This book brings together scholarship on three different forms of state violence, examining each for what it can tell us about the conditions under which states use violence and the significance of violence to our understanding of states. This book calls into question the legitimacy of state uses of violence and mounts a sustained effort at interpretation, sense making, and critique. It suggests that condemning the state's decisions to use lethal force is not a simple matter of abolishing the death penalty or – to take another exemplary example of the killing state – demanding that the state engage only in just (publicly declared and justified) wars, pointing out that even such overt instances of lethal force are more elusive as targets of critique than one might think. Indeed, altering such decisions may do little to change the essential relationship of the state to violence.
• Compares three different forms of state violence that are usually considered separately • Interdisciplinary • Brings together scholarship on three different forms of state violence, examining for each, what it can tell us about the conditions under which states use violence
1. Introduction: interpreting the violent state Austin Sarat and Jennifer Culbert; Part I. On the Forms of State Killing: 2. The innocuousness of state lethality in an age of national security Robin Wagner-Pacifici; 3. Oedipal sovereignty Jeremy Arnold; 4. Consecrating violence Mateo Taussig-Rubbo; 5. Due process and lethal confinement Colin Dayan; 6. From time to torture: the hellish future of the criminal sentence Thomas L. Dumm; 7. The child in the broom closet: states of killing and letting die Elizabeth Povinelli; 8. Canadian state lethality towards indigenous peoples Mark Antaki and Coel Kirkby; Part II. Investigating the Discourses of Death: 9. Death in the first person Peter Brooks; 10. Open secrets or, the postscript of capital punishment Ravit Reichman; 11. Ethical exception: capital punishment in the figure of sovereignty Adam Thurschwell; 12. No mercy Adam Sitze.