Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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p. vii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Shortly after midnight, on January 5, 1993, Westley Allan Dodd was hanged in the death chamber of the Washington State Penitentiary, about a mile and a half west of my home. Although I did not realize it at the time, that event furnished the initial impetus for what is now this book. ...

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2. What Is a Death Sentence?

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pp. 13-45

On May 20, 1997, after spending seventeen years on death row in Texas, Clarence Allen Lackey was executed by lethal injection. Two years before, Lackey had sought review of his sentence by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that his execution following such a lengthy incarceration would violate...

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3. John Locke's Noose

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pp. 47-92

This chapter joins two issues. The first concerns the generic accounts of the modern state offered by Max Weber and Michel Foucault, and the second concerns the principal method employed by the specifically English state to execute its citizens. Some argue, as I shall indicate, that the Weberian and Foucauldian readings of the state are categorically...

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4. The Metaphysics of the Hangman

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pp. 93-133

Prior to introduction of the electric chair in 1890, hanging was the principal and, more often than not, the exclusive method of state-sponsored killing in all of the United States (Drimmer 1990). Indeed, of the nearly twenty thousand documented executions conducted since the founding of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, close to...

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5. Silencing the Voice of Pain

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pp. 135-164

“Legal interpretation takes place in a field of pain and death” (Cover1986, 1601). The law of the liberal state, Robert Cover observed, seeks to distance itself from the violence implicated in its very existence. To do so, to cite the example I explored in chapter 2, the law detaches the pronouncement of a death sentence from its imposition. ...

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6. Womanhood Unsexed on the Gallows

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pp. 165-177

“I say gender should not play any role in this at all” (Karla Faye Tucker, quoted in Pederson 1998, 66). With all due respect for the dead, this chapter is predicated on the belief that Tucker was wrong. To disregard the question of gender in making sense of her execution on February 3, 1998, the second state-sponsored killing of a woman since the Supreme...

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7. Needling the Sovereign

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pp. 179-214

“The point is to make what you see as uneventful as possible” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 3, 2000, ZB). So said C. J. Drake, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections, shortly after that state completed its first two executions by lethal injection. ...

Notes

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pp. 215-231

References

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pp. 233-242

Index

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pp. 243-251