Flogging Others

Corporal Punishment and Cultural Identity from Antiquity to the Present

G. Geltner

Flogging Others

G. Geltner

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

112 pages | 5 halftones | 5 1/4 x 8 /14 | © 2015
Paper $12.99 ISBN: 9789089647863 Published March 2015 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Corporal punishment is often considered a relic of the Western past, a set of thinly veiled barbaric practices largely abandoned in the process of civilization. As G. Geltner argues, however, the infliction of bodily pain was not necessarily typical for earlier societies, nor has it vanished from modern penal theory, policy, and practice. To the contrary, corporal punishment still thrives today thanks to its capacity to define otherness efficiently and unambiguously. Challenging a number of common myths and misconceptions about physical punishment’s importance over the centuries, Flogging Others offers a new perspective on modernization and Western identity. 


1. Historical and Anthropological Approaches

Problems of Definition

Problems of Interpretation

2. Punishing Bodies


Later Antiquity: Greece, Rome, and the Sassanian Empire

Religion and Corporal Punishment




Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Modernity to the Present




List of Illustrations

Works Cited


Review Quotes
Ed Peters, University of Pennsylvania
"Geltner’s striking account powerfully and convincingly challenges conventional assumptions of a chronologically linear progress away from punitive violence inflicted upon the body to various ameliorated forms of punishment in the contemporary world. The range of time and social changes he covers makes this volume necessary reading well beyond the history of criminology itself and across several disciplines and overturned master narratives."
David Garland, New York University, author of Punishment and Modern Society
"Brilliant! A short, sharp, and often shocking corrective to conventional penal history and western cultural categories. Geltner’s little book mobilizes an abundance of comparative evidence to challenge our historical understanding of bodily punishment and to point up the invidious cultural uses of that history. An object lesson in scholarly provocation."
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