Title: Doing restorative justice in intercultural contexts: An alternative discourse of justice and security
Other Titles: Herstelrecht in een interculturele context: een alternatief discours van gerechtigheid en veiligheid
Authors: Pali, Brunilda
Issue Date: 17-Oct-2016
Abstract: The dissertation explores critically the potential and the limits of the restorative justice discourse in addressing conflicts in intercultural contexts in Europe, as an alternative discourse on both justice and security. The exploration revolves around two main questions: 1. How can we conceptualise the application of restorative justice at a range of community-based and social conflicts?; 2. How can restorative justice challenge the current security discourses, especially in intercultural contexts?
The dissertation takes place in the framework of an action research project (ALTERNATIVE) funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, and coordinated by the Leuven Institute of Criminology, KU Leuven. Being tightly linked to the ALTERNATIVE project, the dissertation relies extensively on the methodological approach of action research. Action research is a period of a collective and participatory inquiry, which describes, interprets and explains social situations while executing action and interventions aimed at some forms of social change. In the dissertation I analyse in-depth two of the action research sites (Hungary and Austria) in the ALTERNATIVE project. I additionally analyse interview data conducted with four mediation programmes in Europe (Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Norway). The dissertation brings together a micro-sociological analysis of social interactions and social actions with larger discursive frameworks or societal patterns.
The dissertation is structured in ten chapters. Chapter One introduces action research as methodological approach of the project, focusing on its contribution towards epistemology. Chapter Two introduces the ALTERNATIVE project, its rationale and its design, including the two action research sites which constitute the case studies analysed in this dissertation.
Chapter Three tackles questions such as: what is restorative justice about, where do its boundaries start and where do they end, and by what criteria are we to understand the restorative discourse? The chapter introduces a three-featured characterisation of restorative justice discourse, which consists of the lifeworld, the participatory, and the reparative elements. Chapter Four introduces an additional element to the three-featured conception, namely the element of transformation, through core arguments and debates on this element in restorative justice. Chapter Five and Six inquire further into the conditions of possibility and impossibility for restorative justice in general, and for a transformative agenda in particular. The objective of these chapters is to argue that the feature of transformation and another vision (rooted in both abolitionism and social justice) is crucial within the discourse of restorative justice, in order to counteract its neoliberal tendencies. Additionally, these chapters aim to show that on the one hand what is a condition of possibility for restorative justice can also be a condition of possibility for very opposite tendencies, and on the other hand a condition of possibility for restorative justice can also be its very condition of impossibility. Chapter Seven traces the elements of lifeworld, participation, reparation and transformation as they have been embraced, questioned or challenged within the two action research sites of the ALTERNATIVE project. The aim of this chapter is to realign the theoretical framework with the research in the action sites, and in line with the action research methodology to draw the implications of this realignment.
Chapter Eight investigates their discursive contours and intersections of the security discourse and social justice, and the ways in which they are cast in cultural terms, reflecting on the implications each of these trends and insights has for the discourse of restorative justice. Chapter Nine, moving back to the action sites, traces the various narratives and framings of culture and conflict, the intercultural governmentalities used by the various social actors in these sites, and the tension between the notions of justice and security. Chapter Ten, taking a step back from the action research, draws general implications for restorative justice, especially when we think of its core application within the criminal justice system, mainly by tracing the current trends in crime control which point to a move towards a merging of the justice agenda with a security discourse, and by analysing the current ‘intercultural problematisations’ in restorative discourse, using the data from the interviews with the mediation programmes.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC)
Faculty of Law

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