What is it about?

Within a critical theory focus, the documented history of lynching in photographic images and textual accounts provides a discussion of the sense of place when considering lynchings as leisure activities. The visual analysis of 433 lynching photographs and 327 accounts undergoing critical discourse analysis provided the process of researching the historical phenomenon in the context of leisure.

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Why is it important?

This article seeks to summarize that research and presents case study examples to discuss the leisure implications in lynchings. The racial violence that is demonstrated in these spectacles is a discursive intersection of cultural critique, power relationships, and a reflection of their impact on place meanings and social interaction. It also lays the groundwork to understand lynching having a purpose to maintain localized order of a locally racialized population through a singular, ongoing events of violence for social control by sanctioned vigilantes, sustained over time and significant in the volume of those events (e.g., various examples throughout history and globally, but most prominently, the 1915 Lynching of Leo Frank in Marietta, Georgia, or the 1916 Lynching of Jess Washington in Waco, Texas, with a crowd of nearly 15,000 people).


To “read” lynchings as violent acts of leisure in various settings creates a vehicle for leisure research to contribute to dialogues on meaning(s) of place and the significance of Race.

Professor Rasul Mowatt
North Carolina State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Lynching as Leisure, American Behavioral Scientist, August 2012, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0002764212454429.
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