Introduction: Penal Institutions and their Hybridizations "In Action"

Continuities and Discontinuities

Keywords: criminal justice institutions, sociopenal continuum, ethnography, hybridization


The introduction to this dossier traces the main divisions, ambivalences, and forms of hybridization that cut across and shape the criminal justice system, both in Switzerland and internationally. The text therefore invites us to question the relationship between the penal state and the welfare state, between punishment, rehabilitation, and risk management, and between prison and non-custodial sentences asking: how do these seemingly distinct areas empirically come together to constitute a “sociopenal continuum”? We discuss the theoretical relevance of the concept of hybridization for an understanding of the penal field, as well as the methodological tools useful for its analysis. Finally, we propose three forms of hybridization, in dialogue with the contributions to this dossier: the first form is apparent when two institutions pursuing distinct missions are called upon to collaborate in order to deal with the same population; the second emerges when two paradigms for intervention compete with each other within the same institutional framework, resulting in intertwining logics of action; the third can be observed in the trajectories of the population of criminal justice institutions, marked by a diverse range of measures for intervention (whether social, judicial, or therapeutic).

How to Cite
Bugnon, Géraldine, Arnaud Frauenfelder, and Armelle Weil. 2020. “Introduction: Penal Institutions and Their Hybridizations ‘In Action’: Continuities and Discontinuities”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 25 (September):8-29.