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Seeking justice in the 21st century : the contested politics of race and gender.

Daly, Kathleen
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Professorial Lecture, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith, University, 21 April. Downloaded 22 August 2005.

For over 25 years, as a student and academic, I have been interested in the relationship of inequalities to crime and criminal justice, and in alternative ways to do justice. My research began with studies of gender, crime, and sentencing; and in the mid 1980s, I began to read and write on the race and gender politics of crime and criminal justice. In the mid 1990s, I moved from the United States to Australia to do research on restorative justice; and in the past 5 years, I have been studying Indigenous justice. My aim in this lecture is two-fold: to give you a feel for what these new justice practices are like, and to show how they articulate with race and gender politics. I shall identify the grounds of contestation, and at the same time, argue for the need to find common ground. I begin with a caveat. I will be characterising justice practices and their politics in simple terms, and often by using dichotomies. These are analytical short cuts that can make sense of complexity and difference. But scratch the surface, and they can easily fail us. One such dichotomy is ‘victim’ and ‘offender’. We know that among offenders, there are many indications of victimisation and trauma. Likewise, among victims, there are also offenders. These blurred boundaries of victimisation and offending are amply documented in research on pathways to crime; in profiles of those imprisoned; and in reports on violence in educational and social welfare institutions. I will offer a positive and hopeful reading of new justice practices. I do so because we regularly hear about problems of crime and disorder, about problems with the police, courts, and prisons. We rarely hear about positive developments, about how some things are going right. My positive reading will be tempered by honesty and realism. (excerpt)


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