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Dr David Scott

Profile summary

Professional biography

David Gordon 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.  In 2019 he was 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 'Weavers 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.  This remembrance work has included the naming of those who were killed by solidiers in the uprising and the names of children under the age of 5 who died in the following 12 months. 

Research interests

David's research interests include reflections on our collective ethico-political response-ability for the harms of the capitalist state; the historical relationship between socialist ethics and penal abolitionism; liberative justice and anti-carceral responses to poverty, state-corporate violence and social harm.



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's most recent co-edited book, with Joe Sim, is entited Demystifing Power, Crime and Social Harm  (Palgrave, 2024) discussing the life and work of Steven Box.  He is editing two further books on the historical diversity of penal abolitionism for Bristol University Press. The first is entitled Abolitionist Voices and explores different abolitionist traditions. The second is entitled Envisioning Abolition (with Emma Bell) and is focused on socialist and anarchist visions of penal abolition, largely in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries.