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Punishment and Political Order

Keally McBride

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Imprint: University of Michigan Press
Published: 01/2007
Pages: 208
Subject: Law - Legal History, Political Science - History & Theory
Print ISBN: 9780472069828
eBook ISBN: 9780472901135


Most of us think of punishment as an ugly display of power. But punishment also tells us something about the ideals and aspirations of a people and their government. How a state punishes reveals whether or not it is confident in its own legitimacy and sovereignty. Punishment and Political Order examines the questions raised by the state's exercise of punitive power -- from what it is about human psychology that desires sanction and order to how the state can administer pain while calling for justice. Keally McBride's book demonstrates punishment's place at the core of political administration and the stated ideals of the polity.


"From start to finish this is a terrific, engaging book. McBride offers a fascinating perspective on punishment, calling attention to its utility in understanding political regimes and their ideals. She succeeds in reminding us of the centrality of punishment in political theory and, at the same time, in providing a framework for understanding contemporary events. I know of no other book that does as much to make the subject of punishment so compelling." 

—Austin Sarat, Amherst College