When the Saints Go Marching In: Legal Consciousness, Perceptions of Crime and Legality and Prison Experiences of Conscientious Objectors in Israel

Hadar Aviram, University of California - Berkeley

While a large body of literature relates to the jurisprudential and moral basis for allowing conscientious objection, little attention is given to the criminological aspects of it. This work attempts to look at the experience of conscientious objectors in the recent Israeli-Palestinian crisis, using media sources and interviews with imprisoned objectors. The focus will be the cognitive "tool-kits" used by the objectors to reconcile theirrighteous moralistiv view of their action with their definition as "criminals" and their imprisonment experience, and the ways in which their cognitive frameworks interact with other prisoners, the prison system, and the law in general. Also, the work provides a theoretical linkage between socio-criminological literature of the 50's and 60's, particularly Sykes and Matza's "Techniques of Neutralization" and early work in sociology of prisons, and the much more recent perspectives of cultural analysis and legal consciousness.

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Updated 05/20/2006