward with respect to ideas of crime and criminality, penal sanctions, non-criminal sanctions and “soft” controls, segregation and exclusion, protection and victim rights, privatisation, surveillance, and policy transfer regimes.

We hope that this project provides a basis to mount a more robust human rights challenge to political and social forces that shape contemporary modes of social control through a dialogue between human rights advocates, critical social science and social policy analysts, and policy makers.

Research team