Comparative Capital Punishment
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Comparative Capital Punishment

Edited by Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker

Comparative Capital Punishment offers a set of in-depth, critical and comparative contributions addressing death practices around the world. Despite the dramatic decline of the death penalty in the last half of the twentieth century, capital punishment remains in force in a substantial number of countries around the globe. This research handbook explores both the forces behind the stunning recent rejection of the death penalty, as well as the changing shape of capital practices where it is retained. The expert contributors address the social, political, economic, and cultural influences on both retention and abolition of the death penalty and consider the distinctive possibilities and pathways to worldwide abolition.
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Chapter 13: Regional institutions and death penalty abolition: comparative perspectives and their discontents

Evi Girling


This chapter considers the scope and challenges of comparative reflection on the efficacy of regional repertoires of death penalty regulation and abolition. It proceeds by setting out the appeal to region in death penalty abolitionist narratives. It then goes on to consider by way of example regional human rights and specifically death penalty abolition arrangements in two regions with vignettes from the European Union (EU)/Council of Europe (CoE) area and the Organization of American States (OAS). The chapter explores the limits of transnational influence and the role of regional institutions in each of these regions and specifically in Belarus and Guatemala. The two regions have similar traditions of longevity in terms of the history of abolition of the death penalty and regionalization, morphological features in common but different levels and reach of transnational institutionalization and different regional institutional habitus. The chapter argues that the contested ending(s) of the death penalty in Belarus and Guatemala illuminate the limits of regional institutional logic of abolition and cast the methodological gauntlet for comparative death penalty research.

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