Back to RJ Archive

The Eye behind the lens: A Social Analysis of Restorative Justice

Daems, Tom
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) M.A. thesis, European Criminology, Centre for Advanced Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Accessed 25 January 2005.

This MA paper looks at restorative justice through a social theoretical lens. This means that the paper tries to clarify how restorativism is embedded in our contemporary societies. The paper is divided into two chapters. In the first chapter I clarify the framework of the paper.
Restorative justice is approached from the sociology of punishment. This implies that I approach restorativism as a social phenomenon and that I try to explore its relation to late modern societies. This is necessary because if criminologists want to come to an understanding of the ‘rise’ of restorative justice in our societies then its place within the late modern world needs to be clarified. The first chapter goes on to discuss how this late modern world looks like by focusing on how relationships to our selves and bodies, to (significant) others and to the (welfare) state have changed. This discussion on late modern change draws extensively on the writings of Anthony Giddens and Ulrich Beck.
In the second chapter restorative justice will be linked to the late modern changes that were outlined in the preceding chapter. The chapter opens with some theoretical comments which are derived from the writings of David Garland. A distinction is made between structural changes and conjunctural responses. It will be argued that restorativism can be approached as a potentially progressive response to late modern structural changes. Throughout the paper some of the taken-for-granted beliefs of restorativists are questioned. In addition, it is said that also the sociology of punishment can learn from restorative justice. The sociology of punishment has become a sceptical ‘sociology of the reactionary response’ in which pessimism prevails. As such, the paper also wants to bring this unjustified reduction of the social analysis of penal developments to the attention of sociologists of punishment. Author’s abstract.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now