This paper discusses some theoretical and practical challenges that terrorism poses to a normative theory of punishment, using a theory of recognition as the main basis for critique. Punishment exists in constant tension with principles such as individual autonomy and human dignity, which the contemporary legal framework strives to uphold. The limits of this tension are both defined and challenged by situations of radical deviance, of which the current paradigmatic case is terrorism. Theorists such as Antony Duff who attempt to define punishment as a communicative endeavor, and thus justified in the eyes of a liberal political community, find a hard case in the figure of the terrorist. But such an analysis misses an important point in relation to the social nature of autonomy, and such absence risks jeopardizing the whole communicative process that punishment presumably preserves. From the perspective of recognition, this paper aims to reflect upon the criminalization of the terrorist in a way that not only criticizes it, but also puts the aforementioned justification of punishment into question.
Terrorism, Punishment, and Recognition
King's College London. I am very grateful to Alan Norrie for his encouragement, criticism, and support, and for his comments on this manuscript. I am also indebted to Peter Ramsay, Maleiha Malik, Anastasia Chamberlen, John Charney, Sabrina Gilani, and two anonymous referees for the extensive feedback and criticism they offered. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 IGLP Workshop at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. I thank the participants of the workshop for their comments. The opinions and any errors are my own.
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Henrique Carvalho; Terrorism, Punishment, and Recognition. New Criminal Law Review 1 July 2012; 15 (3): 345–374. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nclr.2012.15.3.345
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