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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

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Legal Violence and the Limits of the Law

Edited by: Amy Swiffen, Joshua Nichols

ISBN13: 9781138814141
Published: August 2017
Publisher: Routledge
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £95.00

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What is the meaning of punishment today? Where is the limit that separates it from the cruel and unusual? In legal discourse, the distinction between punishment and vengeance - punishment being the measured use of legally sanctioned violence and vengeance being a use of violence that has no measure - is expressed by the idea of 'cruel and unusual punishment'. This phrase was originally contained in the English Bill of Rights (1689). But it, and versions of it, have since found their way into numerous constitutions and declarations, including Article Five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Clearly, in order for the use of violence to be legitimate it must be subject to limitation. The difficulty is that the determination of this limit should be objective, but it is not; and its application in punitive practice is constituted by a host of extra-legal factors and social and political structures. It is this essential contestability of the limit which distinguishes punishment from violence that this book addresses. And, including contributions from a range of internationally renowned scholars, it offers a plurality of original and important responses to the contemporary question of the relationship between punishment and the limits of law.

Law and Society
Introduction, Amy Swiffen and Joshua Nichols

Section I: Criminal Punishments
1. George Pavlich, Criminal Accusation, Depersonalization and Forces of Law
2. Jill Stauffer, 'The Experience of an Extreme Loneliness': Solitary Confinement and Other Forms of Human Isolation
3. Kelly Hannah-Moffat, 'Normalizing Exceptions: Deconstructing the Logic of Punitive Interventions

Section II: Colonialism and Criminalisation
4. Robert Nichols, The Colonialism of Incarceration
5. Taiaiaka Alfred, Environmental Racism and the Disciplining of Indigenous Resistance

Section III: Execution
6. Peter Fitzpatrick, Capital Punishment and the Death of Law
7. Michael Naas: Cruelty, Calculation, and the Death Penalty
8. Austin Sarat, The Cruelty of Botched Executions

Section IV: Punishment and the Law of War
9. Liora Lazarus, Is Security a Legal Exception?
10. David Owen, Criminality, Security and the Constitution of Migrants
11. Dean Spade, Chelsea Manning: Soldier/Prisoner

Section V: Critical Philosophical Engagements
12. Mark Kingwell, 'It Isn't Just a Good Idea, It's the Law': Legal Mechanisms, Force, and Changing Minds
13. Desmond Manderson, The Octopus and the Furies: Gustav Klimt and the Critique of Punishment
14. Lisa Guenther, The End of the World and the (Re)Birth of Resistance: Notes on the California Hunger Strikes