Who Deserves to Die: Constructing the Executable Subject

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Austin Sarat, Karl Shoemaker
Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2011 - Law - 312 pages
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How do we select those who will be subject to capital punishment? How do we identify the worst of the worst and decide who among them can and should be executed? Today these questions are more pressing than they have ever been. As the number of people sentenced to death and executed declines in the United States, those who are executed stand out as distinctive kinds of criminals, distinctive kinds of people. Does a death sentence affirm or deny their humanity? Is such a sentence an act of revenge or a carefully calculated act of justice?

These are more than questions for policy and law. They are one way of getting a handle on how our culture understands what makes life worth preserving and of delving into its complex calculus of punishment and retribution. Who Deserves to Die? brings together a distinguished group of death penalty scholars to assess the forms of legal subjectivity and legal community that are supported and constructed by the doctrines and practices of punishment by death in the United States. They help us understand what we do and who we become when we decide who is fit for execution.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Vanessa Barker, Thomas L. Dumm, Daniel Markel, Linda Meyer, Ruth A. Miller, Ravit Reichman, Susan R. Schmeiser, Mateo Taussig-Rubbo, and Robert Weisberg.


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An Introduction to the Constructionof Executable Subjects Austin Sarat and Karl Shoemaker
What Kind of Self Is the Executable Subject?
Constructing the Executable Subject Sacrifice and the Rituals of State Killing
New Perspectives on Selfhood and the Purposes of Capital Punishment
Notes on Contributors
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About the author (2011)

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College.

Karl Shoemaker is associate professor of history and law at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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