Log In | Account Info
Cart | Checkout
Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, 0817320229, 0-8173-2022-9, 978-0-8173-2022-5, 9780817320225, , , Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, 081739236X, 0-8173-9236-X, 978-0-8173-9236-9, 9780817392369, , , Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, 0817359559, 0-8173-5955-9, 978-0-8173-5955-3, 9780817359553,

Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life
Spencer Schaffner

Trade Cloth
2019. 136 pp.
7 B&W figures
Price:  $74.95 s
Quality Paper
2019. 136 pp.
7 B&W figures
Price:  $24.95 t
E Book
2019. 136 pp.
7 B&W figures
Price:  $24.95 d

A probing and prescient consideration of writing as an instrument of punishment
Writing tends to be characterized as a positive aspect of literacy that helps us to express our thoughts, to foster interpersonal communication, and to archive ideas. However, there is a vast array of evidence that emphasizes the counterbelief that writing has the power to punish, shame, humiliate, control, dehumanize, fetishize, and transform those who are subjected to it. In Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life, Spencer Schaffner looks at many instances of writing as punishment, including forced tattooing, drunk shaming, court-ordered letters of apology, and social media shaming, with the aim of bringing understanding and recognition to the coupling of literacy and subjection.
Writing as Punishment in Schools, Courts, and Everyday Life is a fascinating inquiry into how sinister writing can truly be and directly questions the educational ideal that powerful writing is invariably a public good. While Schaffner does look at the darker side of writing, he neither vilifies nor supports the practice of writing as punishment. Rather, he investigates the question with humanistic inquiry and focuses on what can be learned from understanding the many strange ways that writing as punishment is used to accomplish fundamental objectives in everyday life.
Through five succinct case studies, we meet teachers, judges, parents, sex traffickers, and drunken partiers who have turned to writing because of its presumed power over writers and readers. Schaffner provides careful analysis of familiar punishments, such as schoolchildren copying lines, and more bizarre public rituals that result in ink-covered bodies and individuals forced to hold signs in public.
Schaffner argues that writing-based punishment should not be dismissed as benign or condemned as a misguided perversion of writing, but instead should be understood as an instrument capable of furthering both the aims of justice and degradation.

Spencer Schaffner is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is author of Binocular Vision: The Politics of Representation in Birdwatching Field Guides. His work has appeared in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy; Composition Studies; and Discourse and Society.

“Asking, at core, if our writing inside and outside the classroom must advance erudition, Writing as Punishment chronicles how that script has been perverted to argue that ‘writing is a viable tool for disciplining, controlling, brainwashing, shaming, demeaning, subjugating, and humiliating others.’ This book more than proves its points. The writing is fantastically crisp; the thesis sound (and soundly provocative). However queasy-making, Schaffner’s individual case studies are each perfectly selected. His conclusions are, to say the least, wickedly inspired.”
—Scott Herring, author of The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture

“This book’s focus on the ‘darker’ side of writing is as intriguing as it is illuminating. Accessibly written and powerfully argued, Schaffner’s book finds that the beliefs that underlie generative approaches to writing are the very ones that underlie its use of writing as punishment.”
—Debra Hawhee, author of Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw: Animals, Language, Sensation

Also of Interest

Ancient Rhetorics and Digital Networks
Edited by Michele Kennerly and Damien Smith Pfister

Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things
Edited by Scot Barnett and Casey Boyle

Rhetoric and the Republic
Mark Garrett Longaker

What Democracy Looks Like
Edited by Christina R. Foust, Amy Pason, and Kate Zittlow Rogness