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Restorative Justice and Reparations.

Walker, Margaret Urban
June 4, 2015

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)


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