Executions and Public Support for Capital Punishment in the United States: A Durkheimian Perspective

Rick Phillips


This paper examines executions and capital punishment in the United States using the theoretical principles of Emile Durkheim. Durkheim’s notion that executions are “repressive” (or designed to exact retribution), rather than “restitutive” (or designed to deter other criminal acts), explains why most citizens of the United States support capital punishment even though most research suggests that executions do not act as a deterrent against future homicides.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782