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Deepening democracy through community dispute resolution: problems and prospects in South Africa and Chile.

Gordon, Diana R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) Contemporary Justice Review. 14(3):291-305.

Post-apartheid South Africa and post-Pinochet Chile have taken significant steps to democratize justice. This article acknowledges conventional reforms of both countries’ criminal justice systems but focuses primarily on case studies of participatory and restorative initiatives that have attempted to expand the theory and practice of public safety practices in non-state settings. The experience of resolving interpersonal disputes in new democracies and what it means for the people who do it is examined. The research hypothesized that public participation in matters of justice and security can foster more active citizenship, a contribution to deepening democracy in countries in transition, as South Africa and Chile have been since the early 1990s. The experiences of the Community Peace Program and the Barrio Sin Violencia shed light on both the potential and the limitations of efforts to deepen democracy through community dispute resolution. They suggest that whether or not public participation in matters of justice and security fosters more active citizenship in democratizing countries depends on complex cultural and historical influences, including perspectives on sources of authority, institutional patterns of justice, and mutual trust.(excerpt)


AbstractCourtsPolicePrisonsRJ and Community DisputesRJ in SchoolsTopic: RJ Practices
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