Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India

Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India


By (author) Jinee Lokaneeta

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  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 25mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 29 August 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0814752799
  • ISBN 13: 9780814752791
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,732,014

Product description

Evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay beg the question: has the "war on terror" forced liberal democracies to rethink their policies and laws against torture? Transnational Torture focuses on the legal and political discourses on torture in India and the United States-two common-law based constitutional democracies-to theorize the relationship between law, violence, and state power in liberal democracies. Analyzing about one hundred landmark Supreme Court cases on torture in India and the United States, memos and popular imagery of torture, Jinee Lokaneeta compellingly demonstrates that even before recent debates on the use of torture in the war on terror, the laws of inerrogation were much more ambivalent about the infliction of excess pain and suffering than most political and legal theorists have acknowledged. Rather than viewing the recent policies on interrogation as anomalous or exceptional, Lokaneeta effectively argues that efforts to accommodate excess violence-a constantly negotiated process-are long standing features of routine interrogations in both the United States and India, concluding that the infliction of excess violence is more central to democratic governance than is acknowledged in western jurisprudence.

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Author information

Jinee Lokaneeta is Associate Professor of Political Science at Drew University (NJ).

Review quote

Transnational Torture is a truly original study of two liberal democracies rarely compared to each other, and the comparison produces a sum of understanding greater than its parts. Lokaneeta's analysis of American and Indian jurisprudence of custody, confession, police discretion, and the (often exaggerated) distinction between exceptional and routine state violence is empirically detailed while also theoretically transcendental and fresh. This book will edify anyone seeking a deeper understanding of torture and the law. -Lisa Hajjar, author of "Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza""