From Noose to Needle

Capital Punishment and the Late Liberal State
Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn
Discusses the dilemmas of the relationship between the liberal state and capital punishment


From Noose to Needle provides a new perspective on the controversial topic of capital punishment. By asking how the conduct of state killing reveals broader contradictions in the contemporary liberal state—especially, but not exclusively, in the United States—Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn progresses beyond the more familiar legal and sociological approaches to this issue.

Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn is Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership at Whitman College.

Praise / Awards

  • "This is an intellectually ambitious book that seeks to integrate political theory, legal theory, and a controversial public policy."
    —John Paul Ryan, Law and Politics Book Review, March 2003
  • "The modern state's long road from the noose to the needle, from carnivals of death to medicalized acts of euthanasia, is littered with victims. And the most noteworthy victim is the liberal state's own identity, an identity wrapped up in the claim to both humanistic rationality and the monopoly of legitimized violence. Behind the clinical machinery of technically perfect executions, the modern state hopes to absolve itself of any hint of inhumanity while reasserting its sovereignty. It is, we are told, a vain effort. . . . . Kaufman-Osborn provokes us to reflect deeply about the meaning of capital punishment in late modernity. And he provides much in the way of historical and theoretical guidance for our reflections."
    Perspectives on Politics

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Copyright © 2003, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 256 pages.
  • 3 photographs, 1 table.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02290-8

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