The Killing State: Capital Punishment in Law, Politics, and Culture

Paperback | July 15, 2001

EditorAustin Sarat

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Over 7,000 people have been legally executed in the United States this century, and over 3,000 men and women now sit on death rows across the country awaiting the same fate. Since the Supreme Court temporarily halted capital punishment in 1972, the death penalty has returned with a vengeance.Today there appears to be a widespread public consensus in favor of capital punishment and considerable political momentum to ensure that those sentenced to death are actually executed. Yet the death penalty remains troubling and controversial for many people. The Killing State: Capital Punishmentin Law, Politics, and Culture explores what it means when the state kills and what it means for citizens to live in a killing state, helping us understand why America clings tenaciously to a punishment that has been abandoned by every other industrialized democracy.Edited by a leading figure in socio-legal studies, this book brings together the work of ten scholars, including recognized experts on the death penalty and noted scholars writing about it for the first time. Focused more on theory than on advocacy, these bracing essays open up new questions forscholars and citizens: What is the relationship of the death penalty to the maintenance of political sovereignty? In what ways does the death penalty resemble and enable other forms of law's violence? How is capital punishment portrayed in popular culture? How does capital punishment express the newpolitics of crime, organize positions in the "culture war," and affect the structure of American values? This book is a timely examination of a vitally important topic: the impact of state killing on our law, our politics, and our cultural life.

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Over 7,000 people have been legally executed in the United States this century, and over 3,000 men and women now sit on death rows across the country awaiting the same fate. Since the Supreme Court temporarily halted capital punishment in 1972, the death penalty has returned with a vengeance.Today there appears to be a widespread publi...

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. He has written and edited many books and articles on the theory and practice of law, and was recently elected President of the Law and Society Association.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.71 × 8.9 × 0.79 inPublished:July 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195146026

ISBN - 13:9780195146028

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Table of Contents

ContributorsAustin Sarat: Capital Punishment as a Fact of Legal, Political, and Cultural Life: An IntroductionI. The Politics of State Killing1. Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania: After the Terror: Mortality, Equality, Fraternity2. Hugo Adam Bedau, Tufts University: Abolishing the Death Penalty Even for the Worst Murderers3. Julie M. Taylor, Rice University: A Juridical Frankenstein, Or Death in the Hands of the State4. Jonathan Simon, University of Miami and Christina Spaulding, Assistant Public Defender: Tokens of Our Esteem: Aggravating Factors in the Era of Deregulated Death Penalties5. Peter Fitzpatrick, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London: "Always More to Do": Capital Punishment and the (De)Composition of Law6. Franklin E. Zimring, University of California, Berkeley: The Executioner's Dissonant Song: On Capital Punishment and American Legal Values7. Anthony G. Amsterdam, New York University: Selling a Quick Fix for Boot Hill: The Myth of Justice Delayed in Death CasesIII. The Death Penalty and the Culture of Responsibility8. William E. Connolly, Johns Hopkins University: The Will, Capital Punishment, and Cultural War9. Jennifer L. Culbert, Arizona State University: Beyond Intention: A Critique of the "Normal" Criminal Agency, Responsibility, and Punishment in American Death Penalty Jurisprudence10. The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment: Responsibility and Representation in Dead Man Walking and Last DanceIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The papers in this collection represent an important and wide-ranging cross-section of current debate about the death penalty. Coming from varied perspectives of moral and political philosophy, legal theory, cultural criticism and what might be called political anthropology, the approachestaken range from mainstream to Nietzschean to deconstructionist. Neither is the collection univocally against the death penalty. These essays would make fruitful reading for anyone interested in the death penalty, state violence or the role of punishment in our societies more generally." - -Contemporary Political Theory