3rd Edition

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides? Abortion, Assisted Dying, Capital Punishment, and Torture

By Sheldon Ekland-Olson Copyright 2018
    496 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    496 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides? looks at several of the most contentious issues in many societies. The book asks, whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time, and who makes those decisions? This book explores the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. The author sheds light on the social movements and social processes at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions. The third edition contains a new chapter on torture entitled, "Taking Life and Inflicting Suffering."


    Detailed Contents

    Preface to the Third Edition

    Preface to the Second Edition


    Chapter 1 A Single Question

    PART I: A Moral System Evolves

    Chapter 2 An Exclusionary Movement is Born

    Chapter 3 Legal Reform to Eliminate Defectives

    Chapter 4 Redrawing the Boundaries of Protected Life

    Chapter 5 Crystallizing Events and Ethical Principles

    PART II: The Early Moments and Months of Life

    Chapter 6 A Bolt from the Blue: Abortion is Legalized

    Chapter 7 Man’s Law or God’s Will

    Chapter 8 Inches from Life

    Chapter 9 Should the Baby Live?

    PART III: The Boundaries of Tolerable Suffering

    Chapter 10 Limits to Tolerable Suffering

    Chapter 11 Alleviating Suffering and Protecting Life

    Chapter 12 God, Duty, and Life Worth Living

    Chapter 13 Assisted Dying

    PART IV: Taking Life and Inflicting Suffering

    Chapter 14 Removing the Protective Boundaries of Life

    Chapter 15 A Campaign to Stop the Executions

    Chapter 16 The Pendulum Swings, the Debate Continues

    Chapter 17 Justifying Torture

    Chapter 18 Lessons Learned



    Sheldon Ekland-Olson joined the University of Texas at Austin after completing his graduate work at the University of Washington in Seattle and Yale Law School. He is currently the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts and serving as the Director of the School of Human Ecology. For 5 years, he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and then for 8 years as Executive Vice President and Provost of the university. He has authored or co-authored several books and numerous articles on criminal justice, prison reform, and capital punishment. Widely recognized for his commitment to teaching undergraduates, he is the recipient of numerous teaching awards. His current interests are reflected in the book, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?: An exploration of how communities have gone about justifying the violation of universally held moral imperatives.