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A window on relationships: reflecting critically on a current restorative justice theory.

Vaandering, Dorothy
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) Restorative Justice: An International Journal. 1(3):311-333.

Inherent in the task of theorising is a responsibility for ongoing critical reflection of the ideas presented (Steele, 2010). To that end, this article responds to the invitation extended by McCold and Wachtel to examine the conceptual theory of restorative justice they first presented in 2003 and which continues to be promoted globally. One particular aspect of their theory, the Social Discipline Window, is examined. Drawing on a qualitative, critical case study conducted in schools in Ontario, Canada, the article illustrates: (a) how unexamined theory can be problematic and promote practice that counters the principles of restorative justice; and (b) how people’s lives can be impacted by power dynamics inherent in the theory presented (Woolford, 2009). In response, a revised Relationship Window is presented along with examples of how it can affect practice that is more consistently aligned with the philosophical foundations of restorative justice. (author’s abstract)


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