Criminal Law in Fragmented Societies
Sociologists and cultural sociologists describe increasingly plural, multicultural, and fragmented societies. Migration is one of the factors that contribute to these phenomena. The goal of the project is to describe and evaluate the influence of the aforementioned societal developments on substantive criminal law: the prohibitions in criminal statutes, assessments of criminal wrongdoing, and sentencing outcomes. The primary research interest is normative: should the criminal law be modified to fit the conditions in fragmented societies? The first part takes the perspective of the legislature and focuses on prohibitions in criminal statutes. The main question is what role criminal prohibitions can and should play once pre-legal norms of conduct become more and more contested. The second part examines normative judgments about wrongdoing and culpability that underlie criminal law doctrine and court decisions. In fragmented societies, it is not unusual for offenders to decide and act according to cultural and social norms that differ markedly from those underlying the criminal laws. Should this be taken into account by acknowledging defenses (justifications and excuses) or by mitigating punishments? A third part addresses the question of how punishments and overall sentencing levels relate to the degree of fragmentation in society and what kinds of punishment are preferable.
||German Photo: Nol Hennissen