This lecture takes place in English.
To many people, especially those living in a soyciety influenced by Western culture, punishment seems the normal reaction to wrongdoing and harm. We think that wrongdoers „deserve“ to be punished, and that punishment makes our society safe and keeps the peace. But does it? We also believe that „it has always been like that.“ But has it?
Today, movements like Black Lives Matter and Indigenous struggles for self determination remind us of the inherent brutality of the prison, the police and the concept of punishment itself. Movements call for the abolition of the Criminal Justice System, proposing restorative alternatives based on practices as old as humandkind.
The question we need to ask is: What really makes us safe? Punishment, says French abolitionist Catherine Baker, is „useless and dangerous“. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, even calls it „the root of violence in our societies.“
So how can we hack this society to do better?