At the Heart of the State
The Moral World of Institutions
A political and moral anthropology, this book is the result of a five-year investigation conducted by ten scholars, based in France. It analyses, amongst other topics, the police, the court system, the prison apparatus, the social services and mental health facilities. Combining genealogy and ethnography, its authors show that these state institutions do not simply implement laws, rules and procedures: they mobilise values and affects, judgements and emotions. In other words, they reflect the morality of the state.
Didier Fassin is the James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the author of numerous books including The Will to Punish (2018), Life: A Critical Users Manual (2018), Prison Worlds: An Ethnography of the Carceral Condition (2016) and Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing.
Patrick Brown is the translator of At the Heart of the State (Pluto, 2015).
Can States be Moral? Preface to the English Edition
Introduction: Governing Precarity - Didier Fassin
Part I: Judging
1. The Right to Punish: Assessing Sentences in Immediate Appearance Trials - Chowra Makaremi
2. Justice for Immigrants: The Work of Magistrates in Deportation Proceedings - Nicolas Fischer
3. In Search of Truth: How Asylum Applications are Adjudicated - Carolina Kobelinsky
Part II: Repressing
4. Maintaining Order: The Moral Justifications for Police Practices - Didier Fassin
5. Sanctioning behind Bars: The Humanisation of Retribution in Prison - Fabrice Fernandez
6. Assisting or Controlling? When Social Workers Become Probation Officers - Yasmine Bouagga
Part III: Supporting
7. Discipline and Educate: Contradictions within the Juvenile Justice System - Sébastien Roux
8. Listening to Suffering: The Treatment of Mental Fragility at a Home for Adolescents - Isabelle Coutant and Jean-Sébastien Eideliman
9. Profiling Job Seekers: The Counseling of Youths at an Employment Center - Sarah Mazouz
Conclusion: Raisons d’État - Didier Fassin
List of Contributors
150mm x 230mm