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Political Economy

Civil rights

2013

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Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit Jan 2013

Legal Punishment As Civil Ritual: Making Cultural Sense Of Harsh Punishment, Spearit

Articles

This work examines mass incarceration through a ritual studies perspective, paying explicit attention to the religious underpinnings. Conventional analyses of criminal punishment focus on the purpose of punishment in relation to legal or moral norms, or attempt to provide a general theory of punishment. The goals of this work are different, and instead try to understand the cultural aspects of punishment that have helped make the United States a global leader in imprisonment and execution. It links the boom in incarceration to social ruptures of the 1950s and 1960s and posits the United States’ world leader status as having more ...