The following is a call for papers for an interesting looking conference at Oxford in September dealing with new approaches to thinking about punishment.  I reproduce it here because one of the concepts it raises is religious and/or spiritual punishment.  Interested parties should contact  

The concept of punishment has a long history and diverse cultural, social and criminological meanings.  Research and debate is often focused on the offender, the offence, the state and legal codification.  In contrast, this project seeks to re-frame these debates in order to combine the insights they produce with broader cultural meanings, social representations and ritualistic or other activities.  Therefore, the aim of the project is to develop different ways of understanding the penetration and complexity of shared understandings of punishment from a variety of perspectives, approaches and practitioner experiences.  Reframing the debate might be done through papers aimed at the personal or social levels.  We encourage unique approaches to punishment in terms of boundary control, whether it is control of evil, the politically subversive, the economically disruptive, or punishment in pursuit of system stability or marginalisation of liminality.   Papers might also cover punishment issues relating to defining the contours of disgust, desire, dread, or the abject.  They may even consider the operation and consequences of both wrongdoing and various forms of societal/social punishment.  Accordingly the project welcomes papers, work-in-progress and pre-formed panels from diverse areas of study such as the humanities, social sciences, business, science, law schools and the arts, as well as practitioners.

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