The Project “Law, Norm and Criminalization” analyses the connections between the creation of norms, the legal punishment of non-normative behavior and the exclusion of forms of deviance from the norm through discursive means. The project also includes an examination of the schematic dichotomization of inclusion and exclusion as well as an analysis of how exclusionary practices function in the creation of collective identities. Likewise, the construction of alternative anti-identities as a subjective reaction to exclusionary practices will be studied. These processes will be considered theoretically with regard to legal norms, legal ethics, and action theory; practically they will be analyzed in connection with hate crimes and human rights; finally, these processes will be illustrated discursively in an analysis of literary and cinematic texts about criminals and incarcerated individuals.

The Pro­ject “Law, Norm and Crim­in­al­iz­a­tion” ana­lyses the con­nec­tions between the cre­ation of norms, the leg­al pun­ish­ment of non-norm­at­ive be­ha­vi­or and the ex­clu­sion of forms of de­vi­ance from the norm through dis­curs­ive means. The pro­ject also in­cludes an ex­am­in­a­tion of the schem­at­ic di­cho­tom­iz­a­tion of in­clu­sion and ex­clu­sion as well as an ana­lys­is of how ex­clu­sion­ary prac­tices func­tion in the cre­ation of col­lect­ive iden­tit­ies. Like­wise, the con­struc­tion of al­tern­at­ive anti-iden­tit­ies as a sub­ject­ive re­ac­tion to ex­clu­sion­ary prac­tices will be stud­ied. These pro­cesses will be con­sidered the­or­et­ic­ally with re­gard to leg­al norms, leg­al eth­ics, and ac­tion the­ory; prac­tic­ally they will be ana­lyzed in con­nec­tion with hate crimes and hu­man rights; fi­nally, these pro­cesses will be il­lus­trated dis­curs­ively in an ana­lys­is of lit­er­ary and cine­mat­ic texts about crim­in­als and in­car­cer­ated in­di­vidu­als.

The lead­ing hy­po­thes­is of the pro­ject is the as­sump­tion that the crim­in­al­iz­a­tion of in­di­vidu­als and groups is ac­tu­ally en­cour­aged by leg­al pro­cesses in demo­crat­ic states when vi­ol­a­tions of norms are re­garded as dan­ger­ous. And his­tor­ic prac­tices of ex­clu­sion are rap­idly furthered by the dis­courses of ex­clu­sion that are prac­ticed in the me­dia and in lit­er­at­ure. Pro­ject par­ti­cipants are cent­rally in­ter­ested in the in­ter­ac­tion of cul­tur­ally mal­le­able mor­al norms and state-sanc­tioned leg­al norms: this in­ter­ac­tion is the basis for the qual­i­fic­a­tion of norm of­fences.

In its trans-dis­cip­lin­ary scope this pro­ject con­sists of three in­de­pend­ent but, in terms of their con­tent, non­ethe­less in­ter­re­lated sub­pro­jects that work to­geth­er closely. The pro­ject in­volves a co­oper­a­tion between the Eng­lish De­part­ment and the Husserl Archive of the Uni­versity of Freiburg, and the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law.

The sub­pro­ject in philo­sophy ad­dresses leg­al and mor­al norms and par­tic­u­larly hu­man rights. These rights and norms are rel­ev­ant to the be­ha­vi­or of groups with­in a so­ci­ety and the sanc­tioned vi­ol­ence of the state. So­ci­ety's de­bate about 'guilty' be­ha­vi­or in non-state, inter-hu­man in­ter­ac­tions will be ad­dressed through a philo­soph­ic­al dis­cus­sion of the concept of for­give­ness.

The sub­pro­ject in lit­er­ary stud­ies ana­lyses lit­er­ary pro­jec­tions of the pris­on in com­par­is­on to his­tor­ic­al doc­u­ments and con­texts; in par­tic­u­lar, strategies for cat­egor­iz­ing crim­in­als and how the pris­on func­tions as a sym­bol­ic site will be con­sidered.

The sub­pro­ject in crim­in­o­logy will con­duct an em­pir­ic­al study on the be­ha­vi­or of rad­ic­al right-wing youths be­fore, dur­ing, and after their con­front­a­tion with crim­in­al law (ar­rest, tri­al, and in­car­cer­a­tion). The basis for this study will be a com­par­is­on of the right-wing youths with sev­er­al con­trol groups of oth­er po­ten­tially vi­ol­ent gangs (hoo­ligans, skin­heads, etc).

The cent­ral ques­tion of the pro­ject con­cerns first the pro­cess of crim­in­al­iz­a­tion. The pro­ject asks how and un­der what leg­al and so­ci­et­al con­di­tions and with what means groups of per­sons are ex­cluded by so­ci­ety as 'crim­in­al.' To an­swer this ques­tion the philo­soph­ic­al dis­cip­line, on the one hand, will play a vi­tal role in ana­lyz­ing leg­al, mor­al, and so­ci­et­al norms; by this means the di­cho­tom­ous re­la­tion­ship between the con­cepts of norm­ativ­ity and nor­m­al­ism will be high­lighted. On the oth­er hand the crim­in­o­lo­gic­al pro­ject out­lines forms of ex­clu­sion, which are prac­ticed through crim­in­al law in the pen­al sys­tem. Hence this sub­pro­ject ad­dresses the ques­tion of nor­m­al­ism via a scale of groups of of­fend­ers.

The pro­ject secondly ad­dresses jail as so­ci­ety's site for ex­clu­sion. Cru­cial here is an aware­ness of the dy­nam­ics of ex­clu­sion that lead to pro­cesses of iden­ti­fic­a­tion and self-ex­clu­sion in many of the groups ana­lyzed in this pro­ject. For in­stance, in­car­cer­ated in­di­vidu­als identi­fy them­selves in con­tra­dis­tinc­tion to the so­ci­ety that ex­cludes them via group dy­nam­ics and by con­sti­tut­ing an iden­tity that is strengthened by cer­tain be­ha­vi­ors, sym­bols and rituals, all of which will be ad­dressed in the crim­in­o­logy pro­ject. Moreover, the at­tri­bu­tion of crimin­al­ity on the basis of a num­ber of char­ac­ter­ist­ics that al­low in­di­vidu­als to be labeled 'crim­in­al' is cent­ral to the pro­cess of crim­in­al­iz­a­tion. In the lit­er­ary stud­ies pro­ject the use of an­im­al meta­phors in many de­scrip­tions of 'crim­in­als' will be giv­en par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion with­in the con­text of nine­teenth-cen­tury bio­lo­gic­ally de­term­in­ist­ic mod­els of be­ha­vi­or. The tend­ency to ex­plain crimin­al­ity as a form of atav­ist­ic an­im­al­ism can also be seen in de­scrip­tions of jails both in lit­er­ary and film texts. The fi­nal es­sen­tial point of this study con­cerns the re­la­tion­ship between vi­ol­ence and eth­ics. The groups that will be stud­ied in the sub­pro­ject in crim­in­o­logy prac­tice vi­ol­ence against in­di­vidu­al vic­tims who are viewed of rep­res­ent­at­ives of an ali­en group.

The aim of this pro­ject is to doc­u­ment the mu­tu­al in­ter­twin­ing of con­cep­tions of norms, law, eth­ics and dis­curs­ive prac­tices. Their re­cip­roc­al nature will be ana­lyzed on the basis of ex­em­plary cases that ori­gin­ate in law, his­tory, and lit­er­at­ure in­clud­ing film. In ad­di­tion to leg­al, lit­er­ary, and me­di­al dis­courses, visu­al im­ages will be con­sidered in this pro­ject. Fur­ther­more, this pro­ject aims to ad­dress the pub­lic dir­ectly and to make the res­ults of this pro­ject known in an ef­fect­ive man­ner by hold­ing reg­u­lar pub­lic events, lec­ture series and by work­ing with in­sti­tu­tions out­side of the uni­versity.

Fi­nally, the pro­ject's meth­od­o­logy in­creases its rel­ev­ance. Con­ceived of as a sur­mount­ing of the sep­ar­a­tion between the hu­man­it­ies and the so­cial sci­ences, philo­sophy, philo­logy, and so­cial sci­ences work to­geth­er in "Law, Norm, Crim­in­al­iz­a­tion" as was com­mon in the nine­teenth-cen­tury sci­ences of man.