Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 681–688 | Cite as

Beyond Persecutory Impulse and Humanising Trace: On Didier Fassin’s The Will to Punish

  • Alan NorrieEmail author
Book Review


This essay argues that Didier Fassin’s ‘The Will to Punish’ (2018) reveals the social grounds for a ‘persecutory impulse’ in modern punishment, which sits alongside a ‘humanising trace’. The challenge for a critical theory of modern penality is to think through this strange combination. The work of Melanie Klein and Freud, properly interpreted, can illuminate its conjunction and disjunction.


Didier Fassin Will to Punish Persecutory impulse Humanising trace Klein Freud 



Funding was provided by Leverhulme Trust (Grant No. MRF-2014-122).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Warwick Law SchoolCoventryUK

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