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Restorative Justice and the Politics of Decolonization

Cunneen, Chris
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In, Elmar G.M. Weitekamp and Han-Jurgen Kerner, Restorative Justice: Theoretical Foundations. Deon, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 32-49.

In this essay, Chris Cunneen investigates the intersections between restorative justice and decolonization. He offers two grounds for this analysis: (1) advocates of restorative justice have drawn on the perspectives and practices of colonized people in a number of countries, particularly indigenous people in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States; and (2) the relationship between restorative justice and rights for minority and indigenous groups may indicate to what extent restorative justice may be viewed as a progressive political and social movement. Sympathetic to restorative justice principles and aims, Cunneen nonetheless writes out of concern for the way restorative justice has been touted and applied in Australia. His concerns root in what he perceives as the impact of restorative justice programs on indigenous people and the trivialization of indigenous culture and law in restorative justice theorizing. With all of this in mind, Cunneen explores the relationship between knowledge and power, globalization and restorative justice, and the connections between decolonization and restorative justice.


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