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What are the Dangers As Well As the Promises of Community Involvement?

Pavlich, George.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In, Howard Zehr and Barb Toews, eds., Critical Issues in Restorative Justice. Monsey, New York and Cullompton, Devon, UK: Criminal Justice Press and Willan Publishing. Pp. 173-184.

As George Pavlich notes, the concept of community occupies a significant place in restorative approaches to crime and other instances of conflict. While there a number of meanings attached to the idea of community, restorative justice proponents generally view community, however defined, in positive terms. Why is the concept of community so enticing? With this in mind, Pavlich assesses both the promise and the danger underlying restorative justice’s appeals to community. There is much of value in revitalizing communal life to redress wrongdoing and injustice. At the same time, Pavlich warns against fixed or absolute images of community and their incipient totalitarianism. As an alternative, he proposes that Derrida’s concept of hospitality offers a better way of thinking about how to live with others justly without becoming a fixed community.


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