Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Dangerous Images of Humankind-Life Sciences, Society and Crime

Date: March 27 - 29, 2008

Organizers: Lorenz Böllinger (Bremen), Michael Jasch (Frankfurt/M.), Susanne Krasmann (Hamburg), Arno Pilgram (Wien), Cornelius Prittwitz (Frankfurt/M.), Herbert Reinke (Wuppertal/Berlin), Dorothea Rzepka (Frankfurt/M.)

The topic of the conference concerned a highly problematic interdisciplinary interface: natural sciences-specifically: neuro-sciences-on the one hand and social sciences as well as humanities-specifically: crime sciences-on the other. Rather than debating the question of 'determination vs. free will' the issue was whether and how neuro-scientific insights could be useful or detrimental to criminal law and crime policy. A potential danger of this perspective can be seen in the exclusion of certain groups of the population. The criminal law term of the perpetrator and the entire democratic rule of law and humanitarian concept of humankind it implies, become hollow, due to the discourse about the human individual defined as 'dangerous' without regarding the multifold contingencies of his identity and criminal career. Basing programs of 'early prevention' on this concept may result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The 2½ day conference validated the assumption of importance and urgency of this debate. The conference concept proved to be fruitful in showing this by six plenary speeches about basic issues and 19 papers about specific subjects presented in seven workshops, all followed by lively discussions and a highly substantial, four hour transdiscinplinary panel discussion finalizing the conference.
In detail the following issues were covered:

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