Title

The Social History in Death Penalty Defense Advocacy

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

15 p.

Publication Date

6-2009

Publisher

Springer

Source Publication

Critical Criminology

Source ISSN

1205-8629

Original Item ID

doi: 10.1007/s10612-009-9076-x

Abstract

This article offers an epistemologically focused descriptive account of the “social history” in American death penalty defense advocacy. Under British scientific empiricism, sufficient investigation forms the basis for representations that aspire to be adequate to investigated realities. As defense advocates see it, however, the very idea of humanity resists the goal of epistemological finality that comes with empiricist adequation. I argue that the social history investigation instrumentalizes this aesthetic of investigation-then-representation, allowing advocates to affirm to themselves the humanity of their clients while sidestepping the goal of adequation.

Comments

Critical Criminology, Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 2009): 125-139. DOI.