عنوان مقاله [English]
Regardless of the time, historical developments of the death penalty in America and Iran, is indicative two fundamental transformations in execution modes of the death penalty.On the one hand, capital punishment was removed from the public arena and went behind the prison walls and on the other hand, application of new methods of killing is considered by policy makers to reduce the risk of pain. Such alterations are typically attributed to achievements of penology, the primary task of which is to identify the most effective sanctions for criminals in order to better serve the purposes of punishment. Although the most studies of death penalty are carried out in penology area, these examination has an internal approach to criminal developments and these fundamental changes has nothing to do with society. But the sociology of punishment claims that better understanding punishment needs investigate the relationship the idea of punishment and other social phenomena and forces and trace its social roots. Punishment, which in criminal law is considered as state's response to violations of law, sociologically is studied as a phenomenon which must be explored in the broad context of community.
In sociological study of punishment, as in other disciplines, different approaches to society could produce different analyzes of the criminal response. A Durkheimian structural and holistic view, perceives deep relationship between punishment and social values and refers to the effective role of community’ sensibilities in the developments of methods of penal practice. The Durkheimian perspective interprets punishment as a cultural pheromone. Roughly speaking, Norbert Elias's ideas of civilization process can be considered a kind in line with the Durkheimian theory. From Elias's point of view, evolution of individual sensitivities gave rise to transformation of culture and these developments can be clearly seen in the mirror of punishment. In sum, Durkheim's and Elias's ideas are “cultural explanations of punishment”.
On the other hand, sociologists such as Michel Foucault and Max Weber, are not so optimistic about penal alterations. According to Weber, the scientific advancements, development of bureaucratic institutions, and the human distancing from spiritual values have led to instrumental rationality - the use of the instruments to achieve the highest benefit - in all aspects of social life, including the type of imposition of criminal sanctions. Thus, the method of executing of the death penalty is not the result of cultural developments; rather, these new methods are the result of the development of new technologies and distancing from the basic questions about the nature of punishment. In the same vein, Foucault argues that punishment is important part of more broad strategy power and social control. Accordingly, evolution in methods of punishments is indication of change in the form and content of discipline and control, and it should not be interpreted as humanization penal practices. Likewise. Foucault argues that modes of punishment did not change just because of the humanitarian concerns of reformists, the use of knowledge and technologies in modern methods of punishment are all in line with the preservation of power relations in modern society, which in turn masked the real aims of punishment. This recent analysis in the sociology of punishment is known as "punishments and technologies of power".