Pain, Death, and the Law

Austin Sarat, Editor
How the law constructs pain and death as jurisprudential facts


This collection of essays examines the relationship between pain, death, and the law and addresses the question of how the law constructs pain and death as jurisprudential facts. The empirical focus of these essays enables the reader to delve into both the history and the theoretical complexities of the pain-death-law relationship. The combination of the theoretical and the empirical broadens the contribution this volume will undoubtedly make to debates in which the right to live or die is the core issue at hand.

This volume will be an important read for policy makers and legal practitioners and a valuable text for courses in law, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Essays in this collection are consistently strong, offering penetrating and provocative analyses of pain's role in law and punishment. As such, they illuminate important and often neglected dimensions of criminal punishment and judicial decision making. Taken together, the essays are characterized by skillful and thoughtful interdisciplinary inquiry. . . . Moreover, the essays show quite clearly how connections between pain, death, and law provide legitimacy to a legal order that puts humans to death. . . . [A] close reading of this innovative volume will assist those interested in conducting grounded studies that explore further not only the sources of legal legitimacy, but also how we may ultimately disrupt the legitimacy of a legal order where 'legal interpretation plays on a field of pain and death.'"
    —Mark Kessler, Bates College, Law and Politics Book Review, August 2001

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Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

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Listen: "Sacrifice of Life for the State?", CUNY radio interview with Paul Kahn and Austin Sarat

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 180pp.
  • 3 photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-09767-8

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  • $94.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06767-1

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  • $33.95 U.S.

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