Jan 8 2013

Stan Cohen

Photograph of Professor Stan CohenProfessor 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.

If you would like to post a tribute to Stan; leave your condolences or share any memories you have of him please comment on this post.

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84 Responses to Stan Cohen

  1. Arthur Wadsworth says:

    From Professor Kevin Stenson:

    This is such sad news. I first met Stan when he taught me psychology on a business studies degree at the old Enfield College of Technology. He told me I was not cut out to be a businessman and so should swap to sociology. He helped me do this and I was taught by him, Jock Young and a host of fantastic young lecturers who went on to do great things. Having been a Mod we discussed the finer points of Mod culture at the time.

    Stan was always very encouraging to me over the years. I remember when I was Prof at Middlesex and he came to get a Hon Doctorate. He broke away to come over and give me a big hug, and a tear to my eye – as I have now. Wonderful guy!

    Kevin

  2. Claire Moon says:

    This is desperately sad news, and I am in a state of shock. We all know how hugely important and influential Stan’s work was and will continue to be – first in the field of criminology and later in that of human rights. Many of us also know how vital a figure he was to the emergence, life and direction of the Human Rights Centre at the LSE. In addition, for me (and undoubtedly others) his particular orientation to the question of Palestine/Israel was unflinching, invaluable and brave.

    It was a chance meeting with him that led me to apply for a job in the Sociology Department/Human Rights at the LSE and he became a mentor, friend and inspiration to me from the outset. I was also lucky to have the enormous pleasure of teaching with him and I will never forget how enjoyable (not to mention sometimes hilarious) those sessions were, and how much he inspired the students he taught. He is the only person I knew who could shoehorn the odd genocide joke into a lecture (a controversial privilege he could, rightly, claim). I feel that I will continue to learn from him through his always insightful, elegant and deeply morally engaged writings and will definitely remember some of the very many, and very funny, jokes he told (even if I cannot repeat them…).

    I have alot to thank Stan for, and his imprint on my thinking and writing is indelible. His passing is extremely sad and this is a very great loss indeed.

    Claire Moon
    Department of Sociology/Centre for the Study of Human Rights
    LSE

  3. Francesca Klug says:

    I first became aware of Stan’s ground-breaking work as a Sociology undergraduate at the LSE in the mid 1970s so it was a privilege for me to work with him when I moved to the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the LSE in 2001. Stan was a leading light of the Centre and hugely important in extablishing its multi-disciplinary approach. States of Denial is to my mind one of the most important human rights texts in recent years. Stan’s outspoken and principled stance on Israel/Palestine was inspirational to many and he will be deeply missed in Jewish progressive circles as well as by all who knew him in the academic world. My warm condolences to Stan’s family and friends. Francesca.

  4. Carol Harlow says:

    It is with great sadness that I learn of Stan’s death. he was a warm and generous colleague in addition to his fine scholarship. Moreover, he bore with patience and humour a long illness – a lesson to us all!

  5. Noortje Denkers says:

    I am very sad to hear this news. Stan Cohen inspired me in 1999 to write my MSc Sociology thesis on child labor. I have since worked with the ILO’s child labor program where I apply a lot of the knowledge and inspiration I got from him while writing my thesis. He was also an important figure for my father, who was an important criminologist in the Netherlands. My condolences to his family and friends.

  6. Anne Page, Governor LSE says:

    Having known Stan since we both arrived here in the UK from South Africa in the early sixties, and were active in the anti-apartheid movement, it was a special pleasure to be involved with him, Antony Giddens and others in the very first talks about the LSE’s Centre for Human Rights. And later also to be on the Nominations Committee when his Honorary Fellowship at the LSE was agreed. His generous spirit, intellect and smile for years seemed able to overcome the tribulation of his failing health. They will long be remembered with love and respect. Hamba kahle, Stan.

  7. Kieran McEvoy says:

    This is a profoundly sad announcement. However, one nice element of the reaction to Stan’s death has been to see and hear from so many colleagues, former students and friends about how he touched their lives. I didnt know him as well as many, but for what its worth, this is how he touched mine.

    I first read Folk Devils and Moral Panics as a very disgruntled law undergraduate suddenly enlivened by something called criminology. I was inspired. In the days before amazon, I read everything of his I could get – harassing the university library staff for inter-library loans. I realised the news was manufactured, I began having visions of social control and despite having only recently become a convert, I I then found I was against criminology. I heard that he was also a bit of an activist. Stan became my hero.

    My first job was in an NGO and with my colleague Brian Gormally I authored a report examining prisoner release as part of conflict transformation in a range of places including Israel\Palestine. A while later I received a hand-written note from Stan telling me he liked the report and was using it for teaching. I remember jumping around the office showing the note to people who didn’t know who he was. I was as happy as a pup with two tails.

    Later I became an academic and Stan agreed to be one of the externals on my PhD. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but mine lived up to expectations. He was lovely, warm, funny, encouraging and of course, very insightful. We kept in touch, he read my stuff when asked, wrote references and basically was the kind of mentor that all of us would wish to be.

    I am not sure if my critical faculties were as sharp as they should have been in teaching his stuff. A few years back as I waxed lyrical (again) about Stan in general and the merits of States of Denial in particular some wags in a transitional justice class stood up in unison and bowed saying ‘Stan Cohen, we are not worthy’. I was too embarassed to tell him that story, I am sure he wouldn’t have approved.

    Probably like a lot of academics I have at times had to defend (particularly to human activist friends and colleagues) the practical utility of what we do. Maybe Belfast in particular can be very unforgiving of academic pretensions. In a tight corner, I would always turn to Stan Cohen. Deploying Stan was always the clincher in making an argument as to how a smart, properly theorised, political and engaged academic could tilt the axis a bit. I always knew I had a foothold, when the retort was ‘ok, fair enough, but apart from Cohen, which of you are actually relevant or useful….’.

    Of course lots of academics do good stuff that is theoretical, political, engaged and relevant in both criminology and human rights. But to paraphrase Carly Simon, nobody did it better than Stan Cohen.

    Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh aige

    Kieran McEvoy, Queens University Belfast

  8. Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic says:

    It is very sad news hearing that Stan left us. I learned so much from his work and from our discussions on several occasions we met. Reading States of denials was great learning experience for me and enormous inspiration for my research and activism on issues of truth and reconciliation in Serbia. After meeting Stan in LSE in 2001, I brought States of denials with me, with an idea to make it translated and published in Serbia. That happened very soon and since then many researchers, students and activists have been learning from it.

    Another occasion that I remember was when Stan invited me in 2002 to talk to his PhD students in Center for human rights at LSE. It was such an honor and fantastic experience, not only in terms of lecture itself and follow-up discussion, but also for having to know Stan more. He surprised me a lot being such a modest and caring person.

    When I mentioned to him that his work on denial is sine qua non for developing mechanism for dealing with a past in Serbia, he modestly said that he did not even dare to deal with truth and reconciliation issues since they are too complex.

    Another occasion we met was in Belgrade, several years later, when he, already quite ill, participated at the seminar on transitional justice and gave a lecture at Faculty of philosophy in Belgrade. The technical equipment did not work, and Stan absolutely impressed everyone by giving a fascinating lecture without using any notes.

    I am proud of having chance to meet Stan in person. He was such a unique personality, but what I liked the most in himself and in his writing, it is his activism and deep commitment for change and making this world better place for all.

    Stan will continue to live through his work – in our lectures, conferences, readings, writings and discussions with students. But still, European criminology and criminologists will miss him very much.

    I hope that his contribution to analyses of state crime and human rights abuses will be continued by new critical research on present day crime and crime policy issues world wide. Since, Stan’s views of social sciences as something that “thrives best and depends upon a spirit of skepticism, doubt and uncertainty” and that criminologists always have to be prepared to deconstruct common knowledge, especially when it tends to confirm and strengthen the penal state, have perhaps been never more important to us as criminologists in today’s Europe.

    Prof. Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic
    President of European Society of Criminology

  9. Peter Manning, LSE Human Rights says:

    I was terribly sad to hear that Stan passed away. He was an inspirational academic and such a warm, kind hearted person. I was fortunate enough to have worked a little with Stan at the start of my PhD, helping to collect some material for a follow up to States of Denial (though I was mainly just put to cat feeding duties). He always had time to talk about the thesis and his suggestions were always eminently helpful. I was extremely lucky to have had his input.

    I know that I (and many, many others) will continue to benefit from Stan’s wisdom for years to come.

  10. Stan will be greatly missed by so many of us who knew him personally and through his many writings. I was privileged to be taught by Stan in my second year as a Sociology student at Essex when he was introducing new ways to think about ‘deviance’ and social theory in general. I always remember his playful scepticism about the value of the Althusserian structuralism that gripped those of us on the left way back then. Our contacts later were through social encounters with South African exiles in London and still later I have good memories of rich discussions over human rights and transitional justice even when Stan was in the grip of his fatal illness. His books and articles are classics and long may they survive him.

  11. Hyo-Je Cho says:

    I am deeply saddened by the news of Stan Cohen’s death, although I have known that he has been ill for quite a while. Having come from the LSE myself unfortunately I never had a chance to actually meet or be taught by him; it was through the translation of his major work “States of Denial” into Korean that I really appreciated the breadth of his scholarship and profound insight. The Korean edition came out in 2009 to wide critical acclaim, so much so that the second set of prints had to be instantly arranged, a very rare occasion for academic publication. His analysis of the social-psychological mechanism of denial certainly struck a cord among many concerned citizens in this country where the issue of past history still haunts the public. In fact I have just examined a Masters thesis on the denial of the human rights perpetrators and their established behavioral pattern (in Korean context), explicitly based on the Cohen’s typology. Time and again I meet students and readers who say how important Cohen’s work was in shaping their understanding of the centrality of sociological thinking in human rights discourse. Several commentators in this page mentioned his wisdom, warmth, and humanity infused with countless jokes and humors. Let me finish with Laurie Taylor’s recollection of the classic Jewish telegram Cohen told of: “Start worrying. Details to follow’.”

    Hyo-Je Cho
    SungKongHoe University, Seoul

  12. Anne Brunton says:

    Just heard the terribly sad news of Stanley Cohen’s passing. As people know he was very unwell and I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years but he was incredibly kind to me whilst I was at the LSE. He even suggested I should say I worked for him directly and gave me a few hours work so I could ‘beef up’ my CV. As he rightly said ‘it often seemed to help people get a job.’ Always a gent. The brilliant and unforgettable Stan Cohen. Not to mention his work – most notably States of Denial and Folk Devils and Moral Panics. The latter so famous as to have entered modern day lexicon and of course winner of the BSC lifetime achievement award. Stan to me when I broached with him the possibility of this award ‘I’m not dead yet.’ Bless him – very sad world without him in it he will be sorely missed.

  13. Mike Nellis says:

    The only context in which I ever met Stan was on the RAP (Radical Alternatives to Prison) Nucleus group in the late 1970s and I was bowled over then by his erudition, so lightly worn, and his strategic good sense on penal matters. RAP was using prison movies as a way of engaging people in debate at the time, and I remember him introducing me to Lenny Bruce’s sketch on the subject, when I wrote the pamphlet for our first season of such movies at London’s Scala cinema. More prosaicly, I don’t think he ever forgot what it was like being a social worker with radical aspirations (which he had been, and I then was), and quite apart from the inspiration I got from reading his article “It’s Alright for You to Talk: political and sociological manifestos for social work action”, I’m pretty sure the several cohorts of trainee probation officers to whom I recommended it years later benefitted too. An immeasurable loss, but a guaranteed legacy.

  14. Emma Ryan says:

    I had the privilege of seeing Stan speak at the 2011 York Deviancy Conference. In fact, I travelled from Melbourne, Australia specifically to do so. He was just as brave, brilliant and inspiring as one might expect. I will treasure the notes I took that day.

    As these posts demonstrate – his influence is global. I am extremely saddened by the news that he has passed away, and I doubt there is a single critical criminologist in Australia who will not feel Stan’s loss. Still, we are fortunate that he will continue to inspire us through the amazing body of work he has left for us. Let’s forge on with our own work and make him proud.

  15. Stanley Cohen was a huge influence on me, as a student and then, as a journalist. I read his folk devils stuff and work on media in Dublin City University, which confirmed much of what I suspected , but expressed more fluently than most academics. ‘Escape Attempts’ I read subsequently, which was a book which challenged my thinking on ‘freedom’.
    Stan’s lasting influence on me was ‘States of Denial’, not alone for the force of its arguments or the beauty of his weapon, his majestic prose, but for passing Orwell’s great test, as best expressed by Conor Cruise O’Brien in his marvelleous 1961 essay: “You knew what he was saying was right, because you winced when you heard it.” Stanley Cohen challenged good people to become better people, by thinking more clearly, by acting more honestly and by attempting to spot the contradictions in their positions.
    Based on my slack-jawed reading of ‘States of Denial’, I wrote an editorial for Fortnight, the Belfast magazine I then edited, which is, sadly, offline and defunct, but drew some attention to his arguments to the chronic bullshit them prevelent in a peace process overseen at the time by Peter Mandelson. ’nuff said.
    However, in tribute to the influence Professor Cohen held on my conscience, I have linked above to a piece informed by his example, by way of modest tribute.
    Respectfully in his memory, and fraternally to those partly shaped by his mind, and especially to those who knew and loved him.

    John O’Farrell
    Belfast.

  16. Mervyn Humphreys says:

    This is the sad news that many half expected but most hoped would be delayed by at least another year.
    I first came across Stan’s work on social reactions to deviance in the late 60s and started seriously following his intellectual path from his first publications in Penguin books in 1971. He was grappling with a series of compelling issues about the role of an engaged, critical social science and its relation to public policy, especially in matters of deviance and criminal justice.
    I particularly enjoyed his work on psychological survival as it seemed to be both theoretically coherent and practical in terms of coping with adverse or extreme environments. It helped, of course, that his writing was a pleasure to read and his subject matter was relevant to a range of interests and concerns.
    I happened to be working in Melbourne in 1993 when Stan was invited to receive an award from the University and deliver a lecture on states of denial. Of course, I had to attend and tell Stan about the many links between his work and the fate of the particularly disadvantaged group for whom I was a campaigner and adviser. We could have talked all night and he kindly sent me a copy of the lecture when he returned to Jerusalem. When States of Denial was published in 2001, I included key sections of his arguments in a submission to an Australian Senate inquiry which was reported in the national newspapers as complaining that government officials were in a state of denial about child abuse in residential institutions. This is now the subject of a Royal Commission so there is hope that denial can sometimes lead to acknowledgement and recognition.Of course, it is rarely a quick or straightforward process.
    But Stan certainly helped me to unravel competing claims and shine a light on the difficult and complex route to a measure of social justice for those who knew about human rights abuses as unwilling subjects of social policy experiments.
    Stan had an element of 60s culture about him – sceptical, funny, involved etc -
    so a line from a song of that period seems appropriate, although it seriously underestimates Stan’s enduring and consistent contribution:
    I want it said when I am gone
    I moved the world just one step on

  17. Keri Landau says:

    A great academic with a heart. Even towards the end of his life in the nursing home run by Jewish Care, he had a sparkle in his eye. I saw him there several times reading the newspaper even when he could no longer speak. Having read his work whilst studying at Goldsmiths and subsqeuently hearing about his work at LSE, it was an honour to have finally met him.

  18. Terence Morris says:

    I had the great privilege of knowing Stan from when he was a graduate student in the 1960′s and to play a very small part in helping him in his early days. His work on the Mods and Rockers came about quite by chance – but what a chance that was!
    My memories of him are many, but one is very clear. When he was at the Hebrew University he took a group of us out to meet some Palestinian lawyers in Ramullah.
    There I learned in what high esteem he was held among them.
    Committed to the inalienable values of peace and justice, Stan could speak out with a wisdom and authority like to that of the Prophets of old. When suffering came to him personally he bore it with fortitude.
    There is not the least doubt but that in the fields of criminology and deviance his work towers above the intellectual landscape. His commitment to the cause of human rights numbers him among the Righteous.
    It is to be hoped that LSE will recognise him as among its outstanding teachers. His name deserves to be remembered in perpetuity.

  19. David Scott says:

    I am so very sad to hear this news. I only knew Stan for a few years but I will never forget his kind and supportive words when I became coordinator of the european group. His advice was invaluable. I will also never forget when he came to Preston in 2009 – greenbank lecture theatre has been ‘the stan cohen lecture theatre’ in my mind ever since. His work has been, and continues to be, a total inspiration and ‘states of denial’ perhaps the most important book I have ever read. His work and spirit will live on and continue to inspire future generations. It must.

  20. Rod Earle, The Open University says:

    A true scholar and a gentle man whose work, in particular Visions of Social Control, inspired me. Everything he wrote seemed to make you think, and think harder but the way he wrote it made it easier, or at least possible to do so in ways you’d never have imagined otherwise. I’m so sad he’s gone.

  21. Stan’s death is a real loss. A great light has gone out. For us at B’Tselem, Stan played a formative role, as a board member, researcher and academic. Soon after the organization’s founding, he together with Daphna Golan wrote our groundbreaking first report on torture in interrogations of Palestinians. In the 1990s, his research galvinized B’Tselem’s thinking on its engagement with the Israeli public. And his influence continues. It is not an exageration to say that I refer to Stan and his work every week, whether it be the idea of a moral panic, the fetishization of the human rights report, or the various forms of government and public denial regarding atrocities. Stan provided us with crucial frameworks of analysis and pushed us to be smarter and more effective in our promotion of human rights.
    May his memory be a blessing. His ideas live on in all the people and organizations he influenced and inspired, both in Israel and around the world.

  22. David Chaney says:

    Stan Cohen was a quiet, intensely sincere man who sought always to use his intellectual work in support of social emancipation rather than as a means of personal advancement. He cared and thought deeply about how better to understand the hurts we inflict through forms of social order. A rare voice to be treasured.

  23. Ron Dudai says:

    Stan wrote once about how engaged academics need to combine three things – political commitment, intellectual scepticism, and humanitarian help – and how impossible it is to achieve all three. But his own life and work is a shining example that for rare individuals such as he was it is indeed possible to do all three – while also continually telling jokes.

    I first heard of Stan when I worked in B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, and read the study he did on denial and human rights (which later led to States of Denial). His time working in Israel in the early 1990s, where on the one hand he worked with full dedication for B’Tselem, writing a very influential human rights report on torture, while at same time subjecting the entire enterprise of human rights activism (including his own work) to unflinching academic critique, is really the most inspiring example I know of combining political commitment and intellectual scepticism. He wrote a piece for Tikkun magazine at the time reflecting on his human rights work in Israel, a piece which I discovered only years later but went back reading maybe 30 or 40 times over the years. Sometimes in times of doubt it was enough to pick a couple of paragraphs from this piece and get your hope and energy back.

    I then met Stan in person at the LSE and learnt how on top of everything else he was also such a wonderful and funny human being. I did some research assistance for him and I remember inspecting his study in his house the first time I was there and noting four posters hanging there: Bob Dylan, Che Guevara, Samuel Becket, and the giants of jazz. At this point I also started going through his back-catalogue of publications, not just the famous books but some of his other work – like the Last Seminar, a short story, the only example I know of fiction published in an academic journal. I had a real intellectual crush, sticking photo-copied pages on the wall. I then started reading everyone he mentioned to me – not just Foucault and Goffman but also Phillip Roth, Don Delillo, Saul Bellow and the like – he was passionate about the latter as much as he was about the academics, and it was enough that he would mentioned a line from someone that I’ll rush to the bookshop to read it as well.

    He also had an unending collection of jokes, always ready with the right line. In a piece he wrote about torture, after grappling with the complex feelings human rights activists have about what international law can achieve, he ended the discussion by saying that what we want from international law is like the Woody Allen joke about the Jewish woman complaining about a restaurant: the food is so lousy, and the portions are too small. Only Stan can pull this off: not just inserting Woody Allen to an article on torture, but doing it in a way which actually resolves the intellectual debate. This is Stan as I’ll remember him: brilliant, concerned about the real world, and very funny.

    Ron Dudai, Sussex University

  24. Rebecca Barden, formerly of Routledge says:

    I worked with Stan at Routledge on a new edition of ‘Folk Devils and Moral Panics’. The book was subsequently published as a Routledge Classic. I was struck at the time (2002), and now, by the book’s continuing relevance – surely one of the features of a classic. I remember that Stan suggested using an image of refugees at Sangatte on the cover. Stan was a lovely man, very gracious, generous and charming, with a twinkle in his eye. He was a joy to work with.

  25. John Lea says:

    Stan, you were one of the greats. For me ‘Visions of Social Control’ was up there with Das Kapital.

  26. Harriet Carter says:

    When I first joined the Centre for the Study of Human Rights it was always a joy to see Stan, I was providing administrative support for the new masters programme which, up to then then, was supported by his PA. It was a transition period for us both. Stan always gave his time generously when clearly he had so much on. As the Centre became more established we had less contact (and less dissertions heading his way for marking). He was a larger than life character, and leaves us learning more about him and facets of his character, sadly I was not witness to the years without the ravages of ill health, but he still made me laugh and was a pleasure to work with. The end of an era is greater than I will ever know.

  27. Deborah James says:

    Stan. I first experienced you as a kindly uncle-like figure: a ‘homeboy’ who exchanged stories about Wits University and made me feel welcome when I first arrived at LSE. I got to know you better when when we worked together on setting up the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and when I read your inspiring work. I’ll miss you very much, as will many others. To use a perhaps over-used South African farewell – hamba kahle…

  28. Bernard Wiseman says:

    I was one of a privileged group of undergraduates who became the first sociology students at Durham in 1965 – privileged because we were introduced to social science by the likes of John Rex, Robert Moore, Stan Trapido and the much loved Stan Cohen. Stan with his colleagues, bravely under the secretive eye of the South African security services, blazed trails that contributed to the demise of apartheid and trails that were to light up sociology in the UK. To us as undergraduates he was a friend who showed care and concern as a person and with whom we enjoyed some good times. We were privileged to know him as well as we did in those days.

  29. In mid-1997 the idea for the Centre for the Study of Human Rights was conceived. Stan kindly agreed to be my PhD supervisor. I was in awe, as we all were, and thrilled. However, I was also broke having just completed an undergraduate degree as a student in her 30s. So when I was offered the job working with the new Director, Tony Giddens, I accepted it. When I told Stan, I suggested instead that we try and create a Human Rights Centre at LSE. Tony Giddens supported the initiative. Stan contacted his close friend, the wonderful Margo Picken, who had spent her life in the field of human rights, and a draft proposal was born. Because of Stan’s brilliance and integrity many wonderful people have been through the Centre. I am hoping that a Stan Cohen Chair in Human Rights will now be created. Stan we will all miss your compassion, humour, balance and brilliance.

  30. Ruma Rouf says:

    As a postgraduate student at the LSE in 1998 I had the opportunity to met Stan Cohen and present my review of Folk Devils & Moral Panic. A highly memorable and daunting experience. Sociology has lost of one of its ‘greats’.

  31. I will always remember the first time I met Stan. He was standing at the upper floor of the building where the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control were arranging the conference in Prague, I think in 1993. A good looking, tall man with a warm look to his face. Our interests met as I was at the time writing my post graduate degree about refugee women and had for a long time been occupied with human rights issues. I saw Stan at various occasions when I visited him in London, and when I invited him to give a lecture in Oslo. Here he talked about human rights abuses and Abu Ghraib. After the lecture we sat in a café in the sun while Stan showed me all the medication he had to take. He was self ironic about it, but still searching for new medication at the internet. The last occasions where I saw him was at the EG conference in Preston and the Deviance conference in York, where he fought his disease and gave his talks. It was an honour knowing him, and his death is a loss to all.

  32. Bobby Vassen says:

    Stan and I started together at Wits University in 1958. Years later, when I was looking for a teaching post in London in 1964, Stan and Ruth somehow found me and were instrumental in getting my first teaching job in 1965. True friendship.
    Ursula,my wife and I are saddened to learn of his passing away. He was a true comrade and friend and the world is the poorer without him.
    To Ruth and the family we send our deepest sympathy and wish you well in this sad time. We ,too, have come back to London after 17 years in the States.
    Hamba Kahle Stan!
    Bobby Vassen , Cheam.SY.

    • Claudio Cordone says:

      Like Ron, I came across Stan when I was working on Israel and what where then just called Occupied Territories for Amnesty International, and he for B’Tselem. We worked closely on the key report published by B’Tselem on torture. Amnesty published at the time a complementary one on military trials and I thoroughly enjoyed my discussions with Stan — and indeed with his wife Ruth including in their home, although I missed the posters… We stayed in touch since, and I remember he called me when moving to London and we both realized that we could see each other — he had landed across the street from me, improbable as that should have been! I will miss his intellect and integrity — I still guard jealously a hard copy of his study on denial and acknowledgement published in 1995 by Hebrew University. More than that I will miss his humanity and pleasant manner, whatever the subject we happened to discuss. Thank you for all you have given Stan!

      Claudio

  33. Paul Corrigan says:

    To lose Stan is lose such a light of laughter out of my life. I first met him in the spring of 1969 in the pub next to the LSE where he interviewed me for a PhD place at Durham. Luckilly he laughed a lot at and with the confused, nervous, politically arrogant enrage he was interviewing and very kindly took me on. As others have commented, how Stan lived his life made it look as if it was really possible to work as a lecturer at a University and still be a good person. I would never have taken on such a job if I hadnt seen how he did it.
    When he moved to Essex I would go there for weekends for supervision. But the moment I remember the clearest was falling off the sofa with laughter as he read to me from Hunter Thompsons Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I havent read it for 20 years but here today I can hear him saying the first line ” It was just past Baker that the drugs took hold…..”
    Then in the 1970s there was the craziness of organising (using the word in the loosest way imaginable) three Conferences a year of the National Deviancy Conferences. In the midst of the madness Stan would consistently introduce real people and real peoples issues into our posturing and performance…
    In the last decade I should have said more of this to him …
    Such a loss

  34. Lynn Massey-Davis says:

    I teach A level sociology. Stan Cohen was an inspiring sociologist to learn about and to see/hear. My students loved his work and it changed their views on injustice and the power of the media. The world was a better place because of him.

  35. Mark Arram says:

    I came across the coolest Sociological Duo of Laurie Taylor and Stan Cohen doing my sociology degree at North London Polytechnic in the early 80′s. Long time ago. A healthy antidote to the unimaginative Marxist crust that most undergrads were chewing, Cohen and Taylor gave sociology life, humour and meaning with style and panache. Just wanted to be a part of giving condolence. Shalom. Mark Arram.

  36. David Garland says:

    Each of Stan’s great works – Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Visions of Social Control, States of Denial, and the rest – was a critical, timely, revealing engagement with the contemporary world. They aimed to transform our thinking, point up our delusions, and move us closer to the values of social justice that he cared so deeply about. And such was their impact, inside and outside the academy, that they each succeeded in doing so to some extent. Stan’s style was, from the beginning, always direct and accessible, allowing students and general readers to share the sharp insights that flowed from his impressive learning and his powerful personal vision. And such is the power of that vision, and the keenness of his insights that his work will join the classics of sociology and criminology and be read by generations to come. Anyone who listened to Stan Cohen – and he was an eloquent, entertaining, speaker – or who read his books, came away with a more profound sense of the world and a more vivid appreciation for the tragic ironies, value conflicts and unintended consequences that bedevil our efforts to shape the social world, whether for better or for worse. But the most abiding impression that Stan made was one of personal authenticity. At his core was a finely-tuned ethical sense that shaped everything he said and did. And though he wore his ethical concerns with the same lightness and good humour with which he wore his learning, it was Stan’s moral seriousness that left the most lasting impression and the greatest inspiration. Stan Cohen was certainly a great scholar but he was also a great man. And it is that too-rare combination that will ensure his lasting place in the memory of everyone who knew him.

  37. Tara Young says:

    I am saddened to hear of Stan’s passing. He was instrumental in helping me to obtain an ESRC scholarship to study criminology at the LSE. Without this funding I would not have been able to afford it, and not have gone on to have the career I’ve now have. I owe him thanks.

  38. Integrity and intellectual rigour; curiosity and a unique capacity to listen; kindness and the finest sense of humour – it was such a pleasure to be in dialogue with Stan.
    I learned much from him during our two decades of friendship. I have consulted his “States of Denial” repeatedly. He was a pillar in a joint project by us a group of likeminded human rights activists to develop a meaningul global discussion on human rights policies. It was only logical that he then became one of the founders of the LSE centre.
    Stan will be desparately missed but the inspiration he gave us will continue to bring us forward.
    Thomas Hammarberg

  39. john pratt says:

    What very sad news this is: the loss of an inspirational scholar and a fundamentally good man.

  40. conor gearty says:

    With Stan’s death we have now lost three of the key founders of LSE’s centre for the study of human rights. Fred Halliday and Peter Townsend are already gone, and now Stan, unfairly early and after years of pain and anxiety, and also (in recent years) bereavement. He was a towering influence in the early years of the centre, with Christine (Chinkin) getting the Key Issues in Human Rights course up and running and then engaging closely and sympathetically with the centre’s affairs. Ruth and he had Diane and I around for dinner very soon after I joined LSE and we became close to the two of them. I will always recall Stan’s ability to combine sociological distance with ethical passion – he had an amazing knack (unique in my experience) of both feeling and observing at the same time. Hence the jokes certainly (if you have not read ‘A Rough Guide to Conference Going’ find it and you’ll find in it a large part of what made Stan special) but also the courage to stake out ethical/intellectual positions of genuine integrity. Palestine and Zionism obviously, but much else besides. The Centre will miss him. So will I.

  41. Alex Ruhinda says:

    I just heard of the deeply sad news of the death of Professor Stan Cohen while listening to Laurie Taylor’s Thinking Allowed on BBC radio 4. Having read about his work as an undergraduate Criminology student at Middlesex, it was such an honour to be taught directly by him at the LSE on the MSc Criminology course. He was such a brilliant academic who was held in high regard by many students and yet so approachable and humble. Thanks for what you gave us and may God Bless your family.

  42. Gail Kellough says:

    I first met Stan in 1987 when I interviewed him for a graduate journal at the Centre of Criminology in Toronto. That was the first of our many academic encounters and, over the ensuing years, we also became close personal friends. At Stan’s encouragement, I spent my first sabbatical in England, part of it at the London School of Economics. During that year, I was fortunate to spend many an hour enjoying Stan’s company. Our discussions were wide-ranging and moved from academic and political discussions to novels we had read or movies we had seen. When I returned to my teaching position in Canada, we nurtured our friendship through both regular and sporadic correspondence. Stan wrote of his pain and the depression it caused but he usually managed to finish his e-mails with a quip. In my last e-mail message to him, I described what his friendship had meant to me, saying: “You are one of those people who have made a difference in my life (personally as well as professionally).” Stan was my friend. I will miss him.

  43. Nik Vanbemmel says:

    I first met Stan in 1996, when enrolled for MSc Criminology. Stan was my mentor and Supervisor and without his direction , sharp and incisive, I could not have written my thesis on the Persecution of Homosexuals in the Third Reich. I gained much inspiration from Stan , and continued to read his book for years afterwards. I haven’t read States of Denial, but will do so now, with fond memories of the man who wrote it. The important thing is that Stan has left an important legacy, shaping generations of students and the general public interested in what he had to say. He will remain in my thoughts.

  44. Ibrahim Pam says:

    It was an unforgetable privilege to be taught by Stan Cohen at the LSE. His great intellect was matched by his wit, power of expression and ability to hold the attention and interest of his audience. My career investigating genocide and war crimes in the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court has benefited greatly from the human rights instruction I received from Prof. Cohen, as well as Conor Gearty and Christine Chinkin.

  45. Nils Christie says:

    WORDS ON STAN

    Stan Cohen died on Monday, January 7th. In accordance to Jewish traditions, the funeral took place already Thursday that week, – at Edgwarebury Cemetery, near London. Here there were warm words from oldest daughter, granddaughter and a brother, – and from friend and colleague Laurie Taylor. A farewell to the man, but not to his ideas.

    Home from his funeral, I took out his books from the shelf just behind me. They left a big hole there, just as his death does to so many of his friends. I looked again into some of these books, particularly “Visions of Social control”. And once more I got an opportunity to reflect on Stan’s reflections. Reflections are just what make this book so important. It is not a simple book on social control. Its core is not descriptions, conclusions and advice for action. Its content is thoughts, critiques of these thoughts, and critique of the critique. It is a book about how to think about social life, and on the moral base for action.

    But these are not reflections without a solid empirical base. He laid much of the foundation for “Visions” with the book on “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, as well as the one with Laurie Taylor on “Psychological Survival”. These books, and of course later books as “States of Denial” and “Against Criminology”, they are treasures in the criminology of our time.

    * * *

    Let me add some observations on Stan’s importance, as seen from my Scandinavian corner:

    I have kept a relatively close contact to British criminology throughout my whole life. From the old guard with Hermann Mannheim and Max Grünhut, and a bit later Leon Radzinowich. And of course at that time Leslie Wilkins, always an outsider in his land. But then, slowly, a new and important figure emerged: Stan, in the beginning shy and complicated to understand, but after a while experienced as a warm, thoughtful but also admirable provocative person in the new generation of British criminologists. He was also soon to become one of the central participants when delegations from GB were invited to Scandinavian seminars. To me, he became a dear friend.

    For a period, he and his family stayed in Israel. Also there he was, in quite an extraordinary way, able to stick to ideals of intellectual integrity. He, together with his wife Ruth, became important independent voices in Jerusalem, courageously fighting for the preservation of human rights in the middle of the fierce conflict.

    He was a great gift to so many among us.

    Nils Christie

  46. Ned Levine says:

    I knew Stan since 1963 when we both came to the LSE. We have been friends for almost 50 years. We were students in criminology for a year together, after which I switched over to social psychology. We taught together at the old Enfield College of Technology while we were both taking our PhDs. He and his late wife, Ruth, lived down the street from me in Chalk Farm during the period. Afterwards, I visited them in Durham and many years later in Jerusalem during the first Intifada.. They were very active politically in the Peace Now movement and I participated with them in several demonstrations pushing for peace in the West Bank. Then, when he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, both of them stayed with me in Los Angeles, where I was living at the time. I saw the progression of his illness but he never complained. To him, it was just another fact of life. He was a remarkable person intellectually. He was a giant in the field of criminology, as is testified by the comments on this page, and I was fortunate enough to learn from him about deviance, the marking of time by prisoners for life, and other topics even though criminology is not my field. He was also a good friend who I will miss a lot. There is a sadness and an emotional hole that will always be empty. But, there are also fond memories of him and a thankfulness that I got to know him a little on this earth.

  47. Tony Jefferson says:

    ‘If the mugging book hadn’t been any good, I would have been really angry at you for wasting my Easter weekend. As it was, I’m glad I read it rather than choose my other option – going to Clacton’. So starts Stan’s letter commenting on the original pre-publication draft of Policing the Crisis that I have been reading and re-reading since learning of his untimely death. It is a cameo performance, reminding me of what was special about Stan: unstinting in both praise and criticism (a full five pages of the latter), with both assisted by a light (albeit decisive) touch, a built-in bullshit detector, sly humour and an elegant, arresting writing style. In an age (the 1970s) when ideological and theoretical differences mattered, with much (mostly metaphorical) blood spilt in their defence, Stan’s ability to rise above the ideological fray, to critique the message without shooting the messenger, was a salutary reminder of how intellectual integrity, generosity of spirit and sheer professionalism can and should be combined. Thanks, Stan, for the memories (and the example).

  48. As an undergraduate student in the late 1970s, I began reading Stan’s work. His unique approach to sociology (and criminology) proved to be tremendously inspiring. In 2005, I was fortunate to be selected as a Visiting Fellow at the LSE’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights where I conducted research for the book: Crimes of Power & States of Impunity: The U.S. Response to Terror (2009, Rutgers University Press). The dedication of the book reads: “To Stan Cohen — a Powerful Influence.”

    I am enormously grateful to Stan.

    Michael Welch
    Professor
    Rutgers University, USA

  49. Frances Flanagan says:

    I am deeply sad to learn the news of Stan’s death. I worked with him as a research assistant in a joint Birkbeck/LSE project about human rights and humanitarian discourse in 2011 and 2012. Despite enduring obvious physical pain and fatigue induced by his illness, Stan was warm, flinty and funny, a luminous intellect with astonishing conceptual dexterity and span. I will never forget our team meetings at his flat in 2011, where he stretched and challenged our thinking with unwavering geniality and generosity while Che Guevara peered at us from a poster on the wall. The moral responsiveness he showed through his life was an inspiration. It was a privilege, in particular, to talk to him about the way his ideas in States of Denial could be related to recent debates about climate change. He would have had many wise things to say, I am sure, to our generation faced with averting global catastrophe in the coming decades. His humane voice will be deeply missed.

  50. Lena Royant says:

    Dearest Stan,
    Quel grand homme …
    To social justice !
    Lena

  51. Harvey Redgrave says:

    I’m terribly sad to hear this news.

    I took Stans human rights course as an MSc student at the LSE in 2001.

    He had a huge impact on me over the course of that year, opening my eyes to new ways of thinking, particularly the concept of the “passive bystander”, which still resonates with me today.

    I later found out he had worked with my grandfather, David Markham, many years before I was born, on radical alternatives to prison. An amazing coincidence.

    A truly great man and he will be missed

    Harvey

  52. Marian Duggan says:

    Extremely sad news. However, his passion and work will continue to inspire others which is the best any of us can hope for.

    My condolences to his loved ones.

    Marian.

  53. Zoe Gillard says:

    From the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control
    I am so very sad to hear this news. I only knew Stan for a few years but I will never forget his kind and supportive words when I became coordinator of the European Group. His advice was invaluable. I will also never forget when he came to Preston in 2009 – Greenbank lecture theatre has been ‘the Stan Cohen lecture theatre’ in my mind ever since. I had known he was very poorly for some time but I hoped that somehow he would pull through. His work has been, and continues to be, a total inspiration and ‘States of Denial’ is perhaps the most important and influential book I have ever read. His work and spirit will live on and continue to inspire future generations. It must.
    David Scott

    He did intervene, relishing the opportunity of speaking the truth to power. A fine epitaph. I think.
    Mick Ryan

    This comes as a very sad surprise to me. Stan was a wonderful person and a great intellectual. Warm-hearted may be THE adjective. And critical of mainstream perceptions. It makes me very very sad. Vale, et suii persuade carissimum esse mihi.
    Sebastian Scheerer

    This is a tragic big loss that hits us in the European Group and far beyond.
    A lovely person and a great and distinguished thinker. The last times I met Stan he was in much pain and had great difficulties speaking, however, he always overcame these with incredible dignity and will-power.
    Our conference in Oslo should be dedicated to his memory and powerful life-work.
    Andrea Beckmann

    I’m very sad to receive this message. I have not seen Stan for years, but got real nice greetings from him through common friends. Sad, sad.
    Ida Koch

    Such sad news which came as no surprise to many who watched Stan’s painful decline over the years.

    My enduring memory of this great academic was my first meeting with him. I was a PhD student of David Downes who, in his typically generous spirit, had invited me to the family home for dinner. As we were eating, David suddenly remembered that I hadn’t been introduced to some of the guests. He got to the person sitting next to me and said, ‘And this is Stan Cohen’. I recall thinking, oh god, what sensible things can I say about Visions of Social Control, Folk Devils etc.. Of course, nothing ‘sensible’ was needed to be said because Stan picked up on my nervousness and kept asking about my own research, putting me at ease through his insightful questions and suggestions.

    Years later, when I returned to the LSE to teach, I had to go to his room to discuss some supervision arrangements. I hadn’t seen him for six or so years and was taken aback by his physical decline. Stan clearly read my facial expression and gently expressed his resignation to the medicalised world he now inhabited, then moved on to the business at hand. And despite all his own suffering he kept writing and lecturing whenever he could to raise awareness of the suffering, and its denial, of others.

    It’s not just a powerful academic legacy he leaves, but as so many others have noted, a personal one too.
    Paddy Rawlinson

    I share the deep grief and sorrow about the passing of our friend and colleague Stanley Cohen – as a sympathetic and supportive person and as the most reflective and thoughtful critical criminologist I have ever met. He was a leading figure of the legendary National Deviance Conference (NDC) and edited the first of two collections of papers that were given on more than ten symposia at York University, beginning in 1968 (Images of Deviance, 1971). I very well remember Stanly’s angry reaction on the IAC-Congress 1988 in Hamburg when his work and position was attacked by a Dutch colleague who blamed critical criminology for its lack of appreciation of the noticeable decrease of imprisonment in modern societies. Stan Cohen’s death will leave a gap in our discipline which cannot be filled, it seems to me, in the next future.
    I am so sorry and sad,
    Fritz Sack

    I’ve never met Stan Cohen and didn’t know him personally. His influence on me (and I’m sure many others) however was defining as my interests and intellectual development – and subsequent academic career – resulted directly from reading ‘Visions of Social Control’, which is the best, unsurpassed and most inspired and inspiring criminological text ever written.
    Colin Webster

    Au nom du centre de recherches criminologiques de l’ULB je voulais te communiquer notre profonde tristesse à tout(es)s ici. (On behalf of the Centre for Criminology at the Free University of Brussels, I wanted to convey our deepest sadness).
    Carla Nagels

    I share the grief of the Group and indeed of anyone who had the pleasure and privilege of spending time with Stan. Some time back Keith Hayward asked me to write some lines on Stan’s life and contribution. It was one of the most difficult writing assignments of my career; not because I was lost for words but rather it seemed impossible to encapsulate the impact of the man on my life and on the world at large, in letters on a page.
    For me the memory I will most cherish about Stan is his generous spirit and his capacity to turn around my thinking in the most profound but effortless fashion.
    Mark Findlay

    I do recall Stan’s visit to Preston in 2009 and the passion in his voice as he delivered his lecture, in spite of failing health. The turnout at the time reflected the esteem in which he is held; and as you have mentioned his work will continue to inspire future generations.
    Tunde (Alfred Zack-Williams)

    Stan had a soft kindness as a human being and a razor’s edge as a scholar.
    John Braithwaite

    Stan was a remarkable person … his brilliant, critical scholarship opened minds. It came without a hint of arrogance but with selfless warmth, encouragement, comradeship, wit, integrity … on numerous occasions when it mattered he was there for me, and I know for many others. A while ago I was asked to write about his work. I withdrew the piece because I refused to edit the ‘personal commentary’. This is a brief extract …

    “In 1973 I was working with Irish Travellers in Liverpool. In quick succession I read Stan Cohen’s now legendary Folk Devils and Moral Panics and Psychological Survival, his book with Laurie Taylor on long-term imprisonment. These were consciousness-raising texts that helped shape alternative, critical discourses on the demonisation of young people and, what Jimmy Boyle later named, the ‘pain of confinement’. It is not without irony that significant in Stan’s legacy now is the familiar use of the terms ‘folk devils’ and ‘moral panics’ in media headlines, editorials and broadcasts.

    Within a decade I was sitting opposite Stan, conducting the last ever studio interview at BBC’s Alexandra Palace. It was a warm Friday afternoon. I was working on the Open University’s new Social Sciences’ Foundation course and the film crew and sound engineers wore T-shirts commemorating the closing of the studios where British television broadcasting began.

    A young lecturer, in awe, my nervousness was soon alleviated by Stan’s humility, generosity and warmth. Throughout the interview I was struck by his capacity to deliver the strongest analytical message with lightness of touch; words easy on the ear, language accessible. Even in brief responses to questions his story-telling was evident.

    If great teachers have one attribute above all it is their capacity to inspire their students to want to know more. As we explored the trinity of the ‘personal’, the ‘social’ and the ‘structural’, I was conscious that we were over time yet as the session closed I wanted to hear more. At that moment I knew that over the forthcoming years many thousands of OU students watching and listening would feel the same. It was fitting that a critical voice, particularly one so astute and uncompromising in his analysis of the media, should have the last word at Ally Pally …”
    Phil Scraton

    Stan Cohen had been for years a great friend and teacher. He had visited Poland several times, and I guess he liked the place and was so much liked and respected here. I can hear his voice and almost see him talking. The day he died was a day when we discuss his Visions of Social Control. The work is not only valid but all the time equally important for the present criminal policy, so in a way, he is here and will stay.
    Monika Platek

    This is a profoundly sad announcement. However, one nice element of the reaction to Stan’s death has been to see and hear from so many colleagues, former students and friends about how he touched their lives. I didn’t know him as well as many, but for what it’s worth, this is how he touched mine.

    I first read Folk Devils and Moral Panics as a very disgruntled law undergraduate suddenly enlivened by something called criminology. I was inspired. In the days before amazon, I read everything of his I could get – harassing the university library staff for inter-library loans. I realised the news was manufactured, I began having visions of social control and despite having only recently become a convert, I then found I was against criminology. I heard that he was also a bit of an activist. Stan became my hero.

    My first job was in an NGO and with my colleague Brian Gormally I authored a report examining prisoner release as part of conflict transformation in a range of places including Israel\Palestine. A while later I received a hand-written note from Stan telling me he liked the report and was using it for teaching. I remember jumping around the office showing the note to people who didn’t know who he was. I was as happy as a pup with two tails.

    Later I became an academic and Stan agreed to be one of the externals on my PhD. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but mine lived up to expectations. He was lovely, warm, funny, encouraging and of course, very insightful. We kept in touch, he read my stuff when asked, wrote references and basically was the kind of mentor that all of us would wish to be.

    I am not sure if my critical faculties were as sharp as they should have been in teaching his stuff. A few years back as I waxed lyrical (again) about Stan in general and the merits of States of Denial in particular some wags in a transitional justice class stood up in unison and bowed saying ‘Stan Cohen, we are not worthy’. I was too embarrassed to tell him that story, I am sure he wouldn’t have approved.

    Probably like a lot of academics I have at times had to defend (particularly to human activist friends and colleagues) the practical utility of what we do. Maybe Belfast in particular can be very unforgiving of academic pretensions. In a tight corner, I would always turn to Stan Cohen. Deploying Stan was always the clincher in making an argument as to how a smart, properly theorised, political and engaged academic could tilt the axis a bit. I always knew I had a foothold, when the retort was ‘ok, fair enough, but apart from Cohen, which of you are actually relevant or useful…’.

    Of course lots of academics do good stuff that is theoretical, political, engaged and relevant in both criminology and human rights. But to paraphrase Carly Simon, nobody did it better than Stan Cohen.
    Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh aige
    Kieran McEvoy

    Living as I do in the U.S., I had not had a chance to meet Stan until many years after I had read and been shaped by his work on moral panic. Like most people, I suspect, I often develop mental images of people whose work I’ve read, but whom I have never met. Meeting Stan certainly erased the image of him I had created. Instead of the hard-charging firebrand I had imagined, I met a kind, gentle man with a powerful intellect who seemed far more interested in talking about me than him. As I came to know, it was this kindness and this interest in others that made Stan the mensch he was – and will continue to be in our thoughts and our spirits. The best honor we can pay his memory is to carry on the struggle for justice to which he was so committed.
    Ray Michalowski

    A MAN WALKS INTO A CHURCH ….
    I’m in England for almost three weeks. Sandwiched between my brother’s 60th birthday party and David (Edgar’s) 60th birthday party, I get to play in London and visit old friends, as well as friends getting older. I was looking forward to reconnecting with Stan Cohen. We were both part of the 60’s radical criminology movement, though from different perspectives and sites. Political sectarianism kept us – well, me – in different revolutionary camps. We’re not personally close, but with the collapse of the New Left in all its permutations, we are now on the same side, even on the Israeli Question, which usually divides Jews in the Diaspora. I’ve always appreciated his intellectual work and his activism, the two intimately connected. We are about the same age; and we’ve both moved about a lot during our careers.

    When I was an undergraduate at Oxford in 1960, he was studying at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While he was in transit from South Africa to England in 1963, I was leaving my homeland for grad school in Berkeley. For a while he was teaching in southern California in radical Santa Barbara; my activism cost me my job at Berkeley and, luckily, landed me a job until retirement at a local state college. Stan was an important figure in post-60s radical sociology, best known for helping us to understand how “moral panics” fuel law and order campaigns against “muggers” and “wayward teens.”

    He’s been a committed public intellectual all his life, battling apartheid in South Africa and Thatcherism in England. He tried without success for several years to bore from within Israel (at Hebrew University, 1979-1995) against its militarist state. Since 1997, he’s lived in England, teaching and helping to nurse his wife through a chronic illness to her death from cancer. Now he’s the sicko. He’s been ill for several years with Parkinson’s and various other maladies. Not too long ago, he had spinal problems and was in hospital for a few weeks, immobilized, unable to move his legs. He was “reet poorly,” as they used to say in Manchester when I was a kid – a euphemism for “at death’s door.”

    A couple of years ago when he took early retirement because of health reasons, his friends organized a conference and book of essays in his honor. When I told a friend that I was planning on seeing Stan, he said, “You better steel yourself. He’s not in good shape.” But when I called Stan at home, he said, “Let’s meet at my office at LSE.” He’s only been “back at work” a few weeks, coming in once a week to teach a class on “Crimes of the State” to visiting NYU undergraduates. (I doubt if they’ll like what he has to say about Israel.) It is something of a shock to see Stan. Sitting in a chair, he moves continuously like a marionette pulled by hidden strings until he finds a comfortable position. This only happens some days, though his body is usually in pain. Not surprisingly he has trouble, he says, with memory and finding the right words. Don’t we all?

    But there’s nothing wrong with his mind or his politics. One of his most recent essays is a blistering critique of the fawning complicity and self-induced myopia of Israeli intellectuals (“The Virtual Reality of Israeli Universities,” Independent Jewish Voices, January 2008).He is now writing a new introduction to the second edition of his book, States of Denial. And despite his physical limitations, he’s into teaching again, trying to jump-start overly compliant students. Stan takes me out to a local café for coffee and we slowly walk the bustling neighborhood. He’s hoping that exercise will ward off another surgery. Our conversation turns personal, to our families, and our losses.

    Close to Covent Garden he takes me into his favorite men’s shop, J. Simons, where he buys stylish American jeans and a shirt, and reminisces about working as a teenager in his immigrant father’s clothing store in Johannesburg. He encourages me to buy a vintage 50s jacket that I spot but, for now, resist. Life is still up for grabs. Stan also tells me about his partner, who is “a Ph. D. student, Swedish, thirty years younger, beautiful.” Some people object to the liaison, he tells me. To hell with them, I reply, and he laughs. Another reason they get on so well is that she also has a chronic illness. Which reminds him to tell me the first of several jokes. He’s a lovely storyteller, skilled at peppering his conversation with parables.

    “Talking about Jessica [his girlfriend] reminds me of a joke,” he says. “A man walks into a church, goes into the confessional. The priest asks him why he’s here. ‘I’m an old man and I have great sex every day with my young girlfriend,’ he says. ‘What’s the problem,’ asks the priest, ‘Are you a member of this parish?’ ‘No,’ says the old guy. ‘I’m not even a Catholic, I’m a Jew and I don’t even believe in God.’ So,’ says the priest, ‘Why did you come here to tell me this.’ ‘Because,’ says the man, ‘I’m telling everybody.’”

    Before I leave, I ask him to sign a copy of the book that has just come out in his living honor, both of us chuckling at the irony. And with that, we say our surprisingly intimate goodbyes.
    Tony Platt, February 17, 2008, London. This piece first appeared on Tony Platt’s blog (http://GoodToGo.typepad.com) on March 4, 2008.

    My partner Anna and I were at the European Group conference in Prague in 1993, one of the first occasions when Stan was sounding out elements of what later became his book, States of Denial. In his paper he intrigued us all with what he said were the three stages states go through in response to allegations that they have tortured people. Stage 1 is to deny the crime: it didn’t happen. Stage 2 is to deny the extent of culpability: it was the fault of one or a few bad apples. Stage 3 is to deny the victim: the person tortured was evil and deserved it anyway.

    A group of Norwegians had driven to the conference in a beat up, pink school bus with all the seats removed and replaced with mattresses. Anna and I decided to go with the Norwegians in the bus that afternoon to visit Karlstein Castle. But for reasons that we never figured out, the river and the one-way system completely defeated us. We could see on the map the road we wanted to get to to leave Prague, and at one point we even managed to spot the road on the other side of the river. But after probably an hour of driving around we were still stuck in the centre, and running low on fuel. So, the next task was to find a petrol station and fill up. The driver seemed to be as revived as the bus and set out with gusto for Karlstein. At this point, Anna, ever the tour guide, decided to check the guidebook and announced that, even if we could find the road this time, the place would be closed by the time we got there.

    Dejected, we headed back to the university. But then we had an idea which lifted our spirits. How could we explain our failure to the rest of the European Group? Easy. Step 1: no, we were just driving around; we had no intention of going to Karlstein. Step 2: we did try to get to Karlstein, but the driver was crap. Step 3: we didn’t mind not getting there, because Karlstein is totally overrated anyway.

    I don’t know if any of us ever told Stan how he had inspired us that afternoon!
    Bill Rolston

    About five years ago, Moira Peelo and I conducted a modest study to consider how knowledge has been constructed in British criminology since the 1960s. The outcome was clear – “there is one outstanding hero, one impressive heroine, one consistent performer, three major books by other authors and one major ongoing study” (p.481). The outstanding hero was, of course, Stan Cohen.
    Keith Soothill

    So sad. A great loss.
    George S. Rigakos

    Stan Cohen was an inspiring teacher and a friend for me too. I am proud to have had this opportunity and know his ideas are going on.
    Teresa Lapis

    Dear Friends,
    I want to remind you that when someone like Stanley Cohen, or Louk Hulsman, or Sandro Baratta, and others disappears, it means to elaborate the meaning and feeling of our lives, the deep perception of our youthfulness, of our efforts to change things, of improving knowledge and consciousness about the most dramatic aspects of our society. So let’s stay in this dimension, let’s share the deep sense of that, and join each other in this long, odd way. A hug.
    Beppe Mosconi

    Visions of Social Control is one of the two most important books on Social Policy, ever written. Ever written! The other, is Foucault’s Discipline & Punish. Oh Stanley, so sad to see him go. The light of his humanity is so rare, so beautiful, so precious. Lynne Wrennall

    I would like to add to the many personal tributes my own appreciation. Stan was a founding father of critical criminology and a key participant in the creation of the European critical legal studies movement. His humanity, radicalness and perseverance in the face of extreme adversity offer a great example of the public intellectual in difficult times.
    We will remember him,
    Costas Douzinas

    I, too, am saddened by news of Stan’s death. He was my PhD supervisor, mentor, and a supportive friend at many important points in my life. He sent a lovely message to my retirement lunch, and I was greatly honoured to be one of the speakers at his retirement seminar. It was a great pleasure the summer after the Preston conference to be involved with him in a research project bringing together issues and developments in social control and human rights.

    I have lots of lovely memories of Stan, who not only inspired me with his work but, among many other things, introduced me to the music of Doctor John. His rigorous intellect combined with his humane, warm and generous personality made him one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. We will all miss him.
    Barbara Hudson

    It was very, very sad to hear about Stan’s passing away. He was a great person, and a great scholar. I met Stan for the first time in 1973, forty years ago, when we were both in Italy, Florence to found what later became known as the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control. The Group has met every year since then, altogether forty times at various European sites. I remember the starting point well, because it coincided to the day with the murder of the Latin American Socialist leader and President of Chile, Salvador Allende, on 11 September 1973. It took, at that time, a few hours for organizers in Florence to muster 40 000 people, largely communists, loudly demonstrating in the streets of the city against the coup d’état in Chile. Symbolically, this first conference of the European Group was called “Social Control in Europe: Scope and Prospects for a Radical Criminology”. We could do nothing then about the coup d’état, but the Italian protests against it were of a great symbolic context and significance for us.

    As the years passed by, Stan participated in several other important political and social struggles. At the same time, he pursued his scholarly work. A string of crucially important books came from his hand; to me the most memorable perhaps being the now famous “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, which came early, in fact in 1973. But there were many others – it is not possible to mention them all in this short statement. Stan’s way of fusing, throughout his life, deeply engaged political with highly original scholarly work constituted a masterpiece. At the same time he was a splendid friend, caring for all his comrades in Europe and elsewhere.

    We mourn Stan’s untimely death. We miss him greatly.
    Thomas Mathiesen

    Stan Cohen died on Monday, January 7th. In accordance to Jewish traditions, the funeral took place already Thursday that week, – at Edgwarebury Cemetery, near London. Here there were warm words from oldest daughter, granddaughter and a brother, – and from friend and colleague Laurie Taylor. A farewell to the man, but not to his ideas.

    Home from his funeral, I took out his books from the shelf just behind me. They left a big whole there, just as his death does to so many of his friends. I looked again into some of these books, particularly “Visions of Social Control”. And once more I got an opportunity to reflect on Stan’s reflections. Reflections are just what make this book so important. It is not a simple book on social control. Its core is not descriptions, conclusions and advice for action. Its content is thoughts, critiques of these thoughts, and critique of the critique. It is a book about how to think about social life, and on the moral base for action.

    But these are not reflections without a solid empirical base. He laid much of the foundation for “Visions” with the book on “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, as well as the one with Laurie Taylor on “Psychological Survival”. These books, and of course later books as “States of Denial” and “Against Criminology”, they are treasures in the criminology of our time.

    Let me add some observations on Stan’s importance, as seen from my Scandinavian corner: I have kept a relatively close contact to British criminology throughout my whole life. From the old guard with Hermann Mannheim and Max Grünhut, and a bit later Leon Radzinowicz. And of course at that time Leslie Wilkins, always an outsider in his land. But then, slowly, a new and important figure emerged: Stan, in the beginning shy and complicated to understand, but after a while experienced as a warm, thoughtful but also admirable provocative person in the new generation of British criminologists. He was also soon to become one of the central participants when delegations from GB were invited to Scandinavian seminars. To me, he became a dear friend.

    For a period, he and his family stayed in Israel. Also there he was, in quite an extraordinary way, able to stick to ideals of intellectual integrity. He, together with his wife Ruth, became important independent voices in Jerusalem, courageously fighting for the preservation of human rights in the middle of the fierce conflict.
    He was a great gift to so many among us.
    Nils Christie

  54. My deepest condolence to Stan’s family. He always spoke so warm and passionate about his wife and daughters. I miss Stan and memories of him will be treasured for the rest of my life. Stan was a great teacher. A wonderful human being who made criminology a more interesting subject and he shared his wisdom so passionately and patiently. He made the world a better place and his knowledge will be passed on!

    Fred over hans minne.

    Tess,
    LSE alumni 2000, Criminology

  55. David Brown says:

    Committed, but always questioning; strong, yet never fixed; firm, yet always fluid; concrete and practical, yet deeply theoretical; charming, yet forever piercing pretension; a warm and gracious friend, yet an enemy of the taken for granted; serious about injustice, yet attuned to the absurd; illuminating of trends, yet alert to unintended consequences; painting the big picture, but with a palate of little stories; a magic speaker and a great listener; a humble human, who taught us how to think. Reading, hearing, knowing you, was a privilege. Thank you.

  56. Leslie Sklair says:

    my abiding memory of stan is the bravery with which he faced up to his terrible illness and the twinkle in his eyes as we tried to communicate the last time we met. he was, and will contunue to be, an inspiring person on many levels.

    • Sociology says:

      Stan in general and the merits of States of Denial in particular some wags in a transitional justice class stood up in unison and bowed saying ‘Stan Cohen, we are not worthy’. True.

  57. Gerd Oberleitner says:

    I share the grief about the passing of Stan. During my time at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Stan has opened new ways of thinking about human rights for me and I remain deeply indebted to him for his insights and inspiration. His academic and personal concern for the fate of others remains his legacy and his warmth and humor will be missed by all who knew him.

  58. I was greatly saddened to hear about Professor Stan Cohen. Aside from being a great inspiration to me, he was one of those hugely generous spirited academics who was always willing to help and encourage others. Going back over ten years, at a previous University I had been asked to develop a module in State Crime. The obvious person to ask for advice was Stan. We had never met but Stan helped me out with this in so many ways, through emails, telephone calls and sharing his resources with me. I was able to deliver something which rigorous, cutting edge and interesting, thanks to Stan. He was not just a great academic, he was a lovely lovely person and will be missed so much.

  59. Lynn Welchman says:

    I first met Stan when I was working in human rights in Palestine, and then got to spend more time with him when I was working on the establishment of the International Council on Human Rights Policy in the late 1990s, which included a memorable meeting with the founding Board in Cairo. I remember most vividly his extraordinarily direct gaze (physical and intellectual). After I started the International Human Rights Clinic at the SOAS School of Law in 2007, Stan was an enthusiastic contributor (declining health notwithstanding) and always a “star turn”, inspiring students from the moment he started speaking – and long after. He lives on in his work and in the memories of all those who knew and loved him, including myself and my husband Akram: his brilliance, his passion and his compassion, his absolute rigour and integrity, and of course those jokes…. We miss him; we will always miss him.

  60. Rebecca Aleem-former student says:

    I had the honour and privilege of having Stan as a professor and thesis advisor as one of the members of the first cohort of the MSc in Human Rights in 2001. Stan was as witty as he was brilliant. I will never forget his mantras about “boxes” and the masterful way he would employ seemingly straighforward scenarios to illustrate and challenge our understanding of extremely complex ethical issues.
    Folk Devils and States of Denial have travelled around the world and back again with me and remain cornerstones of how I view and understand the world as a human rights advocate. He was a warm, kind and fiercly intelligent man who will be greatly missed.

    I echo conor gearty sadness about the loss of three of the key founders of LSE’s centre for the study of human rights all of whom I had the privilege of studying with at LSE.

  61. Members of the Mannheim Centre have been deeply saddened by the death of Stan Cohen on Monday 7 January.

    Professor David Downes has written this appreciation.

    Stan was one of the most inspiring and original thinkers around the world in criminology and human rights. His writing and research in these fields began and ended at the London School of Economics. In 1963 he came to the Department of Sociology, following a training in social work in South Africa, to pursue doctoral research into social responses to youthful delinquency. His Ph.D thesis was to be the basis for his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), the study of social reactions to Mods and Rockers, clashes between whom were taken, for a time, as portents of social collapse. The term ‘moral panic’, with its connotations of melodrama and over-reaction to minor forms of deviance, and the coda that such responses can make things far worse, has entered the English language.
    The second major phase of his work, co-authored with Laurie Taylor, began when he moved to Durham University and later to the University of Essex. Their study of the conditions and effects of long-term imprisonment in H Wing in Durham Prison, Psychological Survival (1972), led to consternation in the Home Office. That, and Prison Secrets (1976) on the lack of clear-cut rights in prison regimes, led onto Cohen’s celebrated ‘dispersal of control’ thesis. Drawing on the legacy of Orwell as much as Foucault, he analysed the ever-extending reach of the state into everyday life. Visions of Social Control (1985) is a dystopian examination of how even benign reforms can be subverted to ever more penetrating controls. Against Criminology (1988) collects articles and papers united by his preference for criminology as a ‘sceptical’ sociology of crime, deviance and control rather than a statistically formulated correctionalism.
    The third and final phase is in many ways his most important contribution to advanced social thought. States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering (2001) combines his rich expertise in criminology with his concern for human rights, generated by growing up in apartheid South Africa and sharpened by his experience of living in Israel from 1980-94, after which he returned to London. While there is no truth whatsoever in the assertion that he was driven out of Israel for pursuing anti-Zionist policies, he was a consistent and vocal critic of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and their cause. Particular insights flowed from his skill in applying criminological theories, such as Sykes and Matza’s ‘techniques of neutralisation’ (1957) to the denial of repression and atrocities by governments and state officialdom. The notion of ‘torture-lite’ burgeoned in such rationalisations: “The equivalent of ‘you can’t call this stealing’ is ‘you can’t call this torture’” (States of Denial: 77).
    Stan Cohen made seminal contributions not only to the study of crime, deviance and control but also to human rights. He was a founder member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the LSE, as well as the most prominent member of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice. Generations of students testify to the warmth and humour, as well as the sheer range and scholarly sophistication of his teaching. He was a great exponent of the Socratic method, urging students to think for themselves and not simply to absorb received opinion. Fortunately, his work has already proved highly durable, and future generations can at least test their sense of reality against the standards he set. One of his idiosyncracies was to have postcard sized photos of people whose work he held in the highest regard, which included George Orwell, Nelson Mandela and Samuel Beckett. We can well imagine him among them.

    Professor David Downes

  62. David Christopher says:

    So sorry to hear Stan has gone.

    When he arrived to teach at the School I was a Ph.D student investigating aspects of youth culture. On one occasion, myself and two colleagues set off in search of his views on our respective topics.

    He was based in a temporary office off Sheffield St, and with voices hushed we tiptoed up the building’s wooden stairs and knocked on the great man’s door. The room was chilly, small and sparsely furnished. A few books and an unopened sherry bottle adorned the shelves, the beverage he explained, had been sent by the School in a quaint gesture of welcome.

    But Professor Cohen greeted us warmly, and for the next hour filled us with enthusiasm and encouragement about our topics, his insights and ideas bouncing around the room, illuminating and challenging in equal measure.

    It’s said you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but not this time. We emerged stimulated and uplifted, despite the sherry remaining intact.

    Though he is gone, his ethics, seriousness and style will live on through his books and the thousands of scholars he influenced, as well as – hopefully – some kind of permanent tribute from the School. RIP.

  63. Raja Shehadeh says:

    I am sad that Stan Cohen will no longer be with us. He was a passionate man with convictions, strong feelings and moral fiber who had the courage to act on his beliefs. I know this not only from following his excellent work in which he used his passion for justice and experiences to articulate, theorize and inspire so many around the world but also from working with him in Jerusalem and watching him in action. He never hesitated to lend his voice and authority for the cause of Justice. How often did he speak openly against the closure of Palestinian universities or against the practice of torture on Palestinian detainees under interrogation. He followed this outspokenness with the establishment of the Committee Against Torture which still survives and which was one of the first to take up this issue so boldly and effectively. He will be missed for his good company, his example and his resilience in face of hardship and adversary not only by his friends, but by all Palestinians and Israelis who yearn for justice in our trouble region.

  64. Harvey Molotch says:

    Stan was my triple colleague — at LSE, Santa Barbara, and Essex.
    He was constant wherever life took him, always young and never young,
    Ready to go to fierce places, but not an idolater of any.

    He scintillated with his double-knowing, urgent writing and emails risking dangerous jokes, some of them just funny.

    I don’t remember what he said but when I came out of car-crash surgery in Greece some 30-plus years ago, I opened my eyes to see Stan. Hearing of plight, and with back-up from Ruth, he flew across Europe to be of use, and so he was.

  65. Steven Lukes says:

    This remarkable string of tributes to and vivid memories of Stan Cohen demonstrates what a very special person he was. He was unquestionably one of the most innovative and subtle sociologists of our generation, who got us to think in new, deeper ways about centrally important, everyday, recurring social processes—moral panics, the manifold, less obvious forms of social control, the public denial of atrocities. He was, as several here report, an inspiring, nurturing teacher. He was the very best kind of tough-, not tender-minded radical academic, who focused his scholarly attention on concrete and immediate social, legal and political issues and wrote and spoke about them in clear, accessible, memorable ways that have left their mark and continue to resonate. And you could always depend on him for a sane, clear-headed view of the current political scene, whether in South Africa or Israel (with both of which he kept in close contact), or in British politics or in the world of unending academic intrigues. He was an excellent gossip and a severe judge of quality, with an accurate bullshit-detector. Conversations were full of surprises, irony and self-reflection (I recall one in his flat about when, if ever, one becomes ‘a grown-up’). He was a terrific and delightful friend—both full of delight and ready to convey it, through jokes, as recounted here (some subtle, some decidedly less so). This was a trait all the more remarkable given his condition in later years of constant pain and deteriorating health. I remember him with much warmth and deep sadness at his passing but in gratitude for his life-enhancing friendship and his wonderful writings.

  66. John Horne says:

    Although Stan was on sabbatical when I studied for an MA at Essex in the 1970s I was able to share a study room with his (two volume!) PhD thesis. An inspirational sociologist.

  67. Anna Derbyshire says:

    Thanks for helping me through it Stan!

  68. Daphna Oyserman says:

    I was Stan’s teaching assistant, grader really, in 1981 when he was at Hebrew U and I was a beginning master’s student. To prepare for class I read all the required and optional readings. As a result, I had a broad grasp of the field of juvenile delinquency from Stan’s eyes, a view that has and served me well over the years. I was sorry to hear the news of his death.

  69. Elaine Wade says:

    I studied Sociology at University of Essex from 1972 to 1975 and was fortunate to be tutored by Stan. He was one of few really inspiring lecturers and tutors. Always managed to get his students to think ‘outside the box’ and was simply a master at linking theory to social issues.
    Lovely man who really lit a fire in all who were fortunate enough to know him. Had a profound effect on me in terms of study and later career choice.

    Thanks and I am so glad to have known you.

  70. Without doubt one of the most imaginative, reflective and brilliant sociologists of the 20th and 21st centuries. His work is deservedly iconic. A huge loss.

  71. Sean Boyle says:

    Reading ‘Psychological Survival’ as part of a criminology elective was one of the things that led me to join the Prison Service 40 years ago. Noticing that I had a copy, one of the more thoughtful prison officers advised me to keep it well hidden. On asking why, he told me that Stan & Laurie were ‘personae non gratae’ with the Home Office, and it wouldn’t do my career any good to be seen reading it. “But”, he added “it’s the best thing ever written about prisons, and everyone who is anyone is reading it, but they’re not letting on”.
    I never met Stan, yet I think he would have liked that story. I left the Prison Service soon after (got off for good behaviour!) but Stan’s book remains one of those that left a deep impression.
    There’s an Irish saying for times like this: ‘Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam’ – ‘May his soul sit at God’s right hand’ So Stan, if there’s someone sitting to your left, don’t argue too much, it’s just God looking for your wit and insight.

  72. Loraine Gelsthorpe says:

    Stan Cohen’s work influenced my thinking hugely when I was a student and I was fortunate enough to be a member of a small group of British criminologists invited to Israel for a study tour in the early 1990s. The occasion was memorable for all sort of reasons – not least that Stan was our academic host – a role which he accomplished with characteristic charm, modesty, intellectual drive and curiosity, and political astuteness and sensitivity. Our conversations were few in the following years, but always picking up on the same themes – so well rehearsed in his brilliant book States of Denial – and always searching and important.

    The British Society of Criminology rightly honoured Stan in 2009. That was a memorable experience too – so many people saying how important Stan’s incisive analyses had been to the shaping of their criminological interests. A great loss to Criminology.

    Loraine Gelsthorpe, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge

  73. Olga Jubany says:

    Stan Cohen was an extraordinary person, he was indeed a great influence in our work and ways of thinking, as you learned something every time you talked or just listen to him, but above all he was a beautiful person. He had a unique gift to convey closeness and understanding; to know what you needed as a friend and always be there in return. He provided calm to any thoughts of worry, and laughter to any situation of tension. He made you feel that he really cared about you and understood whatever you explained to him, for his immense capacity of empathy. He gave you this feeling that he knew it all, whilst never made you feel undermined. He could bring out the best of yourself.

    Stan Cohen was my PhD supervisor. He encouraged me to start my PhD, he directed my thesis and was intensively beside me every step of the way until its end, and beyond; in the toughness and the joy of working and writing, and also in understanding and sharing the important moments like the birth of my children. In my completion of the PhD I came back to Barcelona and whilst we did keep in close touch, regrettably the many distances grow. However, in more or less intensity Stan was always there, and whenever I felt somehow overwhelmed he would just look at me and say: Olga, you ask me but you know it already; it’s all about priorities!

    He was more than my dearest friend; he was my life’s mentor.

    My love and deep sorrow goes to his family, whom I join in this terrible sadness and emptiness we are all left with.

    Olga

  74. David Kidd-Hewitt says:

    Stan Cohen’s work has been such an influence for me as for many others who have paid tribute here. He was such a brilliant scholar and this fact cannot be overstated. One only has has to read the introduction to the third edition of Folk Devils and Moral Panics to see how subtlety he crafted another masterpiece of analysis in reviewing the 30 years or so of his classic study under the heading of a mere introduction.
    He was also such a kind, helpful and encouraging person to any who wished to
    explore his areas of expertise which we all know was considerable.
    The feeling of loss and upset at this news is difficult to express in this
    format – Thank you Stan for all that you have left as your legacy, so many people have benefited, and will continue to benefit from all that you achieved.
    David K-H

  75. Tom Daems says:

    Stan Cohen was my personal tutor in 2002-03, during my postgraduate studies at LSE’s Department of Sociology. His presence at LSE was, in fact, the main reason for me to continue my studies there, and not elsewhere. I have never regretted my choice for LSE. My experience there, and the meetings with Stan Cohen, have left a deep imprint on how I think nowadays about criminology. His wonderful introduction to Against Criminology, with all his typical irony, is one of the nicest pieces of work ever written in the history of our discipline (recall Adorno’s words ‘You must belong to a tradition to hate it properly’ on the cover page of the book) (I recently included Stan in a list of five criminologists for a paper called ‘Why criminology needs outsiders’). I had an appointment with Stan Cohen to discuss a writing assignment, the day he received the news of being awarded the British Academy Award for States of Denial. A major honour for a wonderful book but he took it humbly (and continued writing the letters A. S. B. O. on a little paper, for me to explore further for my paper assignment).
    In October 2007 I wrote the following words in the acknowledgements-section of my PhD: ‘I consider myself extremely fortunate that I was one of Stanley Cohen’s last students during my studies at the London School of Economics. His scholarship has been, and will be, a never-ending resource to how I think about criminology’. I still think the same.
    Stan Cohen was a great criminologist (or better, probably, an ‘anticriminologist’) but also a wonderful person. It has always striked me that academics of the highest standing in their discipline are often the most accessible, humble and open. Stan fitted the picture, and will be missed by many, including me.

    Tom Daems, Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology of Law, Ghent University, Belgium

  76. Simon Maddison says:

    Laurie Taylor’s mention of this website on his Listening Allowed tribute to Stan has led me belatedly here to remember Stan.
    In 1969 Stan took me on in Durham as an MA student to work on Becker’s concept of normalisation. Stan of course was warm and supportive in his rigorous way. I always felt I let him down when having got a job in 1971 I got immersed in that and I never wrote up the thesis. I’ve just been reminiscing with Chris Baldry about the irreverent Durham magazine Ferret that Stan helped write for all of its 2 or 3 issues as a local Private Eye. Good scurrilous anarchic fun.
    It was privilege to have known you Stan
    Simon Maddison

  77. naomi shepherd says:

    I knew Stan Cohen from participating with him in meetings of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and from many talks with him about the tragedy of the occupation and its noxious effect on public and intellectual life in Israel. The tributes gathered here, as Steven Lukes remarks, show how much Stan was loved as well as admired- his generosity as well as his acerbity, his unpretentiousness as well as his distinction, his compassion as well as his biting wit. What should be added, I think, is the particular loss of this man to Israel ; one can only hope that among the younger generation who were fortunate enough to be his students, there will be at least a few who will heed his message and carry on his work.

  78. Ken Plummer says:

    January was a vey sad month, and I have just found this web site for Stan. I had to write briefly. It is wonderful to read all these testaments to a great and kind man. Stan was my chief mentor when he taught me social psychology and deviance at Enfield College between 1965 and 1966: he not only set my little mind on fire, he supported a young naive student who wanted to study ‘homosexuality’! And he continued to do so. I know I could not have taken the academic path I took without him and his deep inspiration. A little later, it was a joy to teach with Stan at Essex for a few years. He was head of department. He was, then as always, much loved, always wise and caring, and against all pretension and pomposity in intellectual life – whilst himself being the most gently original thinker I have ever met. I am very sad now not only at his death, but at his long tragic illness; and the fact that I was never able to really know him as much as I would have liked. A great man, much loved and now much missed.

  79. In tribute to Stan Cohen
    By Hannah Friedman
    Member of the Board,
    Past Executive Director and Co-Founder of the
    Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

    Stan Cohen was not only a friend, founder and supporter of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and the struggle against torture in Israel but he was a great public educator. He went beyond the academy to teach about us to look in the mirror and reflect upon what we see and what we refuse to see. He taught that denial of the Other was denial of our basic ideals as humans. We at PCATI are thankful that he was a part of this world and mourn his loss.

    On a personal note, one cannot ignore his biography. Born and raised in South Africa he was a part of the struggle against Apartheid and that struggle was a part of him. He knew of the evils of that regime, its racism, the forced disappearances, the torture, the attacks on freedom of expression and assembly. In his move to Israel he had hoped to find something more, a society in which he could trust, I would say, despite one’s differences with it and its policies. I think that his desires and realizations are certainly reflected in the text below, but I think that one incident in particular especially affected him. He was arrested at a demonstration for “disturbing the public order.” It is clear that our jobs as activists and human rights advocates is to disturb the public order especially when that public order refuses to recognize human rights abuses in its midst. Yet when a regime arrests demonstrators for disturbing its order one cannot help but understand that the arrest was made to silence dissent. And, I attest to you that this continues to this day. This, I think was part of Stan’s makeup and part of his reasoning for joining me and others in being part of the establishment of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

    In a 1991 piece that he published in Tikkun (v.6 no. 6) he spoke candidly and openly about Israel. I quote him now and ask how much of what he said in 1991 is true today? I fear, almost all of it, in some cases it had gotten worse:

    “Of the many contradictions in Israeli society one of the strangest for the outsider to understand is that the same political space is shared by brutal repression and democratic institutions. As much as the denial of Palestinian rights is total, as much as racism and militarism penetrate civil society, so – for Israeli Jews, that is – the terrain of democracy, legality, and civil rights remains more or less open.” He points out that for the right wing the exposure of human rights abuses and torture did not function as a call for correction but rather as exposing a system that was correct… for the anti human rights community in Israel, torture is not a problem but “To respond to internal and external criticism is to be too sensitive to a ‘”foreign”‘ ideology to worry too much about what the goyim think. And for those on the Right who genuinely understand human rights principles, the doctrine of national security overrides other considerations.”

    He alludes to history and the struggle against another ‘peculiar institution’ – slavery. “As with slavery” he writes, “the only morally defensible position about torture is abolitionist. It simply is not the task of human rights organizations to talk about alternatives…But even abolitionism needs words. The untalkable has to be talked about because in all societies at all times (and Israel is no exception), and for the vast majority of the population, the contours of daily life depend on ignorance, silence, and passive collusion. Most people exercise what Daniel Ellsberg nicely calls ‘”the right not to know.’”

    The right not to know has been identified, by Stan as an absurdity. One who lives in a society cannot not know. We all know. We know about what is happening in Syria today, we know about the Palestinians and their trampled rights. We know about hanging homosexuals in Iran, executions in Texas, FMG, rape, racism of all varieties. We know and too many of us exercise the privilege of not caring… Well Stan was not like that. Stan not only knew but he cared and he saw it as an obligation to amplify the volume and break the silence.

    He was, is and always will be an inspiration. We continue to struggle and to disturb the regimes of silent human rights violations by making noise and refusing to acquiesce to oppression against us or in our names. In our work and activism we honor Stan and are blessed and bless others by and with his memory and legacy.

    Torture disturbs the public order and it is this public order that we are enjoined to disturb. We do it not to honor Stan but with Stan in mind so that we may honor ourselves as human beings in a world community dependent on people like Stan.

  80. Prof. Sohail Hassanein says:

    Prof. Stan was my teacher in the Hebrew University/ Jerusalem and my advisor in my Ph.D. thesis during the years1983-1989 about drugs and social control. its sad to hear this news. First of all Stan was the man who protected the rights of minorities and fight against discrimination and racism. He was with Palestinians and against such an occupation. We lost a great man.

  81. Gail Super says:

    I was privileged to have been a student of Stan’s in 2000 when I did my MSc in Criminology at the LSE. He had an enormous influence on my thinking and extended great kindness to me, both during my stay in London, and also subsequently. It was really sad to visit him in 2011 and to witness his suffering. Yet, he bore his illness with such humour and grace. As we all know, Stan was not only one of sociology’s leading intellectuals but was also a true mensch. I was therefore very proud to be part of the celebration of his life that The Centre for Criminology, at the University of Cape Town, held in March 2013. The proceedings can be viewed at
    http://www.criminology.uct.ac.za/news/?id=124&t=int

  82. Jean says:

    It is with great sadness that I learn of Stan’s death. He was a warm and generous colleague in addition to his fine scholarship.

    Moreover, he bore with patience and humour a long illness – a lesson to us all !

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