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Restorative justice—the perplexing concept: Conceptual fault-lines and power battles within the restorative justice movement.

Gavrielides, Theo
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Criminology and Criminal Justice. 8(2):165-183.

Although the fast-growing literature on restorative justice is extensive, and in some regards repetitive, there is still no consensus as to the nature and extent of applicability of the restorative notion. This article claims that the restorative movement is experiencing a tension between normative abolitionist and pragmatic visions of restorative justice. It proceeds to identify six conceptual fault-lines that characterize this tension. These do not only refer to various definitional positions, but also disagreements that negatively affect both the theoretical and practical development of restorative justice. These tensions also encourage a power-interest battle between different stakeholders within the restorative movement including practitioners, theoreticians, researchers and policy makers. To approach these controversies, there needs to be an acknowledgment of the multidimensional nature of the conceptual problem of restorative justice and the impact it has on its application. The article attempts to get to grips with this problem, and provide a common ground for the future development of restorative justice.(Author’s abstract)


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