"The public execution, then has a juridico-political function. It is a ceremonial by which a momentarily injured sovereignty is reconstituted. It restores that sovereignty by manifesting it at its most spectacular. The public execution, however hasty and everyday, belongs to a whole series of great rituals in which power is eclipsed and restored (coronation, entry of the king into a conquered city, the submission of rebellious subjects); over and above the crime that has places the sovereign in contempt, it deploys before all eyes an invincible force.... The ceremony of punishment, then, is an exercise of 'terror.'.... The public execution did not reestablish justice, it reactivated power."
h/t -> grouchosuave
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