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Punishment and Democratic Rights: A Case Study in Non-Ideal Penal Theory

In Molly Gardner & Michael Weber (eds.), The Ethics of Policing and Imprisonment. pp. 7-37 (2018)

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  1. Felon Disenfranchisement and Democratic Legitimacy.Matt S. Whitt - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):283-311.
    Political theorists have long criticized policies that deny voting rights to convicted felons. However, some have recently turned to democratic theory to defend this practice, arguing that democratic self-determination justifies, or even requires, disenfranchising felons. I review these new arguments, acknowledge their force against existing criticism, and then offer a new critique of disenfranchisement that engages them on their own terms. Using democratic theory’s “all-subjected principle,” I argue that liberal democracies undermine their own legitimacy when they deny the vote to (...)
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  • Race, Ideology, and the Communicative Theory of Punishment.Steven Swartzer - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19:1-22.
    This paper explores communicative punishment from a non-idealized perspective. I argue that, given the specific racial dynamics involved, and given the broader social and historical context in which they are embedded, American policing and punishment function as a form of racially derogatory discourse. Understood as communicative behavior, criminal justice activities express a commitment to a broader ideology. Given the facts about how the American justice system actually operates, and given its broader socio-political context, American carceral behaviors express a commitment to (...)
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