This paper contests the traditional division of labor that confines theories of punishment to the domain of moral, or at the most, legal, theories, as if punishment did not pose a challenge to political theories as well. It is thus also an attempt to clarify the relationship between moral and political theory. After pointing out that despite the recent surge in interest in different aspects of deliberative democracy, its theorists have been silent on the question of punishment, the paper argues, concretely, that this is a silence that does not serve them well, and that can be made up by establishing links between a deliberative theory of democracy and a modified expressionist theory of punishment.

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