“Perverts”, “Terrorists,” and Business as Usual: Pether and Preventive Justice Scholarship

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In this article, I use the themes and arguments contained in Professor Penelope Pether’s unfinished monograph, ‘Perverts’, ‘Terrorists’, and Business as Usual: Comparative Indefinite Detention before and after 9/11, to reflect upon the emerging body of preventive justice scholarship. I argue that Pether’s account unsettles many of the assumptions and aspirations of preventive justice scholarship and highlights that preventive justice scholars, myself included, need to think differently about preventive justice – questioning its normative project and legal standpoint. I argue that preventive justice scholarship, while aiming to furnish the values and principles by which justice might be achieved, should be conscious of its potential role in the perpetration of injustice by legitimizing – or being used by others to legitimize – laws and practices that offend rights and liberties. In doing so, preventive justice scholarship can guard against complicity in what Pether terms ‘law’s…creation of jurisdictions of exception’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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