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Punishment and InclusionRace, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism$
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Andrew Dilts

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262410

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262410.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2019

A Productive Injustice

A Productive Injustice

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 A Productive Injustice
Source:
Punishment and Inclusion
Author(s):

Andrew Dilts

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823262410.003.0001

This chapter sets out the key terms of the book and sets out the methodological, empirical, and historical grounds upon which the remaining analysis is conducted. The chapter argues that felon disenfranchisement, a practice that falls disproportionately on marginalized groups in the US and which has grown most perniciously in response to historical expansions of the franchise, is best understood not simply as a public policy failure, but rather as a productive failure. Felon disenfranchisement produces the figure of the innocent citizen through the internal exclusion of criminal offenders. The chapter positions the book as a work of critical theory, advancing a normative argument that also calls into question the same terms of normative analysis through direct engagement with the material history and practice of criminal disenfranchisement. By quickly tracing the legal history of felon disenfranchisement in the US and the legal and political theoretical analyses of it, the chapter argues for a theoretical and genealogical study of disenfranchisement that takes seriously the relationship between the franchise and white supremacy as a political system in the US.

Keywords:   Felon disenfranchisement, critical theory, white supremacy, failure, normative theory, liberalism, genealogy, legal theory

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