Punishment and social organization: a study of durkheim's theory of penal evolution

Law & Society Review Vol/Iss. 9 Published In Pages: 613-638
By Spitzer, Steven


This study empirically tests Durkheim’s theories of punishment in a sample of preindustrial societies. Analysis shows little support for five hypotheses derived from Durkheim’s theories. Findings indicate that in preindustrial societies, the intensity of punishment is associated with political integration, there are fewer collective definitions of crime, there is a higher likelihood of using material sanctions; additionally, slavery is likely to be an institutionalized means of punishment in societies with harsher sanctions.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
HRAF Collection of Ethnography (paper/fiche)Researcher's Own
Ethnographic Atlas (EA)Previously Coded

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Jessie Cohen Amelia Piazza abbe.mccarter