Law punishes violence, yet law depends on violence. In this book, a group of leading interdisciplinary legal scholars seeks to map the inexorable but unstable relationship of law to violence. What does it mean to talk about the violence of law? Do high incarceration rates and increased reliance on capital punishment indicate that U.S. law is growing more violent at a time when violence is being restrained in other legal systems? How is the violence of law represented in popular culture and does this affect law's actual legitimacy? Does violence express or distort the essence of law? Does law's violence serve justice?
In deeply original essays, the authors build on the seminal work of Robert Cover--one of the few legal scholars ever to consider the question of law and violence. In striving to situate his insights within current political, social, economic, and cultural contexts, they contemplate diverse and interrelated subjects surrounding the theme of law and violence. Among these are the purpose of law as punishment, the increasing number of executions in the United States, prison violence, racial disparity in sentencing, and the meaning of torture. The result is a remarkable volume that stimulates us to reconsider connections that we too often leave unexplored. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Marianne Constable, Peter Fitzpatrick, Thomas R. Kearns, Peter Rush, Jonathan Simon, Shaun McVeigh, and Alison Young.
CHAPTER ONE: Situating Law Between the Realities of Violence and the Claims of Justice: An Introduction by Austin Sarat 3 CHAPTER TWO: The Vicissitudes of Law's Violence by Jonathan Simon 17 CHAPTER THREE: Making Peace with Violence: Robert Cover on Law and Legal Theory by Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns 49 CHAPTER FOUR: The Silence of the Laws: Justice in Cover's "Field of Pain and Death" by Marianne Constable 85 CHAPTER FIVE: A Judgment Dwelling in Law: Violence and the Relations of Legal Thought by Shaun McVeigh, Peter Rush, and Alison Young 101 CHAPTER SIX: Why the law Is Also Nonviolent by Peter Fitzpatrick 142 The Contributors 175 Index 177