Back to RJ Archive

On the Rocky Road to “Restoring” Justice: The Restorative Justice Movement in the United States

Swan, Richelle Suzanne
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Ph.D. dissertation, Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine.

This study examines restorative justice activity in the United States through the lens of social movement theory. Interviews, participant observation, and document analysis are employed as methods of assessing the trajectory of this “newâ€? social movement and providing needed information on the social construction of movement claims. It is shown that the roots of restorative justice movement frames are closely aligned with associated spillover movements, namely the peacemaking and alternative dispute resolution movements, and frame expansion has led to the promulgation of myriad visions in its name. Frame disputes have been informally negotiated through the tentative acceptance of movement niches similar to those observed at the organizational level. As has been asserted in previous studies, the findings demonstrate that collective identification aids in the maintenance of a social movement in spite of conflicting framing efforts on the part of advocates. Yet, this study demonstrates that collective identification need not coalesce around a movement’s central organizing concept. Narrativity and the role of the storyteller are embraced as part of a secondary collective identity around the “alternative thinkerâ€? and function in tandem with two other forms of collective identification to aid in the maintenance of the movement. Author’s abstract.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now