"Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism is a powerful, remarkable book. It insightfully explores the nexus of punishment, disenfranchisement, and racism in the United States. Dilts calls on all of us to rethink our longstanding practice of felony disenfranchisement. His argument is subtle and thoroughly convincing. Written in an engaging and lucid style, it is truly a pleasure to read this book." -Austin Sarat, Amherst College"This book pulls from many different disciplines, perspectives, and sources to construct a compelling argument about the status of American democracy today. It applies theoretical sophistication to these sources while maintaining a strong political commitment. This is a combination that is all too rare in the field of political and legal theory today!" -Keally McBride, University of San FranciscoVom Verlag:
At the start of the 21st century, 1 percent of the U.S. population is behind bars. An additional 3 percent of Americans are on parole or probation. In all but two states, incarcerated felons cannot vote, and in three states Kentucky, Virginia, and Iowa felon disenfranchisement is for life. Over 5 million adult Americans cannot vote because of a felony-class criminal conviction, meaning that more than 2 percent of otherwise eligible voters are stripped of their political rights. Nationally, a full third of the disenfranchised are African American, effectively disenfranchising 13 percent of all African American men in the United States. In Alabama and Florida, one in every three adult African American men cannot vote. Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism, gives a theoretical and historical account of this pernicious practice, drawing widely on early modern political philosophy, continental and post-colonial political thought, critical race theory, feminist philosophy, disability theory, critical legal studies, and archival research into 19th and 20th state constitutional conventions. This particular history of felon disenfranchisement, rooted in post-slavery restrictions on suffrage and the contemporaneous emergence of the modern "American" penal system, shows the deep connections between two political institutions often thought to be separate, revealing the work of membership done by the criminal punishment system, and the work of punishment done by the electoral franchise. Felon disenfranchisement is shown to be a symptomatic marker of the deep tension and interdependence that persists in democratic politics between who is considered a member of the polity and how that polity punishes persons who violate its laws. While these connections are seldom deployed openly in current debates about suffrage or criminal justice, the book shows how white supremacy a perniciously quiet yet deeply violent political system continues to operate through contemporary regimes of punishment and governance.
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