Academic Disciplines in REMEP

The social sciences involved in REMEP study social integration and conflict as well as the social causes and consequences of crime, criminal behavior, and in lieu thereof, the development and impact of laws. Alongside the social sciences, the fields of jurisprudence participating in the IMPRS concentrate on the purpose, structure, and application of criminal law, constitutional law and public international law in addition to the history of social communication about law. Both, social sciences and jurisprudence are incorporated in REMEP to explain the significance of retaliation, mediation and punishment for social order in today’s world.

Criminology and Criminal Law

Criminology aids in understanding how and to what extent criminal punishment contributes to social order and how order is established if formal systems of enforcement and justice are not available or fail. The discipline of criminal law contributes to explain the normative concepts of criminal punishment and violence as well as its relation to mediation. Scientific inquiries in the Research School by both disciplines cover

  • informal conflict regulation and its relation to criminal justice, mediation in the criminal justice system,
  • privatization of criminal justice and (re-)privatization of social control,
  • exemptions from the prohibition of private violence,
  • international criminal justice and the relation to local justice,
  • the explanation of social environments that generate their own modes of social control like organized crime, crime markets, urban environments and immigrant communities.

Legal History

Legal history contributes to understand the development of a state-based, formal system of punitive control and criminal justice, the establishment of the monopoly of violence and modern punishment (including the role of communities in the construction of norms), the mediation and negotiation of conflicts and the participation of the community in formalized punitive control. Scientific inquiries in the IMPRS in the field of legal history range from

  • the explanation of participation and functions of communities in institutionalized, formalized, punitive control, to
  • the privatization of formal control, justice and punishment,
  • the process of decision-making and negotiation,
  • the sanctuary and/or asylum as a resource of mediation and negotiation,
  • religious deviance and the role of religious norms and institutions,
  • the relationship between social sanctions and penal punishment, as well as
  • the use, function and mediation of violence.

Social Anthropology

Social anthropology contributes to understand the social significance of retaliation, mediation and punishment in the processes of interaction between different models of normative and institutional ordering which are operative under various social and political conditions, including segmentary and acephalous societies. Scientific inquiries in the Research School in the field of social anthropology extend to

  • the legitimacy, procedure and embeddedness of retaliatory processes in state law, religious law and customary law,
  • the role of retaliatory discourses and practices on the international level between nation states or within states, either backed up by state legal intervention and/or religious authorities or directed against the state legal system,
  • the re-evaluation of local traditions and values as markers of identity and social belonging for particular social formations,
  • the role of retaliatory rhetoric such as “blood feuding” or the automatic recourse to violence,
  • the variety of moralities of retaliation and the ethics of retaliatory action.
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