When Killing is a Crime

Paperback
Taking another person's life is the crime for which every society reserves the strongest of punishments. But why (and when) is the act of killing sometimes defined as murder - as inexcusable - and sometimes considered a justifiable, or even righteous, act? Grappling with this ambiguity, Tony Waters sheds light on the sociology of murder. This innovative text draws on wide-ranging case studies of killing - from urban gangs in Washington D.C. to the Salem witchcraft trials, from the Wild West to blood feuds in modern Albania, from dueling gentlemen to government-orchestrated mass executions - to illustrate the process of criminalization. Along the way, it looks at both the micro-sociological level of the violent act itself and the macro-level of society's reaction. When Killing Is a Crime will leave students with a clear understanding of how differences in culture, status, power, technology, and legal systems pattern violence and murder.