Didier Fassin on the Will to Punish

Societies have developed various ways of dealing with crime and more generally violations of their laws. Punishment is a common, albeit neither universal nor systematic, response that has long received much attention from moral philosophers and legal theorists. Based on historical and ethnological examples from the literature as well as genealogical analysis and ethnographic cases from fieldwork on police, justice and prison, mobilizing the work of social scientists as well as critical thinkers, the lectures will discuss the merits and limits of these approaches around three questions: What is punishment? Why punish? And who is punished?

Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Sciences, discusses the will to punish in the 2015–16 Tanner Lectures at UC Berkeley.

Listen to Lecture I: What is Punishment?, Lecture II: Why Punish—and Whom?, and the closing Seminar and Discussion.


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