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Crime, Punishment and the Prison in China
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Crime, Punishment and the Prison in China (Hardback)

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An examination of the enormous changes in Chinese society in the first half of the 20th century through the lens of the Chinese prison system. More than a simple history of prison rules or penal administration, the text offers a social and cultural analysis of the Chinese prison system that explores the profound effects and lasting repercussions of superimposing Western-derived models of repentance and rehabilitation on traditional categories of crime and punishment. Frank Dikotter explores penal reform as a radical modern tool to achieve a traditional Chinese vision of social cohesion and the rule of virtue. He also offers insights into daily life behind bars. A world of petty villains, abusive guards, ambitious wardens and idealist reformers is revealed, giving flesh and bone to the more general story of the prison in China. Based on research and different sources, this is a cultural history of crime and of the prison, opening a window into a little-known aspect of late-19th- and early-20th-century China.

Frank Dikotter is Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine in China and Director of the Contemporary China Institute at SOAS, University of London. His previous books, all published by Hurst, are The Discourse of Race in Modern China; Sex, Culture and Modernity in Modern China; The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan (ed.) and Imperfect Conceptions: Medical Knowledge, Birth Defects and Eugenics in China.

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