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This book explores the work of criminologist Colin Sumner. It re-presents his arguments and ideas on Marxism, ideology, censure, deviance, crime, underdevelopment, social control and the media; situating them in their wider social context. Moxon argues that Sumner should be restored within the criminology discipline as a pioneer who has produced works of great theoretical sophistication and insight. By systematically considering Sumner’s entire output, the book shows how his thought involved a gradually deepening understanding of his core notion of ideological censure. His writing is also marked by a growing unease with the effects of late modern capitalism and the quagmire of censoriousness rife in the 21st century. This book makes clear that Sumner’s work was remarkably prescient, and his ideas may help up to make sense of complicated times.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter introduces the book. It outlines the intention of the book to take a fresh look at the work of Colin Sumner, placing it in its disciplinary and wider social context. The sometimes divisive and controversial nature of Sumner’s work is noted, and it is suggested that despite being a distinctive and important thinker who has produced works of great theoretical sophistication, his influence in criminology has not been as great as it might have been. It is suggested that Sumner’s work has involved a gradually deepening understanding of his core notion of ideological censure, which has given his career a remarkable consistency and clarity of purpose. An outline of the book is provided, and it is noted that the book will refer extensively to original sources, chiefly in order to act as a corrective to some of the misconceptions that abound about Sumner’s work.
David Moxon

Chapter 2. Sumner and Ideological Censure

Abstract
This second chapter focusses upon Colin Sumner’s work during the 1970s which furnished the methodological approach and the notion of ideological censure that have provided the foundation stones for the remainder of his scholarly career. The chapter opens with a discussion about the context of Sumner’s early work in Marxism, socio-legal studies and radical criminology. Then, the development of his concept of ideological censure is explored. Three key works—his PhD, a short chapter on deviance and the book Reading Ideologies—are considered in detail to show how he fused his Marxian take on ideology and his dissatisfaction with radical criminological work on defining deviance to create a new notion of deviance as ideological censure.
David Moxon

Chapter 3. After Censure

Abstract
This chapter focusses upon Sumner’s work during the 1980s and early 1990s. It details how Sumner continued to develop his position in a discipline increasingly turning away from contemplative scholarship and towards pragmatic, policy-oriented, research studies. Sumner’s work during this period can be loosely divided into four categories. There was a critical engagement with some of the then-prominent thinking on the social world, the deployment of the notion of underdevelopment, a return to an analysis of the media and the continued elaboration of his underlying theory of censure itself. The chapter outlines the nature of Sumner’s work in each of these four areas and shows how, despite the surface variety of his endeavours, all his work during this prolific period insisted on the centrality of ideology and was marked by the growing sophistication of the notion of censure.
David Moxon

Chapter 4. Sumner and the Death of Deviance

Abstract
Sumner’s best-known work, The Sociology of Deviance: An Obituary (1994), is the focus of this chapter. Against a disciplinary backdrop where theoretical reflection was becoming increasingly marginalised, Sumner produced an epic intellectual history of the formation, heyday and demise of the sociology of deviance, arguing that the concept of deviance was bound up with the social democratic societies of modernity and was thus no longer an appropriate way of seeing. He suggested its replacement by the sociology of censures. The chapter guides the reader through this dense and detailed work, before ending with reflections on its reception and its ongoing intellectual legacy.
David Moxon

Chapter 5. After the Death of Deviance

Abstract
This chapter focusses on the work of Sumner in the period immediately after the publication of The Sociology of Deviance: An Obituary. In 1995, Sumner left the Cambridge Institute of Criminology after 18 years for a new role as Head of School at the University of East London, whilst continuing to explore the ramifications of his underlying theoretical position in the context of a growing pessimism about the direction of late modernity. The theory of censure was becoming more widely known as evidenced by its increasing presence in textbooks. Sumner also returned to two of the recurring themes in his work, the media and underdevelopment. In 2002 Sumner took early retirement from academia but even then he was unable to escape the continuing controversy over the Obituary. The chapter deals with each of these aspects of his work in turn.
David Moxon

Chapter 6. Sumner and the Looking Glass

Abstract
This penultimate chapter focusses on Sumner’s work following his decision to abort his retirement and take up a post at University College Cork. This helped foster a renewed wave of writing in which he considered the 2011 UK riots in the light of his theory of censure, explored the criminal justice system and social control through an analysis of Shakespeare, returned to his philosophical and methodological underpinnings in a discussion of critical realism and hinted at a significant new phase in his work that harked back to Crime, Justice and Underdevelopment. The chapter deals in turn with each of these endeavours which served to further sharpen and refine Sumner’s underlying theoretical position.
David Moxon

Chapter 7. After Sumner?

Abstract
The final chapter of the book takes stock of Sumner’s achievements to date, making some concluding observations about the nature of Sumner’s oeuvre and its contemporary significance. It considers Sumner’s work as a cumulative project, his long-standing commitment to theory, his relationship to Marxism, his belief that a thoroughgoing moral renewal of society has become necessary and his somewhat uneven influence in the discipline. The chapter concludes by suggesting that, in a fracturing late modernity where censoriousness has reached a new pitch, Sumner’s work is more relevant than ever.
David Moxon

Backmatter

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