Perceptions of safety, fear and social change in the public’s pro-death penalty discourse in mid twentieth-century Britain

Seal, Lizzie (2017) Perceptions of safety, fear and social change in the public’s pro-death penalty discourse in mid twentieth-century Britain. Crime, History and Societies. ISSN 1422-0857 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Following the Second World War, capital punishment in Britain became an increasingly contentious issue. This article draws on research carried out into public responses to the death penalty in mid twentieth-century Britain. It is the first to examine the public’s pro-death penalty discourse as it was framed in relation to fears about safety and order in society. I argue that public responses help to shed light on continuities in punitive discourse and its relationship with anxieties about social change. Although criminological literature has frequently placed such sentiments within the context of social and cultural shifts in late modern societies since the 1970s, this article demonstrates that crime had a similar role as a condensing symbol for fears about social change in the 1940s and 50s.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Death penalty; public opinion; social change
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Lizzie Seal
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 11:04
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 16:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68090

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