Sanctifying the robe: Punitive violence and the English press, 1650–1700
Palgrave Macmillan, London
157 - 182
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Penal practice and culture, 1500–1900 punishing the english
It has become almost commonplace to treat punishment as a self-contained sociological phenomenon to be interpreted in terms of sentences or patterns of prosecution. Unfortunately, this widespread approach tends to overlook how punitive power itself has been understood. Much like its ancient and medieval predecessors, modern punishment is supported by a set of rituals, rationales and explanations that serve to legitimize it. This symbolic apparatus not only underwrites punishment, but also marks it off as something distinct from ‘mere’ violence. Rationales are therefore every bit as crucial to the sociology of punishment as are the severity of sanctions, the frequency of punitive action, or the legal machinery that surround its application.
Published Version (Please cite this version)https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230523241_7