Sex Panic and the Punitive State

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Overview

One evening, while watching the news, Roger N. Lancaster was startled by a report that a friend, a gay male school teacher, had been arrested for a sexually based crime. The resulting hysteria threatened to ruin the life of an innocent man.
In this passionate and provocative book, Lancaster blends astute analysis, robust polemic, ethnography, and personal narrative to delve into the complicated relationship between sexuality and punishment in our society. Drawing on classical social science, critical legal studies, and queer theory, he tracks the rise of a modern suburban culture of fear and develops new insights into the punitive logic that has put down deep roots in everyday American life.

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Editorial Reviews

Salon
“Casts a thought-provoking perspective.”
The Gay & Lesbian Review
“A convincing argument.”
Contexts
“Smart, witty, and political. The critique of state responses to sex offense is desperately needed in a policy debate that celebrates ever harsher punishment.”
Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide - J.A. Myers
“This book provides a . . . window on the use of sex panics and fear-mongering by the state to increase its control over private behavior.”
From the Publisher
"Casts a thought-provoking perspective."--Salon

"A convincing argument."--The Gay & Lesbian Review

"Smart, witty, and political. The critique of state responses to sex offense is desperately needed in a policy debate that celebrates ever harsher punishment."--Contexts

"This book provides a . . . window on the use of sex panics and fear-mongering by the state to increase its control over private behavior."--Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520262065
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger N. Lancaster is Professor of Anthropology and Cultural Studies at George Mason University and is the author of several books, including Life Is Hard and The Trouble with Nature, both from UC Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Fear Eats the Soul

PART ONE: SEX PANIC
1. Panic: A Guide to the Uses of Fear
2.
Innocents at Home: How Sex Panics Reshaped American Culture
3. To Catch a Predator: New Monsters, Imagined Risks, and the Erosion of Legal Norms
4. The Magical Power of the Accusation: How I Became a Sex Criminal and Other True Stories

PART TWO: THE PUNITIVE STATE
5. Zero Tolerance: Crime and Punishment in the Punitive State
6.
Innocents Abroad: Taboo and Terror in the Global War
7. Constructing Victimization: How Americans Learned to Love Trauma
8. The Victimology Trap: Capitalism, Liberalism, and Grievance

Conclusion: Whither the Punitive State?

Appendix 1: Race,
Incarceration, and Notification
Appendix 2: Notes on Method
Notes

Index

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