Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?: Abortion, Assisted Dying, Capital Punishment, and Torture, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?

Abortion, Assisted Dying, Capital Punishment, and Torture, 3rd Edition

By Sheldon Ekland-Olson


468 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138296244
pub: 2017-10-26
SAVE ~$11.39
Hardback: 9781138296237
pub: 2017-10-26
SAVE ~$37.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315100128
pub: 2017-10-20
from $28.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


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."

Table of Contents


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


About the Author

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.

About the Series

Sociology Re-Wired

This innovative series is for all readers interested in books that provide frameworks for making sense of the complexities of contemporary social life. Each of the books in this series uses a sociological lens to provide current critical and analytical perspectives on significant social issues, patterns and trends. The series consists of books that integrate the best ideas in sociological thought with an aim toward public education and engagement. These books are designed for use in the classroom as well as for scholars and socially curious general readers.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General