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Dr David Scott

Profile summary

Professional biography

David Scott has worked at The Open University since September 2016. He has been a visiting scholar at a number of Universities around the world (including in Italy, USA, New Zealand) and was recently a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada.

David gained an MA (with distinction) in Crime, Deviance and Social Policy from Lancaster University in 1996 and was awarded a doctorate in 2006 under the supervision of Professor Barbara Hudson from the University of Central Lancashire.

He is the founder of the 'Weavees Uprising Bicentennial Committee' which is working towards collective remembrance of the 1826 Chatterton Massacre and other avoidable and premature deaths in east Lancashire during the 1826-7 economic recession.

Research interests

David's research interests include ethical response-ability for the harms of the capitalist state; the ethical foundations of penal abolitionism and the historical relationship between abolitionism and socialist ethics; and anti-carceral responses to poverty and social harm.

 

Books

His books include Against Imprisonment (Waterside Press, 2018), Controversial Issues in Prisons (Open University Press, 2010) and Why Prison? (Cambridge University Press, 2013).  David is, with Michael Coyle, co-editor of the International Handbook of Penal Abolition (Routledge, 2021). His latest single authored book is For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics (published by Waterside Press in November 2020). 

David is currently co-editing a book for Palagrave (forthcoming, 2023) with Joe Sim entited Demystifing Power, Crime and Social Harm discussing the life and work of Steven Box and editing two further books on the historical diversity of penal abolitionism. The first, (forthcoming, 2023, Bristol University Press) is entitled Abolitionist Voices: Ideas, Traditions and Dilemmas and explores different abolitionist traditions in historical context. The second (under review for publication) is focused on socialist and anarchist visions of penal abolition in the late Eighteenth and early  Nineteenth Centuries.

David is also working on a single authored monograph on historical witnessing, state killings and social murder in east Lancashire, for publication in 2025. 

A full list of his publcations can be found here: https://dscott.academia.edu/

Selection of single authored articles and chapters (2006-2022)

Scott, D, (2022) "Escaping the logic of crime" in Piche, J (editor and translator) Pain in Vain Toronto: Red Quill Books 

Scott, D. (2021) “Could penal abolitionism work?” in Sociology Review (September, 2021)

Scott, D. (2020) “Do prisons work?’ in Sociology Review (September, 2020)

Scott, D. (2020) "Ordinary rebels, everyone: activist scholarhsip and the penal aboltionist as an insider-outsider" in Hart, E. (ed) (2020) Resisting the Punitive State London: Pluto

Scott, D. (2019) "Penal abolitionism as a philosophy of hope: an alternative futures for public engagement" in Henne, K. and Shah, R. (eds) (2019) ​The Routledge Handbook of Public Criminologies ​London: Routledge

Scott, D. (2018) "Saying NO to the mega prison" in Justice, Power and Resistance Volume 2, No. 1

Scott, D. (2018) “The ethics and poitics of criminological research” in Davis, P. and Francis, P. (eds) Doing Criminological Research London: Sage

Scott, D. (2017) "What is to be done? Thinking about abolitonist alternatives" in Prison Service Journal ​No 231, May 2017

Scott, D. (2016) “Hearing the voice of the estranged Other: abolitionist ethical hermeneutics” in Kriminolosches Journal (September 2016)

Scott, D. (2016) “Regarding rights for the Other: abolitionism and human rights from below” in Weber, L. (ed) The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights London: Routledge

Scott, D. (2015) “Walking among the graves of the living: reflections of an abolitionist on doing prison research” in Drake, D., Earle, R. and Sloan, J. (eds) Handbook of Prison Ethnography London: Palgrave

Scott, D. (2015) “Critical research values and the sociological imagination:lessons from researching prison officers” in Frauley, J. (ed) (2015) C. Wright Mills and the Criminological Imagination Aldershot: Ashgate

Scott, D. (2014) “Playing the get out of jail card for free: creating an abolitionist based consensus?” in Canning, V. (ed) (2014) Sites of Confinement London: EG Press

Scott, D. (2013) “The politics of prisoner legal rights” in Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 51, No 3 [July 2013]

Scott, D. (2013) “Visualising an abolitionist real utopia: principles, policy and praxis” in Malloch, M. & Munro, B. (eds) (2013) Crime, Critique and Utopia: Themes for a Critical Criminology London: Palgrave

Scott, D. (2012) “Guarding the ghosts of time: working personalities and the prison officer-prisoner relationship” in Prison Service Journal, Number 201 May 2012 pp 18-23

Scott, D. (2012) "Sympathy for the devil: human rights and empathetic construction of suffering" in Criminal Justice Matters, May 2012

Scott, D. (2011) “’That’s not my name’: prisoner deference and disciplinarian prison officers” in Criminal Justice Matters, June 2011

Scott, D. (2010) “Why didn’t prisoner rights come home?” in Criminal Justice Matters, December 2010

Scott, D. (2009) “Punishment” pp 83-102 in Hucklesby, A. & Wahidin, A. (eds) (2009) Criminal Justice Oxford: Oxford University Press

Scott, D. (2008) “Creating ghosts in the penal machine: the prison officer moral universe and the techniques of denial” in Bennett, J., Crewe, B., and Wahidin, A.(eds) (2008) Understanding Prison Staff Devon: Willan

Scott, D. (2007) “The changing face of the English prisons: a critical review of the aims of imprisonment” in Jewkes, Y. (ed) (2007) Handbook of Prisons London: Routledge

Scott, D. (2007) “New labour, New legitimacy: the ‘making punishment work agenda’ and the limits of penal reform” pp 71-81 in Roberts, R. & McMahon. W. (eds) (2007) Social Justice, Criminal Justice London: Harm & Society Foundation

Scott, D. (2006) "The caretakers of punishment: prison officers and the rule of law" in Prison Service Journal November 2006

Teaching interests

David has taught criminology to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 1994 and has worked previously at Edge Hill University, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, the University of Central Lancashire and Liverpool John Moores University.

David was Chiar of DD105 Introduction to Criminology (Chair in production 2016-2020 and Chair in presentation, 2020-2021) and formerly Qualification Lead of Q57 Social Policy and Criminology.

Impact and engagement

David has undertaken interviews for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live and a number of local radio stations such as BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Essex.  He has also featured on national television, including contributions to  BBC1 The Big Questions, BBC Wales Today and ITV News. He also recently contributed a viewpoint on prison abolition to BBC Ideas.

David is co-founder and former director of the independent publisher EG Press.  He has also made a number of short films and documentaries for The Open University.  His short film (made in collaboration with Hamlett Films) "Grenfell Tower and Social Murder" was nominated for Best Film at the Learning on Screen Awards (2018) and nominated for the Best Research Film at the AHRC Film Awards (2018) (for awards won by this film see below).  Another film made with Hamlett, 'Advertising, Brandalism and Subvertising', was nomited for Best Educational Film at the Learning on Screen Awards (2019) and in April 2019 his OpenLearn film ' Why we should abolish imprisonment for childtren and young people' launched a week of action calling for the abolition of child prisons.

David has submitted evidence to a number of Parliamentary Committees and Official Inquiries. His research has been cited in the House of Parliament (see Hansard, 25th Janaury 2017) and also in HoC Briefing Papers on Prisons and Punishment (November 2016). David presented the case for the abolition of child life sentences in the House of Commons in November 2017.

He is currently producing a mini-documentary with Open Learn entitled "Chatterton:Riot, Fight or Massacre?' and is engaging with members of the local community in north east Lancashire  as part of his work towards the ethical witnessing and remembrance of the 1826 handloom weavers uprising. 

Recent blogs for the Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC) include:

https://oucriminology.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/prisons-systematically-generate-suffering-and-death-thinking-beyond-reform/

https://oucriminology.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/bloodbaths-and-prison-staff-considering-the-actual-state-of-our-prisons/

https://oucriminology.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/prisons-places-of-harm-and-dehabilitation/

His research has been highlighted by OU News on a number of occassions

http://www.open.ac.uk/research/main/news/prison-violence-not-about-staffing

http://ounews.co/arts-social-sciences/society-politics/prison-violence-not-staffing-theyve-always-dangerous-prisoners/

David has contributed short papers to independent media forums such as Open Democracy and The Conversation.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/openjustice/prisons-places-of-harm-and-dehabilitation

https://theconversation.com/prison-violence-is-not-about-staffing-theyve-always-been-dangerous-for-prisoners-68950

He has also published articles in the national newspapers The Independent and The Guardian

http://www.independent.co.uk/author/david-scott-0

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/01/to-cut-jail-suicides-cut-the-prison-population

David contributed to the 2017 documentary 'Injustice' and also participated in the groundbreaking documentary "Punishment: A Failed Social Experiment" (directed by Dale Hallat and first screened 2012).

External collaborations

David has worked with numerous external organisations over the last 30 years.  These include INQUEST, a national organising supporting bereaved families of those who die in state custody and lobby government for humanitarian interventions the protect human life.

The film 'Grenfell Tower and Social Murder' (The Open University, 2018), which was made by David in collaboration with Hamlet Films, was awarded four major awards

2018 Life Changing Award, British Documentary Film Festival 

2019 Besr Edicational and Training Film, Evcom Gold Clarion Awards

2019 Best Social Welfare Film, Evcom Gold Clarion Awards

2020 World Gold Medal at New Yourk Film And TV Awards

https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/viewfinder/articles/grenfell-tower-and-social-murder/

David was the coordinator of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control from 2009-2012. He is a former editor / associate editor of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice  and is the co-founding editor of the International Journal Justice, Power and Resistance.  
 

 

David is editor of the Routledge Book Series Penal Abolition and Transformative Justice 

https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Studies-in-Penal-Abolition-and-Transformative-Justice/book-series/PATJ

Publications

Could Penal Abolitionism Work? (2021)
Scott, David
Sociological Review Magazine ((In Press))


Do prisons work? (2020-09)
Scott, David
Sociology Review, 30(1) (pp. 18-21)


Saying NO To the Mega Prison (2018-04)
Scott, David
Justice, Power and Resistance, 2(1) (pp. 204-221)


Hearing the voice of the estranged Other: Abolitionist ethical hermeneutics (2016)
Scott, David
Kriminolosches Journal, 3


The Politics of Prisoner Legal Rights (2013)
Scott, David
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 52(3) (pp. 233-250)


Sympathy for the devil: human rights and empathetic construction of suffering (2012)
Scott, David
Criminal Justice Matters, 88(1) (pp. 8-9)


Why didn't prisoner rights come home? (2010)
Scott, David
Criminal Justice Matters, 82(1) (pp. 36-37)


The caretakers of punishment: prison officers and the rule of law (2006)
Scott, D.
Prison Service Journal, 168 (pp. 14-19)


For Abolition: Essays on Prisons and Socialist Ethics (2020-11-05)
Scott, David
ISBN : 9781909976825 | Publisher : Waterside Press


Against Imprisonment: An Anthology of Abolitionist Essays (2018-02-28)
Scott, David
ISBN : 9781909976542 | Publisher : Waterside Press


Emancipatory Politics and Praxis: An anthology of essays written for the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, 2013–16 (2016-07-26)
Scott, David; Bell, Emma; Gilmore, Joanna; Gosling, Helena; Moore, J. M. and Spear, Faith
ISBN : 978-1-911439-01-1 | Publisher : EG Press | Published : London


Overcoming obstacles to abolition and challenging the myths of imprisonment (2021-03)
Drake, Deborah H. and Scott, David
In: Coyle, M. and Scott, D. eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition (pp. 411-420)
ISBN : 978-113835409-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


Introduction: The Six Hues of Penal Abolition (2021-03)
Coyle, M. J. and Scott, D.
In: Coyle, M. J. and Scott, D. eds. The International Handbook of Penal Abolition
ISBN : 9780429425035 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


Introduction: the six hues of penal abolitionism (2021-03)
Coyle, Michael J. and Scott, David
In: Coyle, M. and Scott, D. eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition (pp. 1-12)
ISBN : 978-113835409-8 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


Abolitionism as a philosophy of hope: ‘Inside-outsiders’ and the reclaiming of democracy (2020-02-04)
Scott, D.
In: Henne, K. and Shah, R. eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Public Criminology
Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


Ordinary rebels, everyone: abolitionist activist scholars and resisting the mega prison (2019-11-20)
Scott, David
In: Hart, Emily Luise; Greener, Joe and Moth, Rich eds. Resist the Punitive State: Grassroots Struggles Across Welfare, Housing, Education and Prisons
ISBN : 9780745339528 | Publisher : Pluto Press (In Press) | Published : London


Penal Agnosis and Historical Denial: Problematising ‘Common Sense’ Understandings of Prison Officers and Violence in Prison (2018-10-15)
Scott, David
In: Barton, Alana and Davis, Howard eds. Ignorance, Power and Harm: Agnotology and the Criminological Imagination. Critical Criminological Perspectives (pp. 213-238)
ISBN : 978-3-319-97342-5 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London


Prison Abolition in Question(s) (2018-08-15)
Drake, Deborah H. and Scott, David
In: Pavarini, Massimo and Ferrari, Livio eds. No Prison (pp. 209-220)
ISBN : 978-1911439134 | Publisher : EG Press Ltd. | Published : Capel Dewi, Wales


Haunted by the Presence of Death: Prisons, Abolitionism and the Right to Life (2018-08-10)
Scott, David
In: Stanley, Elizabeth ed. Human Rights and Incarceration: Critical Explorations. Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology (pp. 129-151)
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London


The Politics and Ethics of Criminological Research (2018)
Scott, David
In: Davis, Pamela and Francis, Peter eds. Doing Criminological Research (3rd Edition) (pp. 137-160)
ISBN : 9781473902725 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London


Regarding rights for the Other: abolitionism and human rights from below (2016-08-12)
Scott, David
In: Weber, Leanne; Fishwick, Elaine and Marmo, Marinella eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights (pp. 50-62)
ISBN : 9781138931176 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon


Critical Research Values and C. Wright Mills' Sociological Imagination: Learning Lessons from Researching Prison Officers (2015-11-06)
Scott, David
In: Frauley, Jon ed. C. Wright Mills and the Criminological Imagination: Prospects for Creative Inquiry. Classical and Contemporary Social Theory (pp. 185-200)
ISBN : 9781472414748 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot


Walking amongst the Graves of the Living: Reflections about Doing Prison Research from an Abolitionist Perspective (2015)
Scott, David
In: Drake, Deborah H.; Earle, Rod and Sloan, Jennifer eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography. Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology (pp. 40-58)
ISBN : 978-1-349-68058-0 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : London


Playing The Get Out Of Jail For Free Card: Creating A New 'Abolitionist Consensus'? (2014-10-13)
Scott, David
In: Canning, Victoria ed. Sites of Confinement (p 65)
ISBN : 978-0-9511708-6-1 | Publisher : EG Press | Published : London


Visualising an abolitionist real utopia: principles, policy and praxis (2013)
Scott, D.
In: Malloch, M. and Munro, B. eds. Crime, Critique and Utopia: Themes for a Critical Criminology
Publisher : Palgrave | Published : London


Punishment (2009-06-25)
Scott, David
In: Hucklesby, Anthea and Wahidin, Azrini eds. Criminal Justice (pp. 83-102)
ISBN : 978-0199215546 | Publisher : Oxford University Press


New Labour, New Legitimacy? The ‘making punishment work’ agenda and the limits of penal reform (2007-11-26)
Scott, David
In: Roberts, Rebecca and McMahon, Will eds. Social justice and criminal justice (pp. 71-81)
ISBN : 978-0-9548903-3-9 | Publisher : Harm & Society Foundation | Published : London


Creating ghosts in the penal machine: the prison officer moral universe and the techniques of denial (2007-11-01)
Scott, David
In: Bennett, Jamie; Crewe, Ben and Wahidin, Azrini eds. Understanding Prison Staff (pp. 168-186)
ISBN : 9781843922759 | Publisher : Willan Publishing | Published : Devon


The changing face of the English prisons: a critical review of the aims of imprisonment (2007-06-01)
Scott, David
In: Jewkes, Yvonne ed. Handbook on Prisons (pp. 49-72)
ISBN : 9781843921868 | Publisher : Willan Publishing | Published : Devon


The Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition (2021)
Coyle, Michael J. and Scott, David
Coyle, Michael J. and Scott, David eds.
ISBN : 9780429425035 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London