Professor David Garland Workshop Programme: 6th – 17th May 2019

Edinburgh Law School, the Centre for Law and Society and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research are delighted to be hosting a seminar series by Professor David Garland, widely considered one of the world’s leading sociologists of crime and punishment. Professor Garland is Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at New York University, and Professorial Fellow in Criminology at the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh.

Please see the various workshops and seminars Prof Garland will be holding in May. Please ensure you have registered for each event via the Eventbrite link.

Tuesday 7th May, 11-1pm, Teaching Room 07 in Old College

 “The Work of Theory”

A two-hour workshop for postgraduate students (masters and doctoral). The session will discuss how theory is used in criminological research, using Professor Garland’s own experience as an example, and will open up the discussion with individual students to find out how they are theorizing their research.


Wednesday 8th May, 2-4pm 1.20 Dugald Stewart Building

“The Idea of a “Welfare State”: Towards a Genealogy”

Abstract:  The political ideal of a welfare state proved surprisingly weak in the 1980s when faced with a resurgent free-market ideology. Thirty years later, the project of revitalizing a welfare state for the 21st century still finds surprisingly little traction. At the same time, the social scientific concept of “welfare state” is remarkably unstable, ill-defined and confused; enabling contradictory theses to be argued and taken seriously. My paper seeks to cast light on this state of affairs by means of a genealogical inquiry that traces the lines of descent and moments of emergence that led up to the present. Its aim is to recover the historical contexts and contestations out of which today’s ideas – and today’s confusions – have emerged.


Thursday 9th May – “Mass Incarceration I”

Friday 10th May – “Mass Incarceration II”

Teaching Room 07 in Old College, 11-1pm

These sessions will explore the topic of mass incarceration and its causes – discussing works such as The New Jim Crow (Alexander 2010); Punishing the Poor (Wacquant 2009); Governing Through Crime (Simon 2006) and the extensive empirical research that has recently been brought to bear on this topic. Details will follow. You can sign up for one or both of these sessions.


A short course: an Introduction to Social Theory for Law and Criminology students

What are the functions of law in modern society? How does law relate to power, to class, to money, and to morals? How did the great social theorists understand law and how can we use their ideas to understand the legal world today? In these informal lectures, Professor David Garland will provide a lively and accessible introduction to the work of the major social theorists  and discuss their relevance to thinking about law and legal institutions – including criminal law and penal institutions – today.

You can sign up for individual sessions, or take all four as a short course.


Monday 13th May, 11-1pm : “Intro to Social Theory: Durkheim”

Drummond Library, Old Surgeons Hall

Law students everywhere learn that there is a strict separation between law and morals – until they read more jurisprudence and discover that the two are practically inseparable.  Emile Durkheim’s sociology solves the puzzle of law’s relation to morality by insisting that law is a distinctive kind of moral institution, conditioned not by universal truths but by local knowledge and social facts. Durkheim argues that, in the contemporary world, the quasi-religious institutions of law help hold societies together. David Garland will explain Durkheim’s key ideas and show how they help us think about one of today’s central problems: how can law command authority in an individualistic, multi-cultural society where the national state is too remote and the local community is too stifling? Following the lecture there will be a discussion session and plenty of time for question and answer.


Tuesday 14th May 11-1pm – “Intro to Social Theory: Marx”

Teaching Room 07 in Old College

Marxism may be dead but many of Marx’s ideas live on in today’s sociology of law.  How does law help the ruling class rule?  How do legal rules relate to economic relations? How can law be a people’s ‘bible of freedom’ and also the source of their oppression?  How does law work its ideological spell – not least upon law students and lawyers?  David Garland will give an overview of Karl Marx’s life and work and explain why Marx’s ideas still form a vital part of our thinking about law’s forms, functions and effects. Following the lecture there will be a discussion session and plenty of time for question and answer.


Wednesday 15th May 11-1pm  – “Intro to Social Theory: Weber”

Teaching Room 07 in Old College

What role did law play in the rise of modern capitalism?  What role have lawyers played in the creation of law’s distinctive rationality?  How do we resolve the tension between formal legal rules and our concern for substantive justice?  Can the rule of law survive the coming of the welfare state and the demand for efficient state governance?  Max Weber is the brooding genius whose thinking about law and society shapes contemporary American scholarship and these questions are at the core of Weber’s work.  David Garland will introduce Weber’s ideas about law and society and show their importance for a critical understanding of legal thought and the practice of law. Following the lecture there will be a discussion session and plenty of time for question and answer.


Thursday 16th May 11-1pm  – “Intro to Social Theory: Foucault”

Teaching Room 07 in Old College

Michel Foucault is one of the most important thinkers of our time – and one of the most misunderstood. The influence of his work can be seen everywhere: in cultural studies, literary criticism, feminist theory, political philosophy and social history. Legal theorists have begun to use Foucault’s ideas to understand the character of modern law, in particular the ways in which law links up with other forms of expertise to extend its power and to shape subjectivity. David Garland will introduce the thought of Michel Foucault and outline its relevance to the study of law. Following the lecture there will be a discussion session and plenty of time for question and answer.