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Sex Panic and the Punitive State Paperback – March 15, 2011
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"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."--J.A. Myers"Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide" (09/01/2011)
This book provides a . . . window on the use of sex panics and fear-mongering by the state to increase its control over private behavior. --J.A. Myers"Gay & Lesbian Review/Worldwide" (09/01/2011)"
From the Inside Flap
Sex Panic and the Punitive State is a passionate, wide-ranging analysis of a culture of American fear that takes shape as moral panic and a socially permeating knee-jerk vindictivenessnot just against the criminal but against anyone (therefore everyone) who could be cast as a potential perpetrator. Its focus on sex and crime is centrally on the male sexual predator, especially the pedophile figure: but its richly archived and narrated examples reach from 19th century victimology to the present, from slavery to terrorism, and their legitimation of the preemptive moral strike. A manifesto against the contemporary paranoid style and its hold on the law, media and you, this book is an important contribution to LGBTQ studies and to American studies in general.”Lauren Berlant, Department of English, University of Chicago
"Sex Panic is gripping and provocative. Lancaster effectively weaves historical and ethnographic accounts along with his own experiences to illuminate the dangerous tilt in America's legal system toward a presumption of guilt. This is an important book for anyone interested in how crime and justice are perceived in society."Jonathan Simon, Berkeley Law, Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice
A profound meditation on sex panics in the modern period, coupled with a biting polemic against the role of the punitive state in American culture. This is a must read for everyone concerned with the state of human rights, sexuality, and political economy. You may not agree with it all, but it will rattle your brain.” Gilbert Herdt, founder, Department of Sexuality Studies, San Francisco State University
"From the moral panics about child abuse to the war on terror, Roger Lancaster brilliantly explores the fears and anxieties of the United States in recent decades, showing how they continuously participate in the shaping of the nation. His vivid depiction of the paranoid style and bellicose rhetoric in politics gives remarkable clues to comprehend contemporary punitive governance." Didier Fassin, James Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
"Sex Panic & the Punitive State is a sensationally smart integration of the ever-expanding regime of sex-offender surveillance and punishment with all those vexing phenomena you knew were related but couldn't figure out how: victim worship; parental paranoia; the racialization of crime; neoliberalism; the 'war on terror'and more. Lancaster spares neither right nor left, feminist nor religious conservative; he privileges neither cultural nor economic theories. Meticulously historicized, complexly thought-out, and elegantly written, this exegesis of sexuality and the 'punitive state' will long be vital to academics, policymakers, and activists alike."Judith Levine, author of Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
Top Customer Reviews
Lancaster sees the newly minted social category of "the victim" as a central force in a new social order. In the name of the iconic crime victim, the Victim's Rights Movement has led the charge to dismantle traditional legal protections. Perversely, increased repression of the American citizenry has arisen in tandem with the loosening of economic restraints on privatization, globalization and corporations' relentless squeezing of what we now call the 99 percent.
Although there are other excellent books on both sex panic and on mass incarceration in the United States, Lancaster delves most broadly into the deeper historical, economic, religious and social trends that have contributed to what he describes as "a broken social order based on mistrust, resentment, and ill will."
This is an enlightening book on an essential topic. I highly recommend it.
There is much more to this book than the personal story. Lancaster gives an excellent summary of the various panics and laws targeting both accused and convicted sex offenders. He also includes an in-depth discussion of the media's role in the "sex panic." His later chapters lay out an fascinating case for the perniciousness of America's hysteria about sex crimes. Lancaster writes about this hysteria corrodes our democratic institutions and reinforces the politics of neoliberalism, (a political project designed to crush public solidarity and heighten inequality). Lancaster attacks the carceral state as a whole, laying bare its racism and classism. This is the best book I have read so far in 2011.
Conversely, while we need not panic on que, I want to point out that child sexual abuse does occur. Sexual predators do exist, many within the bosem of our own families. But even beyond the intrafamilial taboo against incest, it is the power differential between children and unrelated adults as defined by,admittedly differing, Age of Consent statutes that draw a necessary bright line between childhood and adulthood. The age of consent makes child sexual abuse legally (and dare I say morally) different than the same sexual activity occuring between equally consenting (and qually powerful) non-related adults of whatever gender.
I belive that as adults we do have a duty to protect, a duty to NOT misuse our adult power to take advantage of minors. Whether we personally would define individual children as innocent or not, child sexual assault, when it occurs is still defined as those more powerful taking sexual advantage of those less powerful. Just as female rape is defined by conservatives as NOT rape because (they say) "You can't rape the willing." (and they claim all power to retroactively define "willing"), even teen age children who are said to have themselves behaved seductively, to have "wanted it" are still childrn in comparison to an adult claiming the right to define for the child what was or was not "willing" sex.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lancaster's book makes a dubious argument in favor of the one group of people in America's vast Gulag archipelago of prisons who actually belong there. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gregory A. Butler
One of my favorite books of recent years, an important analysis of America's pedophile sex panic and its consequences.Published on July 13, 2014 by MR MARC RAYMOND