Core areas

Contemporary Political Philosophy; Theories of Justice; Critical Theory; Postcolonialism; Transnational Feminism; Transcultural Theory; Retribution

Project: Social Justice, Retribution and the Right to Punish

After a period of liberalization of retribution in the 1970s and the political demand for the abolishment of the prison system, we are now facing an era of calls for more severe punishments: claims for electronic foot cuffs, higher statutes of limitation for sex offenses and a harsher juvenile law. Recent critical scholars argue that the penal system is a method to regulate social misery and to produce outsourced "judiciary ghettos". According to this analysis, welfare politics is gradually being substituted by retribution. Moreover, nationally and transnationally, the penal system can be considered as a means to substitute political avenues to solve social conflicts. However, within the philosophy of law and moral theory, retributive justice is discussed as a specific kind of corrective justice, which redeems past injustices and prevents future ones.

In my research project, I will investigate the relationship of social justice, the state and the idea of punishment. It shall be informed by a critical diagnosis of presence; looking at the neoliberal economization of the penal system and the internationalization of its institutions. Based on the normative discussion around "transformative justice", I will reflect upon retribution as a specific kind of governmentality in a world shaped by high social inequalities and postcolonial reverberations. Taking into account the discursive production of prison inmates, literary testimonies of political detainees, and phenomenological descriptions of the prison system, my research aims at a socio-philosophical analysis of the current politics of punishment.

Selected Publications

  • Was ist gerecht? Kennzeichen einer transnationalen solidarischen Politik, Frankfurt/M.: Campus, 2014.
  • With Ina Kerner: "Postkoloniale Theorien", in Gröschner, Rolf; Kapust, Antje, Lembcke, Oliver W. (Hg.): Wörterbuch der Würde, Bochum 2013, 101-103.
  • "Africa humiliated? Misrecognition within Development Aid". In: Res Publica, H. 18 (2012), 65-77.
  • "'Respect the Poor'? Postkoloniale Perspektiven auf Armut", in: PERIPHERIE, H. 120 (2010), 452-477.
  • "Reflexive Eurocentrism? - Hospitality as Deconstructive Ethics", in: Arslan, S./Aytar, V/ Karaosmanoglu, D./Schroeder, S. K.: Media, Culture and Identity in Europe, Istanbul: Bahcesehir University Press, 2009, 50-61. Translated into Turkish.