Dr Michał Peno
University of Szczecin
Abstract: If sociologists are to be trusted, reflexivity, focused on itself and devoid of any religious or at least ideological framework, leads to the weakening of control mechanisms. Such changes are accompanied by the polarization of social classes and by the exclusion of the so-called underclass (which certainly includes a vast majority of criminals) from the civil society. In the doctrine of criminal law of “mature modernism”, within the framework of a liberal-democratic state, the civil society, together with the idea of communication, is supposed to constitute a central reference point in the research on criminal liability. Reflexivity brings up new problems. New citizen-oriented criminal law is being shaped, based upon mediation and communication (e.g. restorative justice, Expressive Theory). The civil society does not include the area of politics or political nature of things, where the problem is not the justification of the punishment but the effectiveness of mere spatial isolation. In this sense, it is difficult to talk about the merits of the emancipation of an individual from the limitations imposed by the society. The weakening of any external authority and of political duties owed to the state is replaced by self-control proper to reflexive modernity only in cases where the individuals have adequate intellectual and ethical predispositions. Disappearance of the influence of external rules and values together with the mechanism of exclusion from the civil society results in the weakening of self-control and in selfish care only about one’s own perspective (but also in repressive subordination by the state). Such a state of affairs creates favourable conditions for objectifying criminal liability, abandoning the concept of guilt, and for attempts to provide an ethical justification of penalty – which are concepts taken from the “world of citizens”.
Keywords: reflexivity, criminal law, philosophy of law, restorative justice, resentment, CLS
Published: Number 2(13)/2016, pp. 28-38.
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