Stan Cohen arrived at Essex in 1972 – and became the 4th Professor of Sociology between 1974 and 1981. He chaired the department between 1974 and 1978, and after this he spent most of his time on leave at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was a kind and influential figure in the in the formative yeas of the department – not least in bringing the sociology of deviance as a critique of criminology to the department. Years later, it was reinstated as ‘criminology’ and now it attracts the largest group of students in the department.
He also was a pioneer in the field of human rights.
Stan left Essex over thirty years ago but he will always be remembered as an intellectual giant and an inspirational force: he changed lives.
There have been many obituaries to Stan.
We have downloaded The Guardian obituary on our obituaries page.
Y0u can also connect up with the oration given when he was awarded an honorary degree at Essex in 2004.
Here is the statement issue from the London School of Economics where he went in 1996 and was Emeritus on his death:
Professor Bridget Hutter, Head of the Department of Sociology, expressed the sorrow of colleagues from the Department upon learning the very sad news that Stan Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at LSE, passed away on the morning of Monday 7 January 2013 after a long illness.
Stan had a long and distinguished career. He grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and was an undergraduate sociology student at the University of Witwatersrand. He left in 1963 for London where he completed his doctorate at the London School of Economics while working as a social worker. He lectured in sociology at the University of Durham and then the University of Essex, where he was Professor of Sociology from 1974.
In 1980, Stan and his family left Britain to live in Israel. He was Director of the Institute of Criminology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and also became active in human rights work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He returned to LSE as a visiting centennial professor in 1994 and in 1996 was appointed Martin White Professor of Sociology. He has received the Sellin-Glueck award from the American Society of Criminology and in 1998 was elected as a fellow of the British Academy.
Stan Cohen has written about criminological theory, prisons, social control, criminal justice policy, juvenile delinquency, mass media, political crime and human rights violations. His books include:
- Images of Deviance (1971);
- Folk Devils and Moral Panics: the making of the mods and rockers (1972);
- Psychological Survival: the experience of long-term imprisonment (with Laurie Taylor) 1973;
- Escape Attempts (with Laurie Taylor), 1977;
- The Manufacture of News (with Jock Young) 1977;
- Social Control and the State (with Andrew Scull) 1983; and
- Visions of Social Control (1985); and Against Criminology (1988).
His most recent book, States of Denial: knowing about atrocities and suffering (Polity Press, 2001), dealt with personal and political reactions to information, images and appeals about inhumanities, cruelty and social suffering. States of Denial was chosen as Outstanding Publication of 2001 by the International Division of the American Society of Criminology and was awarded the 2002 British Academy Book Prize.
The 30th anniversary edition of Cohen’s classic Folk Devils and Moral Panics (Routledge) came out in 2002. In the introduction, he reviewed the uses of the concept of ‘moral panics’ in the 30 years since 1972.
Stan was awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Essex (2004) and Middlesex (2008) and in 2010 was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the LSE. In 2009 he received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the British Society of Criminology.
Bridget Hutter adds: “The Department was so fortunate in having Stan join us in 1996. His health was by then ailing but his intellectual vitality was ever present. He came to us as one of the world’s leading criminologists and his criminological work and theories of social control remain highly influential. Some of us were very privileged to work with Stan, in my case on MSc Criminology in the late 1990s, and also later sharing our experiences of setting up interdisciplinary research centres in the School. We will all miss him and send our condolences and fond memories to his family.”
While in the Department Stan was also absolutely fundamental to the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE in 2000 and establishing a central sociological presence in the human rights field. Stan was a wonderful and generous human being. In many ways, he was the heart of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. He will be deeply missed even as his vision and his work continue to influence and shape the Centre.