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6 - Discipline, Punishment and the Fear of Insurrection

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 June 2020

Steven Pfaff
Affiliation:
University of Washington
Michael Hechter
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
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Summary

Perceived threats to established social order can influence the willingness of those in authority to inflict punishments as well as the severity of those punishments. This chapter analyzes the case of summary punishment by flogging in the Royal Navy. Eighteenth-century reforms were intended to rationalize and normalize flogging and limit its severity. However, naval commanders saw the established order under attack after 1789 and, emphasizing moral offenses, imposed tighter discipline on their crews. Our analysis shows that greater penal severity is associated with several factors, including a period effect associated with the onset of the revolutionary age. Our findings are consistent with research that suggests that disorder influences the willingness to punish.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Genesis of Rebellion
Governance, Grievance, and Mutiny in the Age of Sail
, pp. 177 - 208
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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