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Two Protestant ethics and the spirit of restoration

Sherman, Lawrence W
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Restorative justice and civil society, eds. Heather Strang and John Braithwaite, 35-55. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sherman contends that behind restorative community justice is a Protestant ethic that can give rise to two contradictory tendencies: (a) a commitment to nonviolence; and (b) an opposition to all government and a social incapacity for building strong civil society institutions, leading to the possibility of violent civil disobedience. This antinomian Quaker ethic is radically egalitarian and individualistic, in contrast to the Calvinist Puritan ethic of hierarchical communalism and deference to the authority of highly educated people. In this context, Sherman explores the question of the weakening or strengthening of civil society and democracy as a major issue for the future of restorative community justice.


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