Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest (Social Problems & Social Issues)

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9780202306513: Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest (Social Problems & Social Issues)
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Responses to flag burning as a particular form of street protest tend to polarize into two camps: one holding the view that action of this sort is constitutionally protected protest; the other, that it is subversive and criminal activity. In this well-researched and richly documented volume, Welch examines the collision of these ideologies, and shows the relevance of sociological concepts to a deeper understanding of such forms of protest.In exploring social control of political protest in the United States, this volume embarks on an in-depth examination of flag desecration and efforts to criminalize that particular form of dissent. It seeks to examine the sociological process facilitating the criminalization of protest by attending to moral enterprises, civil religion, authoritarian aesthetics, and the ironic nature of social control. Flag burning is a potent symbolic gesture conveying sharp criticism of the state. Many American believe that flag desecration emerged initially during the Vietnam War era, but the history of this caustic form of protest can be traced to the period leading up to the Civil War. The act of torching Old Glory differs qualitatively from other forms of defiance. With this distinction in mind, attempts to penalize and deter flag desecration transcend the utilitarian function of regulating public protest. Despite popular claims that American society is built on genuine consensus, the flag-burning controversy brings to light the contentious nature of U.S. democracy and its ambivalence toward free expression. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is often viewed as one of the more unpopular additions to the Bill of Rights. One constitutional commentator underscores this point by noting that the First Amendment gives citizens the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.Flag Burning is a well-written, informative volume suitable for courses in deviance, social problems, social movements, mass communication, criminology, and political science, as well as in sociology of law and legal studies.

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About the Author:

Michael Welch is associate professor in the Administration of Justice Program, School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

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“This book provides an account of the history of flag desecration and the efforts to criminalize it... Michael Welch’s book delivers a contribution to the sociological study of a fascinating and important social issue. Any sociologist interested in flag desecration issues has to start with Welch’s work, this book, and the author’s many related articles. The empirical sections of the study, especially the identification of the various themes and players in the confrontational battle between the First Amendment rights and the protection of fundamentally held beliefs and values, make for an interesting read.”

—Mathieu Deflem, American Journal of Sociology

“Michael Welch’s book examines the flag burning controversy, a profoundly sociological issue that has received insufficient attention from sociologists... While most of its empirical illustrations focus on responses to putative threat of flag burning in the late 1980s, the book also provides a historical survey of flag burning and flag protection efforts in the United States dating back to the Civil War.”

—Rachel L. Winwohner, Contemporary Sociology

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Michael Welch
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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2000. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In this text, Michael Welch critically examines depth the controversy over flag desecration. Adopting a constructionist framework, he interprets the intensely negative societal reaction to flag burning as an instance of moral panic, a turbulent and exaggerated response to a putative social problem. What sets this particular response apart from other instances of moral panic is that it involves American civic religion, which bestows on a secular symbol, the flag, a quasisacred status and thus makes of its alleged burning or misuse an act of sacrilege. This book explores how flag burning penetrates the collective consciousness and arouses latent social anxiety. Although the Supreme Court has held that flag burning is political expression, and thus is shielded by the First Amendment, flag burning has been perceived as a symbolic threat to American society, a threat culminating in a disaster mentality. Subsequent legislative attempts to ban flag desecration have also failed to meet the constitutional test in the courts, but the issue has not been laid to rest. The contradictions of persistent efforts to ban unpopular political expression in a democracy that protects free speech abound in the key elements of social constructionism. Seller Inventory # BTE9780202306513

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Book Description 2005. Hardcover. Condition: New. Hardcover. In this text, Michael Welch critically examines depth the controversy over flag desecration. Adopting a constructionist framework, he interprets the intensely negative societa.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 220 pages. 0.454. Seller Inventory # 9780202306513

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