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Without Fear or Shame: Lynching, Capital Punishment and the Subculture of Violence in the American South

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2001

James W. Clarke*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Arizona, Tucson

Abstract

Recent studies of lynching have focused on structural theories that have been tested with demographic, economic and electoral data without much explanatory success. This article suggests that lynching was largely a reflection of a facilitating subculture of violence within which these atrocities were situationally determined by cultural factors not reported in census and economic tabulations, or election returns. Lynching declined in the twentieth century, in part, as a result of segregation and disfranchisement policies, but mainly because state executioners replaced lynch mobs in carrying out the will of the white majority.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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Footnotes

The author thanks Denise Allyn, Clifford Brown, Andrea Gerlak, William Lockwood, Trish Morris, Francis Neely, Roxanne Peyton and Gwen Torges for their assistance.

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