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American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment$
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Kevin R. Reitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190203542

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190203542.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

The Concept of American Exceptionalism and the Case of Capital Punishment

The Concept of American Exceptionalism and the Case of Capital Punishment

(p.103) 2 The Concept of American Exceptionalism and the Case of Capital Punishment
American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment

David Garland

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to distinguish the various meanings of American exceptionalism and clarifies what we might mean when we invoke this phrase. It also discusses what the American exceptionalism concept implies for the study of crime and punishment. To begin, the chapter first presents a preliminary discussion on the concept and its meanings. It then examines American exceptionalism by means of a close analysis of a specific penal phenomenon that is often invoked as proof that the United States is, indeed, exceptional: America’s retention of capital punishment into the twenty-first century. Here, the chapter argues that while America’s current stance on capital punishment may be anomalous in international terms, it is not an instance of American exceptionalism.

Keywords:   American exceptionalism, capital punishment, American exceptionalism concept, American political discourse, international political discourse, death penalty

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