Care and punishment: Imagining an integrated response to wrongdoing
Doctor of Philosophy
Traditional theories of state-sanctioned punishment, specifically retributivism and deterrence, are critiqued from a feminist ethic of care perspective. The argument is made that the integration of care-based reasoning into punishment theory is essential to the development and practice of punishment as a fair and just institution. The argument rests on the premise that the care and justice theories are best understood as complementary, each lending critical contributions to our understanding of fair and reasonable practices. Two sub-theses are developed: the ideal, in which it is argued that care theory gives us reason to re-conceptualize our responses to wrongdoing in ways that are not dependent on punitive measures, and the non-ideal, in which it is argued that care-based reasoning can address some of the shortcomings of traditional theories and practices, particularly those relating to concerns about human dignity and respect, and can provide justifications for improvements.