Didier Fassin

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, is an anthropologist and a sociologist who has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa, and France. Trained as a physician in internal medicine and public health, he dedicated his early research to medical anthropology, illuminating important dimensions of the AIDS epidemic, mortality disparities, and global health. He later developed the field of critical moral anthropology, which explores the historical, social, and political signification of moral forms involved in everyday judgment and action as well as in the making of international relations with humanitarianism. His current work is on punishment, asylum, inequality, and the politics of life, and he is developing a reflection on the public presence of the social sciences.

"Life is a term, none more familiar. And one almost would take it for an affront, to be asked what he meant by it," writes John Locke. But he immediately adds: "And yet, if it comes in question, whether a plant, that lies ready formed in the seed...

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has authored Ragione umanitaria. Una storia morale del presente (DeriveApprodi, 2018), an analysis of the premises, tensions,...

In Por una repolitización del mundo. Las vidas descartables como desafío del siglo xxi (Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 2018), Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science,...

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has authored The Will to Punish (Oxford University Press, 2018), which presents a critical dialogue with moral philosophy and...

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has authored Life: A Critical User’s Manual (Polity Press, 2018), which asks "How can we think of life in its dual expression—...

As part of Ideas: Celebrating 2017–18Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute Director and Leon Levy Professor, ...

How might a politics centered on spectacular black death marginalize the concerns of black women? Member Shatema Threadcraft, Ralph E. and Doris M. Hansmann Member in the School of Social Science, explored this question during ...

On April 26, 2018, the Institute community gathered to celebrate Ideas 2017–18 with talks by IAS Members––deep ideas explained in under 20 minutes with no slides or chalk––followed by audience discussions moderated by Faculty. The program...

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has edited Writing the World of Policing: The Difference Ethnography Makes (University of Chicago Press, 2017), which brings...

Presented by its promoters two and a half centuries ago as a moral progress in the administration of punishment, prison has become over the past decades one of the most vexing and unsettling issues in Western societies for both the spectacular...

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, has authored Das Leben: Eine kritische Gebrauchsanweisung (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2017), which presents a dialogue on the relationship between philosophy and social...