Beyond the Punitive Moment: Lecture by Didier Fassin (IAS & EHESS)
Venue: University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Social Sciences (CSS), room 35.01.05
Beyond the Punitive Moment
The world is going through a punitive moment characterized by the highest numbers of incarcerated people in most countries of the world. Rather than commenting on the present situation, the lecture will propose to shed light on it by returning to three foundational questions. What is punishment? Why do we punish? Who gets punished? These questions have long been addressed by moral philosophers and legal scholars as well as theologians and politicians. Based on a series of ethnographies conducted on the police, the justice system and the correctional apparatus, the lecture will critically revisit the theoretical discussions related to the definition, justification and distribution of punishment.
About Didier Fassin
Didier Fassin is the James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Anthropologist, sociologist and physician, he has conducted extensive research in Senegal, South Africa, Ecuador, and France. Laurate of an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, he elaborated a political and moral anthropology which he put to work through a ten-year ethnography of police, justice and prison. He recently presented a critical reflection on punishment for his Tanner Lectures at Berkeley and on life for his Adorno Lectures in Frankfurt. He was the first social scientist to be granted the Nomis Distinguished Scientist Award, the funds of which will serve to develop a 5-year international research on contemporary crisis. With the support of Mellon grant, he created a Summer Program in Social Science for early-career scholars from the Global South. Former Vice-President of Médecins Sans Frontières, he is currently President of the French Medical Committee for Exiles. He has authored 15 books translated in 8 languages, including The Will to Punish (Oxford University Press, 2018).