Goodman, Phil

Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Undergraduate - CLSSociology

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
Philip Goodman

Professor Goodman use prisons and punishment—and crime and law, more generally—as lenses through which to consider questions of inequality, penal politics, and the micro-dynamics of everyday life. At the heart of his scholarship is an attempt to ask how and why punishment changes over time, why it varies across place, and how it is lived and experienced today. In his research and scholarship Goodman has paid particular attention to race and ethnicity, individual change and behaviour over the life-course (including the concepts of ‘rehabilitation’ and 'persistence'), and penal labour.

Goodman has studied California’s prison fire camps to understand punishment and penal change. This led to three articles: one on the socially constructed nature of rehabilitation in the contemporary period (published in Social Problems), a second examining questions of exploitation and agency vis-à-vis penal labour (published in a special issue of Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society), and a third on race, racialization, and punishment (published in the American Journal of Sociology). Goodman also has an ongoing collaboration with Joshua Page and Michelle Phelps (both at the University of Minnesota). Together they are re-examining American criminal justice case studies in order to develop a mid-range, agonistic framework for better understanding penal change and the nature of the penal field. From this project Goodman, Page, and Phelps published an article (in Theoretical Criminology), and have a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press.

Other research projects include an examination of the penal drama surrounding the closure of Canada’s prison farms (with University of Toronto graduate student Meghan Dawe); an analysis of employment and ex-prisoners’ re-entry in the Greater Toronto Area (funded in part with a development grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council); and a project (with Professor Candace Kruttschnitt and University of Toronto graduate student Timothy Kang) interviewing persistent offenders to better understand the role of narratives in shaping patterns of criminal activity and how people make sense of their lives.


Goodman, Philip and Meghan Dawe (2016). “Prisoners, Cows, and Abattoirs: The Closing of Canada’s Prison Farms as a Political Penal Drama.” British Journal of Criminology. 56(4): 793-812.

Philip Goodman (lead author), Joshua Page, and Michelle Phelps (2015). “The Long Struggle: An Agonistic Perspective on Penal Development.” Theoretical Criminology. 19(3): 315-335.

Goodman, Philip (2014). “Race in California’s Prison Fire Camps for Men: Prison Politics, Space, and the Racialization of Everyday Life.” American Journal of Sociology. 120(2): 352-394.

Goodman, Philip (2012). “‘Another Second Chance’: Rethinking Rehabilitation Through the Lens of California’s Prison Fire Camps.” Social Problems. 59(4): 437-458.

Goodman, Philip (2012). “Hero and Inmate: Work, Prisons, and Punishment in California’s Fire Camps.” Special issue (‘Labor and the Political Economy of Punishment’) of Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society. 15(3): 353-376.

Goodman, Philip (2011). “From ‘Observation Dude’ to ‘An Observational Study’: Gaining Access and Conducting Research Inside a Paramilitary Organization.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society. 26(3): 599-605.

Goodman, Philip (2008). “‘It's Just Black, White, or Hispanic’: An Observational Study of Racializing Moves in California's Segregated Prison Reception Centers.” Law & Society Review. 42(4): 735-770.


Crime and Socio-Legal Studies
Ph.D. (Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine)
M.A. (Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine)
B.A. (History, Bowdoin College, Maine)