Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2013)

Volume 10 Issue 1

ISSN: 1524-6345






Revisiting Lofland’s “Open” and “Concealed” Dramaturgics: A Pedagogical Paradigmatic Strategy for Conveying an Eyewitness Account of the Lethal Account of the Lethal Injection Process to College Undergraduates



Trina N. Seitz

Department of Sociology

Appalachian State University

North Carolina, USA

E-mail: seitzk@appstate.edu




Over the course of the past decade, there has been a substantial increase in the introduction of death penalty courses into college curricula across the United States. Teaching such a course is both exciting and challenging, and presents faculty with the opportunity to broach the topic from any number of academic angles. Furthermore, capital punishment is a controversial and provocative social issue in the university classroom, inviting the inclusion of creative educational strategies to effectively communicate the eventuality of the sanction. This article presents a working pedagogical approach by which the modern American execution is illustrated and relived in the undergraduate sociology classroom – this is accomplished via the author’s eyewitness account of a lethal injection procedure, framed theoretically by the paradigm of dramaturgy. Lofland’s ‘open’ versus ‘concealed’ dramaturgics, or strategies of performance, are also applied and discussed. Upon the introduction of the experiential into the classroom setting, students are not only compelled to realize the actuality of an otherwise abstract, detached event, but are also exposed to the human, visceral component of viewing death.

         Keywords: capital punishment, dramaturgics, Lofland, pedagogy