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2018 Conference

2018 Conference on 'Moral Understandings, Criminal Careers and Responses to Criminal Careers'

The work of the Penal Theory Centre has traditionally focused on issues of political, ethical and jurisprudential theory in relation to specific crime policies or criminal justice practices (for example, restorative justice, policies relating to anti-social behaviour, and various aspects of sentencing). However, it has become increasingly clear that there is also a need to bring more closely together what have in the past been the very separate fields of (i) empirical criminology aimed at explaining crime, desistance from crime and responses to criminal justice interventions, and (ii) moral and political theory. To this end, the Centre is currently developing plans for a conference, to be held in September 2018, on the theme ‘Moral Understandings, Criminal Careers and Responses to Criminal Careers’.  This conference will aim to bring together, in interdisciplinary dialogue, empirical criminologists, moral and political philosophers and social anthropologists, with the aim of advancing understanding of criminal careers and responses to them when one takes seriously the view that "the ethical dimension of social life - the fact that everyday conduct is constitutively pervaded by reflective evaluation - is irreducible, and theory needs to be reformulated to make our analyses of diverse phenomena and states of affairs cognizant of this" (J Laidlaw, The Subject of Virtue, Cambridge UP 2014, pp 44-5). The conference is being promoted by the Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Criminal Justice Ethics at John Jay College, City University of New York, and the co-organisers will be Professors Anthony Bottoms (Cambridge) and Jonathan Jacobs (CUNY).