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The Age Of Steam: Constructed Identity and Recalcitrant Youth in a Papua New Guinea Village

Goddard, Michael
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Sinclair Dinnen, Anita Jowitt, and Tess Newton Cain, eds., A Kind of Mending: Restorative Justice in the Pacific Islands. Canberra, ACT: Pandanus Books. Pp. 45-71.

Michael Goddard describes the Village Court in Pari Village Port Moresby, Papua New Guine. The institution of the village court, where traditional leaders use informal processes to respond to conflicts and minor crimes, has been described as restorative. Goddard challenges this view by looking at the meanings behind certain practices in the village court at Pari. He states that in this analysis of the Pari Village Court, “I contextualise a judicial process which might be glossed as restorative in issues of comunal identity, the interpretation of tradition and the negotiation of modern sociality. I hope to show here that restorative justice cannot be analytically abstracted from its immediate social context, and that within that context it can founder on the contestability of the cultural meaning to which it is putatively adapted.


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