The ethics of capital punishment and a law of affective enchantment

Gilani, Sabrina (2022) The ethics of capital punishment and a law of affective enchantment. Social and Legal Studies. pp. 1-25. ISSN 0964-6639

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This paper re-reads American Appellate and Supreme Court rulings about the constitutionality of execution by electrocution from the perspective of new materialism. Using the case of Provenzano v. Moore, this paper highlights how the existing jurisprudence develops a notion of cruelty that deliberately avoids the sensual and affective dimensions of punishment. Given the profoundly corporeal nature of punishment and even more so capital punishment, any consideration of the ethics of punitive practice must meaningfully engage with the body, its situatedness, and its material networks, all of which enact punishment as a social phenomenon. Employing Jane Bennett's ethics of affective enchantment, grounded in the ethico-onto-epistemology of new materialist thinkers, this paper critiques the majority opinion in Provenzano by demonstrating how it feeds into modern disenchantment. It then draws on Provenzano's landmark dissent to show how ethical practice stems from deliberately opening oneself up to the wonderment of an entangled world produced through the acknowledgement of nonhuman selves and plastic bodies. This has the potential to generate an understanding of ‘humane’ punishment that better, and more meaningfully accounts for how human beings relate to and engage with the world around them.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: new materialism, Capital Punishment, onto-epistemology, Affectivity, affective punishment, modern disenchantment, vibrant matter, intra-activity
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2022 07:30
Last Modified: 17 May 2022 09:16

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