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Restoring (Dis)order: Sanctions, Resolutions, and ‘Social Control’ In Anarchist Communities

Amster, Randall
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Contemporary Justice Review. 6(1): 9-24.

This essay explores the restorative implications of anarchist communities through an analysis of processes such as norm formation, sanctioning, conflict resolution, and economic exchange. The study explores ways in which anarchist communities employ various restorative measures to maintain group cohesion and achieve a modicum of social control through the application of natural phenomena such as diffuse power, fluid authority, community consensus and mutual aid. Drawing upon studies of communities manifesting anarchist tendencies- including utopian experiments, indigenous cultures, and the unique case of the Rainbow Family of living light- a picture begins to emerge where in conceptions of property and the social dynamics that inhere within a community are inextricably linked, suggesting the propensity of anarchist communities to promote an organic synthesis of self, society, and nature. In the end, by exploring tenets associated with the nascent restorative justice paradigm, it is observed that anarchist communities manifest principles that challenge dominant conceptions of criminality and legality, providing a framework for envisioning models of justice in practice that appear on the horizon of possibility and potentiality.


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