SOCI 1101 Lecture 14: Is killing wrong

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Is Killing Wrong
-Is premeditation is central to the handling of homicide, this killing ought to evoke considerable severity.
But it does ot. I fat, the la tolerates it, ad soe people ee praise it highl. The ords hoiide
or killig are rarel used to desrie it. Istead it goes  aother ae: apital puishet. Capital
punishment state execution of convicted criminals illustrates the power of a key variable in Blackian
theory: organization
-Orgaizatio or the apait for olletie atio, is a autonomous dimension of social space, and
a e easured  the presee ad uer of adiistratie offiers, the etralizatio ad
continuity of decision making, and the quantity of colletie atio itself
-Organization is a type of social status. It operates like other social statuses, exhibiting the fourfold
Blackian status pattern. Thus, homicides committed upward in organizational space ought to attract
greater sanctions than homicides committed downward in organizational space. In an upward direction,
sanctions increase with organizational distance; in a downward direction, sanctions decline with
organizational distance. And sanctions ought to be greater at higher than lower elevations of
organizational space.
-Organizational status is enjoyed not just by organizations themselves by the individuals who act on
their behalf. Consequently, it is more serious to kill a store worker employed by a large corporation than
self employed vendor. The higher the office individuals hold in organizations, the greater their vicarious
organizational status. Accordingly, it is more serious to kill a corporate executive than a factory worker.
The same is true of officials of the state.
-The most organized organization is the state. Hence, the killing of state officials is and has long been a
particularly grave crime. Among the gravest of all is the assassination of a monarch, president, or prime
minister. Those who do so are more likely to be sentenced to death. Sometimes this is written into the
law itself. An international review of capital punishment law conducted in the mid 1990s found that in
Thailand, the death penalty was mandatory for regicide (killing a king) or the murder of a state official
on government business. In Egypt offenses carrying death included political murder, and armed attacks
on law enforcement authorities. Similarly, in Indonesia the list of capital crimes included the
assassination of senior state officials.
-Some states are more organized than others, however. A key indicator of state organization is
centralization, the concentration of decision making. The most centralized states invest a single
individual with control over the entire apparatus of government; the least centralized disperse it among
different institutions and groups, including the citizenry at large. A state’s degree of etralizatio
depends in part on its political structure and in part on its environment. All polities tend to centralize in
times of national crisis, such as war, natural disaster, or terrorist threat. Even the least centralized states
in normal times may act like centralized states in times of emergency.
-Centralization, whether rooted in structure or circumstances, is sociologically significant because it
widens the status gap between the state and the citizentry- in Blackian terms, it increases the
organizational distance or superiority of state officials over citizens. Although the empirical possibilities
are many and varied, three broad types of state can be distinguished on the continuum of centralization:
democracy (rule by many), oligarchy (rule by few), and autocracy (rule by one). Since the theory predicts
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