Classifying Reactions to Wrongdoing: Taxonomies of Misdeeds, Sanctions, and Aims of Sanctions

By R. Murray Thomas | Go to book overview

7
Foundations of a Sanctions Taxonomy

Not everyone uses the word sanction with the same meaning. Some people apply the term solely to penalties or punishments for wrongdoing. Others, however, extend its use to mean not only punishments but rewards as well. Thus, a teenager either could be assigned unpleasant chores as a punishment for having told lies, or the youth could be permitted to use the family car as a reward for promising not to lie in the future. Both of these consequences could be called sanctions. Still other people broaden the meaning even further to include treatments as well as penalties and rewards. Whereas the word punishment implies consequences the individual finds unpleasant and oppressive, treatment suggests consequences intended to effect an improvement in the person's life by enhancing the individual's skills, knowledge, self-confidence, social relationships, or the like. While offenders may regard some treatments as unpleasant (as when a pupil dislikes a homework assignment), other treatments may be accompanied either by neutral affect or by positive feelings (as when a prison inmate is given an opportunity to learn a vocational skill). Throughout this book, sanction is used in this third, most inclusive sense to mean any sort of consequence a wrongdoer is assigned--punishment, reward, or treatment.


THE STRUCTURE OF THE TAXONOMY

At first glance it might seem desirable to integrate sanctions and aims within the same classification framework. However, a closer look suggests that dividing the two into separate chapters is more reasonable, because a particular sanction or treatment may serve diverse aims, and not everyone has the same aim in mind when proposing a given consequence.

Ways that individuals, groups, or agencies respond to people's transgressions can be categorized under a series of types. In this chapter, types of responses are described in terms of acts. An act is an observable sanction, such as sentencing

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Classifying Reactions to Wrongdoing: Taxonomies of Misdeeds, Sanctions, and Aims of Sanctions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles In Contributions in Psychology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1- Characteristics of Taxonomies 1
  • Conclusion 18
  • 2- Conceptualizing Wrongdoing 21
  • Conclusion 48
  • 3- Classifying Misdeeds 49
  • Conclusion 53
  • 4- Modes of Reasoning About Aims and Sanctions 55
  • Conclusion 76
  • 5- Foundations of an Aims Taxonomy 77
  • Conclusion 113
  • 6- Types of Aims 115
  • Conclusion 126
  • 7- Foundations of a Sanctions Taxonomy 127
  • Conclusion 178
  • 8: Types of Sanctions 179
  • 9- Applications 193
  • Conclusion 201
  • References 203
  • Index 211
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