Source: (2006) Journal of Social Philosophy. 37(3):377-395.

The field of application for reparations is broad, comprising cases where wrongs are discretely episodic and the concrete means of repair (for example, monetary compensation) are fairly straightforward, cases of gross and murderous violation of massive numbers of human beings during a specific period of political repression or persecution, and group histories of destruction, dispossession, subjugation, and degradation of status that span centuries. The nature and background of particular cases of injury, as well as the foreground of current social relationships and practical political possibilities, matter decisively for how injury and responsibility are apt to be understood, and what measures of repair are apt to be available and meaningful. I do not wish to deny that what many writers call a “legalistic” or “juridical” understanding of reparations—basically, reparation as an exercise of corrective justice—might be usefully applied in some cases. Nor do I attempt to draw a single line of demarcation between cases where corrective justice will serve adequately as a model for reparation and those to which it is wholly inapt. I propose to explore an alternative to corrective justice as a framework for reparations in certain kinds of cases. (excerpt)