Penalty and the Politics of Representation, Post 9-11

Michelle Brown, Indiana University

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Americans immediately perceived themselves and their ways of life as transformed. At the center of this transformation are many emergent questions for criminology (and Americans alike), including how have citizens come to interpret the acts of September 11 and how have those interpretations come to shape the United States' pursuit of justie as well as its definitions oof crime and punishment. As most Americans learned about 9-11 through the media, this study seeks to map the course of social reaction debates as present (or absent) in major media outlets by identifying 1) the predominant ways in which social reaction has been presented (frames of war, grief, victimization, solidarity, retribution, etc.); 2) the manner in which these frames have been signified, disputed, and justified; and 3) the relationship of these frames to American penal philosophies. Based upon accessibility and specialization of coverage, a number of news sources (all print or internet) have been selected in the hopes of identifying a range of representations, culminating in a provisionary map of how social reaction and contemporary philosophies of punishment have (or haqve not) collided in post 9-11 media.

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Updated 05/20/2006