Source: (2005) Critical Criminology. 13: 165–179.The purpose of this paper is to explore some questions around the process of engaging in research in restorative justice in the contemporary political and economic climate of the UK. Its key concern is to endeavour to create a framework in which it is possible to develop an understanding of the process whereby restorative justice was transformed from the ‘dead duck’ of the late 1980s to its current popularity. It takes as its example for understanding this transformation the problems and possibilities of engaging in research in restorative justice and how such research needs to be contextualised within a wider understanding of the policy and political process. This paper does not set out to offer any answers to the questions it raises, but is primarily concerned to bring to the fore some of the absences that can be detected within the contemporary embrace of restorative justice in the UK. Author's abstract.