Publication details

Criminal law, Crime and Punishment as Communication, Normative Orders Working Paper 02/2014.

Working paper

Author(s): Günther, Klaus
Year of publication: 2014

Abstract: Expressivist theories of punishment, according to which a penal sanction articulates or expresses a certain meaning to the offender, to the victim and to society, become more and more prominent among the traditional theories of punishment as retribution or deterrence. What these theories have in common is the idea that the conveyance of the meaning is in need of a communicative action, and that the penal sanction is such a communicative act. This article argues that pure communicative theories of punishment face great difficulties in generating any justification for hard treatment. One challenge is that certain types of sanctions – in particularly, hard treatment – restrict the communicative opportunities of the incarcerated individual; which generates a paradox, in that it turns punishment into a communicative action of non-communication. Beyond that, moreover, all practices of hard treatment potentially become unnecessary, if expressing the moral message of censure constitutes a kind of action in itself, and as such, itself a treatment of the offender, embedded in a communicative relationship between offender, victim and society; such that we may be able to think of the history of punishment as a development where hard treatment becomes more and more unnecessary for the conveyance of the message.

Keywords: Communication; Crime; Criminal Law; Punishment

Research area: Research Area 1: The Normativity of Normative Orders: Origins, Vanishing Points, Performativitiy
Research project: Power, Rule and Violence in Orders of Justification
Subject(s): law, philosophy

urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-346639
Full text: http://publikationen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/files/34663/Guenther_Criminal_Law_Crime_and_Punishment.pdf

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