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"Förlåt dem Fader, för de vet icke vad de gör": En religionspsykologisk studie av sista uttalanden på Texas Death Row
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, The Social Sciences of Religion, Psychology of Religions.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The United States is one of few Western nations that administers capital punishment to their condemned criminals. Texas has executed the most inmates of any state in the U.S. This prompted questions about the psychological characteristics of death row inmates. The purpose of this essay is to widen the perspective on inmates serving capital sentences by analyzing their final statements. The focus of this essay was centered on acute anxiety of death among inmates, visible in their final statements, as a result of an accelerated process of dying. Using three of the eight phases in Erik H. Erikson’s psychosocial theory on individual development, where the final phase is centered around the conflict between integrity and despair, the inmates’ final statements were analyzed. Despair is here identified by three factors: an inability to accept ones situation, anxiety of death and a strong feeling of regret. Through textual analysis, certain codes affiliated with Erikson’s theory were identified and studied. In addition to this, the inmates’ trust and comfort in a transcendental power was also studied as a part of mitigating anxiety among inmates. Erikson’s theory is in this essay supplemented by discourse analysis and discourse psychology in particular to provide additional context to the inmates’ situation. A sociopolitical dimension was also added to provide further analysis. The study found that inmates tend to regret the actions that led them to the incarceration, while also accepting their situation, which does not indicate acute anxiety of dying but rather expression of what is in this paper called the inmate discourse, in which inmates are expected by the wider society to regret their actions. Inmates also tend to describe God or a transcendental authority as a forgiving and loving one, which in this paper is identified not only as a way of finding comfort in a dire situation, but also to belong to a larger American community through religious identification.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
inmate, regret, anxiety, discrimination, religion, Death Row, Texas
Keyword [sv]
Intern, ånger, ångest, diskriminering, religion, Death Row, Texas
National Category
Religious Studies Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-226427OAI: diva2:725567
Subject / course
History of Religion and Social Sciences of Religion
Educational program
Teacher Education Programme
Available from: 2014-06-23 Created: 2014-06-16 Last updated: 2014-06-23Bibliographically approved

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