Against Capital Punishment

Against Capital Punishment : The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994

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This book is the first full account of anti-death penalty activism in America during the years since the ten-year moratorium on executions ended in 1976. It traces the successful assault on capital punishment during the 1960s and the struggle of abolitionists against the backlash that has steadily gained momentum since the mid-1970s, and diagnoses the reasons for their inability to mobilize widespread opposition to executions. Finally, it assesses the prospects for the future of the death penalty in the United States.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 266 pages
  • 165.4 x 241.6 x 24.6mm | 557.37g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • tables
  • 0195088387
  • 9780195088380

Review quote

The most important theoretical task in current social movement theory is the integration of organizational and culturalist approaches to movement dynamics. Haines provides us with a model of theoretical syncretism applied to an important empirical case. He makes both the movement's successes and its failures understandable. Against Capital Punishment will no doubt become a standard on social movement bibliographies. * Rhys H. Williams, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale * Mr. Haines' book is a clearly written and well-informed account of the struggles against the death penalty in America over the last two decades. Reading about the passions and commitment of those opposing executions is bound to give pause to even the closest friends of the executioner. * Michael L. Radelet, University of Florida * Herb Haines tells the compelling recent story of one of the nation's oldest social movements. His tale picks up after organized opposition to the death penalty nearly succeeded in seeing capital punishment abolished in 1972, and it follows the movement's change of direction as hope faded that the U.S. Supreme Court would deliver on its promise to keep the death penalty free of arbitrariness and racial bias, or do away with it. Haines' book presents a uniquely
critical but sympathetic appraisal of where the anti-death penalty movement now stands, and what directions it should take. * William J. Bowers, Northeastern University * Drawing on a variety of methods, data, and theoretical frameworks, Professor Haines skillfully crafts a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the dynamics of the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States. It is scholarly yet engaging, critical yet sympathetic, and topical yet important. Social movement scholars, criminologists, activists, and other observers will find this first extensive account of anti-death penalty activism since the ten-year
moratorium on executions ended captivating and provocative. * Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska *
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About Herbert H. Haines

Herbert H. Haines is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Cortland. He is the author of Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream, 1954-1970 (1988), which was selected as an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States.
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Back cover copy

While most western democracies have renounced the death penalty, capital punishment enjoys vast and growing support in the United States. A significant and vocal minority, however, continues to oppose it. Against Capital Punishment is the first full account of anti-death penalty activism in America during the years since the ten-year moratorium on executions ended. Building on in-depth interviews with movement leaders and the records of key abolitionist organizations, this work traces the struggle against the pro-death penalty backlash that has steadily gained momentum since the 1970s. It reviews the conservative turn in the courts which, over the last two decades, has forced death penalty opponents to rely less on the litigation strategies that once served them well. It describes their efforts to mount a broad-based educational and political assault on what they see as the most cruel, racist, ineffective, and expensive manifestation of a criminal justice system gone wrong. Despite the efforts of death-penalty opponents, executions in the United States are on the increase. Against Capital Punishment diagnoses the reasons for the failure to mobilize widespread opposition to executions, and assesses the prospects for opposition to capital punishment in the future of the United States.
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