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Relationships, Civility and the Neighbourly Society

Letwin, Oliver
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Relational Justice Bulletin. 18:1-3. Relationships Foundation. Downloaded 30 March 2004.

Oliver Letwin, in this article, poses what he considers to be a more fruitful question than “What are the causes of crime?â€? He turns this question around to ask what he asserts is the more useful question – namely, “What are the causes of the opposite of crime?â€? Or, more concretely, “What is the opposite of a criminal?â€? With these questions in mind, Letwin explores what he terms the neighborly society. To explain this term, he points to the Hebrew word shalom, which conveys more than the idea of peace as the absence of conflict. Shalom signifies a wholeness of community – a totality of right relationships within communities, between persons and families and social groups. The neighborly society, then, first and foremost consists in the establishment and preservation of right relationships among people. He applies all of this to relational policies that would pursue more than the establishment of law and order; they would aim for a neighborly society.


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