Perceptions of punishment: a mixed methods approach to understanding differing levels of punitive attitudes
Abstract: The purpose of this paper was to contribute to an increased knowledge of the punitive attitudes of Swedish 18-30 year olds, and more specifically which potential factors could possibly explain why people have the different levels of punitive attitude that they do as, well as how these factors impact people’s level of punitive attitude. The variables that were chosen to be explored further were political ideology as well as social and moral cohesion. A mixed methods approach was utilized in order to collect the data, where the qualitative method consisted of interviews and the quantitative method consisted of an online survey. Theories from Heider, Maruna and King, as well as Boeckmann and Tyler were used to analyze the data. The study concludes that political ideology and social cohesion seem to have a small correlation with punitive attitudes, whereas moral cohesion does not. However, more research is needed in order to establish whether there are any actual correlations between punitive attitude and polical ideology, and moral and social cohesion. The study also concludes that the correlation between political ideology and punitive attitudes could be a cause of different ideologies having different views of the causes of criminality, leading to different views of punishment and the purposes of it. It also concludes that the correlation between punitive attitude and moral and social cohesion could be explained by the perception that severe sanctions clarify and reinforce the moral and social norms and values of society to a greater extent than milder sanctions.
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