Coexisting with evil. Reflections of a criminologist€ 3.00
Criminology has been defined as the “science of evil”. But how can you coexist with wickedness? And how can you explain the most disturbing crimes – such as mothers killing their children or the actions of serial killers – or even more “normal” transgressions, from petty crimes committed by desperate people to white collar crimes? The worst cases can be viewed as exceptions but a question remains, and it is a disturbing one, even for a “seasoned” criminologist: how can entire populations, or at least hundreds of thousands of normal people conduct massacres and then return to their lives as if nothing has happened?
The answer can be found especially when analysing Nazism, interpreted as the matrix of all “other-isms”, in other words prejudices against people seen as “different”. This leads to the interpretation that sees diversity as another cause of crime: the criminology of the diverse, which studies the crimes of normal people.
Isabella Merzagora, jurist and psychologist, is a Professor in Criminology at the l’Università degli Studi in Milan and President of the Italian Society of Criminologists. She has written 280 publications on subjects relating to criminology and forensic psychopathology; she has collaborated on international research projects and has spoken at many conferences in Italy and beyond. She works as an expert in cases and provides technical consultations in psychopathology; she is a lecturer at the Scuola Superiore della Magistratura and runs specialisation courses for universities in criminology and forensic psychopathology. Her recent books include: Colpevoli della crisi? (Franco Angeli, 2016); Uomini violenti (2008); Compendio di criminologia (2008); Colpevoli si nasce? Criminologia, determinismo, neuroscienze (2012); Lo straniero a giudizio. Tra psicopatologia e diritto (2017); and La normalità del male (2019) published by Raffaello Cortina.