Race, racialisation and ‘colonial common sense’ in capital cases of men of colour in England and Wales, 1919-1957

Seal, Lizzie and Neale, Alexa Hannah Leah (2019) Race, racialisation and ‘colonial common sense’ in capital cases of men of colour in England and Wales, 1919-1957. Open Library of Humanities, 5 (1). pp. 1-21. ISSN 2056-6700

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Abstract

This article explores the role of ‘colonial common sense’ (Stoler, 2008) in racialising men of colour in capital cases in twentieth-century England and Wales. Following the First World War psychiatric and psychological discourses became more prominent in both the criminal justice system and the wider culture, but were not the primary means through which race was constructed in capital trials. Rather, colonially informed common sense understandings of racial difference were more significant and were themselves an aspect of medical expertise, such as prison medicine. The article discusses cases such as Djang Djin Sung, the first man of colour to be executed in England after the First World War, Lock Ah Tam, who was hanged in 1926 despite benefiting from a well-funded insanity defence and Eric Dique, who murdered his girlfriend in 1956. Analysis of cases of men of colour sentenced to death in this period contributes to uncovering the history of racism in the criminal justice system.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0661 Social control
Depositing User: Lizzie Seal
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 08:35
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 08:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/86933

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Race, Racialisation and the Death Penalty in England and Wales, 1900-65G2062LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2016-352