- Dealing with the inevitable: Strategies of self-presentation and meaning construction in the final statements of inmates on Texas death row
- Discourse & society
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Last statements of death row inmates represent a genre of discourse characterized by an acute situation in which to express final reflections. This article describes how Texas death row inmates give meaning to their situation by examining their last statements. Between December 1982 and November 2006, 379 offenders were executed on the Texas death row. Through the inspection of 283 last statements made available on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, we identify strategies of self-presentation. In a first stage, we build a textual framework that uncovers a sequential structuring of what these individuals chose to express. Using this framework, the second stage analyzes the individual texts on a micro-level. Depending on the content of the statements, e.g. accepting or denying guilt, we identify key patterns of how inmates attach meaning to their situation and what they choose to express.
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