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  • Istituto DIRPOLIS
  • Seminario

Political sovereignty, state punishment, and the Italian case

Date 27.03.2024 time

Via Cardinale Maffi, 27 , 56127 Italy

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Scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, 2024, from 3 p.m., in Room 3 (via Cardinale Maffi), is the seminar "Political sovereignty, state punishment, and the Italian case", held by Zelia Gallo, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law and Criminology at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College. Giuseppe Di Vetta, researcher in Criminal Law at the DIRPOLIS Institute of the Sant'Anna School, will introduce the event.


Contemporary penology has traced a correlation between state punitiveness and state sovereignty. Simply put, the rising Western punitiveness of the last five decades has been linked to the waning of state sovereignty; be it the “myth” of state sovereignty, or the state’s actual political sovereignty. Facing its weakened authoritativeness, and citizens’ loss of “confident belonging” in their political communities, the State-as-Leviathan tries to impose authority and force cohesion through a hypertrophic reliance on penal tools. Here, then, are the roots of Western punitiveness and rising incarceration rates. This seminar discusses the main tropes and underpinnings of the theoretical accounts that have thus linked punishment and sovereignty. The seminar then superimposes the theoretical framework onto the Italian case to illustrate where the framework can help us explain recent Italian penal trends, and where the same framework fails to account for the Italian case study with its dual penality and its historical tension between state and citizens.