Evil, Law and the State

Perspectives on State Power and Violence


Editor: John T. Parry
The topic of “evil” means different things depending upon context. For some, it is an archaic term, while others view it as a central problem of ethics, psychology, or politics. Coupled with state power, the problem of evil takes on a special salience for most observers. When governments do evil –in whatever way we define the term – the scale of harm increases, sometimes exponentially. The evils of state violence, then, demand our attention and concern. Yet the linkage of evil with state power does not resolve the underlying question of how to understand the concepts that we invoke when we use the term. Instead, the question becomes what evil means in the context of and in relation to state power.
The fifteen essays in this book bring multiple perspectives to bear on the problems of state-sponsored evil and violence, and on the ways in which law enables or responds to them. The approaches and conclusions articulated by the various contributors sometimes complement and sometimes stand in tension with each other, but as a whole they contribute to our ongoing effort to understand the characteristics and workings of state power, and our need to grapple with the harm it causes.

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Introduction John T. PARRY: Pain, Interrogation, and the Body: State Violence and the Law of Torture Fernando PURCELL: “Too Many Foreigners for My Taste”: Law, Race and Ethnicity in California, 1848-1852 Shani D’CRUZE: Protection, Harm and Social Evil: The Age of Consent, c. 1885-c. 1940 Ruth A. MILLER: Sin, Scandal, and Disaster: Politics and Crime in Contemporary Turkey İştar GÖZAYD1N: Adding Injury To Injury: The Case of Rape and Prostitution in Turkey Dani FILC and Hadas ZIV: Exception as the Norm and the Fiction of Sovereignty: The Lack of the Right to Health Care in the Occupied Territories Alban BURKE: Mental Health Care During Apartheid in South Africa: An Illustration of How “Science” Can be Abused Rui ZHU: Schistosomiasis and Capital Marxism Elena A. BAYLIS: The Inevitable Impunity of Suicide Terrorists Douglas J. SYLVESTER: The Lessons of Nuremberg and the Trial of Saddam Hussein Kirsten AINLEY: Responsibility for Atrocity: Individual Criminal Agency and the International Criminal Court Roberto BUONAMANO: Humanity and Inhumanity: State Power and the Force of Law in the Prescription of Juridical Norms Vincent LUIZZI: New Balance, Evil, and the Scales of Justice Jody LYNEÉ MADEIRA: The Execution as Sacrifice Bram IEVEN: Legitimacy and Violence: On the Relation between Law and Justice According to Rawls and Derrida Notes on Contributors