Memoria e comprensione dell''altro' tra difesa sociale e garanzie individuali: la prospettiva giusletteraria per un diritto penale democratico

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Twentieth Century history provides ample evidence of the fundamental role that law can (and did actually) play in the origins of crimes «that we can neither punish nor forgive» and, more generally, of forms of exclusion and «reification» aimed against groups or individuals labelled, under different political and social circumstances, as ‘alien’ and ‘undesirable’, because of ‘racial’ or ‘biological’ factors (as under the Nazi and Fascist regimes) or of ‘administrative’ features (such as illegal immigration, for instance). Our past reveals the great weight of ‘legal dehumanization’ as a pivotal element conducive to social and psychological as well as, eventually, physical dehumanization – and subsequent elimination – of millions of people. This fundamental role is not just related to law’s specific functioning, but, even more, to its strong symbolic significance. On the one hand, the law – and particularly criminal law – expresses in the most forceful way a society’s idea of what it should be (its ‘Sollen’), while, on the other, its fundamental formalistic and procedural traits allow its (even too easy) exploitation by illiberal and antidemocratic forces, often on grounds of a (real or alleged) popular will. Criminal law in particular, being intrinsically aimed at pursuing social defence, may end up seeking it even to the detriment of fundamental human rights, and often focusing on persons or groups who, because of their relative weakness within society, can easily be selected as ‘enemies’ or ‘parasites’. This essay tries and investigates whether a ‘law and literature’ – and, more specifically, a ‘justice and literature’ – approach could contribute to finding a new balance between legal formalism – particularly by taking advantage of its guarantee potential – and an ethical attitude to criminal law capable of escaping the snares and dangers of contingent social morals, as well as of the totalitarian ‘ethical State’, in order to attempt at developing a ‘reconciliation’ between ‘law’ and ‘justice’. More specifically, a ‘narrative approach’ to the understanding of the human being is explored, as a possible way of ‘injecting’ into criminal law a set of ideas and principles working as ‘antibodies’ to its recurring securitarian, segregationist, warmongering, and ultimately authoritarian tendencies.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Memory and understanding of the other 'between social defense and individual guarantees: the legal perspective for a democratic criminal law
Lingua originaleItalian
pagine (da-a)35-81
Numero di pagine47
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • Criminal law
  • Justice and Literature
  • Law and Literature
  • Law and the humanities
  • enemy criminal law
  • immigration criminal law
  • legal dehumanization
  • narrative
  • penal security
  • social defence
  • theory of justice


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