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The death of penal welfare and the Christian nation: The secularisation of attitudes towards delinquency, citizenship, and morality in Britain, c. 1930-80

Niklasson, Magnus Bo (2016) The death of penal welfare and the Christian nation: The secularisation of attitudes towards delinquency, citizenship, and morality in Britain, c. 1930-80. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates ‘the death of penal welfare’ in Britain. It traces the fortunes of penal welfare from c. 1930 to c. 1980. The term refers to measures promoting the reformation and welfare of offenders through the framework of the criminal justice system. Thus the institutions of criminal justice are not just punitive but also part of the state’s involvement in the welfare of its citizens through social services. The main contention of this thesis is that the raison d´être of penal welfare was the creation of Christian citizens and that its moral legitimacy came out of the widely accepted idea of Britain as a Christian nation. Furthermore, this study locates ‘the death of penal welfare’ as a consequence of secularisation. When the idea of Britain as a Christian community collapsed in the early 1960s, the set of beliefs that had allowed penal welfare to thrive and had enabled it to reconcile the tension between societal and personal responsibility fell apart as well. In offering an original framework for understanding the success and collapse of penal welfare, this thesis draws heavily on the historiography on British secularisation that has emerged throughout the last one and half decades. However, studying penal welfare also offers ways of challenging some of the understandings generated by the scholarship – not just on secularisation – but also on the welfare state and its relationship to voluntary religious organisations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Dr Magnus Bo Niklasson
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:44
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 10:44
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17346

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