An Integrated Theory of Lethal Punishment: Social Geometry, Status Relationships, and the Dehumanization Process

An Integrated Theory of Lethal Punishment: Social Geometry, Status Relationships, and the... Punishment exists universally as a form of social control, spanning a continuum from the physically inconsequential to lethality. What explains observable variations in punishment, or lethal punishment as a form of social control? This paper builds upon Black’s pure sociology framework and Milner’s theory of status relations to argue that lethal punishment occurs mainly under conditions of marginalization, disruptions of the previous social geometries, and social polarization that characterize interpersonal encounters or inter-group relationships. These conditions facilitate the status degradation processes that lead to the dehumanization of the “other.” By the same token, such conditions do not often prevail in familial settings and hence lethal punishments are far less common than the lethality associated with other forms of moralistic violence and state-sanctioned punishments. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Sociology Brill

An Integrated Theory of Lethal Punishment: Social Geometry, Status Relationships, and the Dehumanization Process

Comparative Sociology, Volume 16 (2): 36 – Mar 28, 2017

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1569-1322
eISSN
1569-1330
D.O.I.
10.1163/15691330-12341423
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Punishment exists universally as a form of social control, spanning a continuum from the physically inconsequential to lethality. What explains observable variations in punishment, or lethal punishment as a form of social control? This paper builds upon Black’s pure sociology framework and Milner’s theory of status relations to argue that lethal punishment occurs mainly under conditions of marginalization, disruptions of the previous social geometries, and social polarization that characterize interpersonal encounters or inter-group relationships. These conditions facilitate the status degradation processes that lead to the dehumanization of the “other.” By the same token, such conditions do not often prevail in familial settings and hence lethal punishments are far less common than the lethality associated with other forms of moralistic violence and state-sanctioned punishments.

Journal

Comparative SociologyBrill

Published: Mar 28, 2017

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