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Reconstructing Restorative Justice Philosophy

“Reconstructing Restorative Justice Philosophy" (ISBN 978-1-4094-7071-7) is an edited, peer-reviewed book of original papers written by leading scholars in the fields of restorative justicehuman rights, criminal justice and philosophy.

The book is edited by Theo Gavrielides and Vasso Artinopoulou and  is due to be published in July 2013  by Ashgate. The volume intends to take bold steps in forming much-needed philosophical foundations for restorative justice (RJ) through deconstructing and reconstructing various models of thinking. In particular, the Editors aim to review available norms of theory and practice with the aim of constructing a values framework of evaluation and justification of restorative justice.

Current debates are challenged though the consideration and integration of various disciplines (law, philosophy, human rights) into restorative justice theory, resulting in the development of new, stimulating arguments. The originality of the book is emphasised through the methodology employed in its creation. Chapter authors took part in a 7-day Greek Symposium of in-depth discussions. The international origins and perspectives of both authors and chapters as well as the multi-disciplinary nature of the book's arguments make it a unique contribution to the literature.

Authors include: John Braithwaite (Australian National University), Howard Zehr (Eastern Menonite University), Gerry Johnstone (University of Hull), Susan Sharpe (University of Notre Dame), Marelize Schoeman (University of South Africa), Robert Mackay, Mara Schiff (Florida Atlantic University), Brenda Morrison (Simon Fraser University).

About the book

This volume is novel in the use of a deconstructive and reconstructive approach, where the fundamental underpinnings of restorative justice are interrogated through a critical analysis of restorative justice philosophy. This book pioneers a new method when considering restorative justice, with the current concepts being challenged and tested by new questions and methodologies, particularly those which are not in the mainstream restorative justice literature. The introduction of other disciplines, including philosophy, human rights and political thought into the debates and questions surrounding restorative justice allows for a deeper understanding of the various complexities which face theorists, practitioners and policy-makers. The complete investigation of the fundamental principles through an international lens provides a fresh, thought-provoking perspective on restorative justice and its philosophy.

This book is divided into three sections; Part I deconstructs restorative justice through philosophy, and discusses value based methodologies for normative thinking and critical analysis. Part II utilises contemporary studies from around the world to examine various issues affecting restorative justice normatively. The practical and theoretical applications of philosophy, human rights and conflict resolution are combined with questions concerning the integration and imposition of justice models on different societies. Part III takes restorative justice ‘back to basics’ by examining the philosophy of peace circles, African Ubuntu and ‘restorative pain’ and how these can be applied successfully to contemporary models of restorative justice. The epilogue attempts to reconstruct the notion of restorative justice, complete with reformulated, novel questions and offers the organic, holistic, process-driven reformulation of the restorative justice theory, drawing on innovative international case studies and new reflections on old theories.

The book's key objective and audience

The key objective of the book is to contest current restorative justice thinking by deconstructing and then reconstructing restorative justice philosophy. Through the unusual symposium methodology, the international slant, the combination of various disciplines and the application of rights, value based methods and philosophy, this book is at the forefront of a brand new challenge to accepted doctrines.

Audience:  Senior-level capstone courses and upper-level seminars that review and expand on key areas of study in social theory, philosophy, law, restorative justice, human rights, criminal justice, criminology and political science departments. The book is also intended for researchers, policymakers, practitioners and campaigners.

“Gavrielides and Artinopoulou propose a reconstructed philosophy of restorative justice that is much more expansive and inclusive, much less either/or, than the usual approach.  For the restorative justice movement to progress, they argue, we first must reconcile the internal tensions identified by the authors in this volume:  conceptual, philosophical, political, personal.  Their proposed reconstructed philosophy helps point a direct but in addition, they also suggest some rules for moving in this direct, asking those of us working in and advocating for restorative justice to redirect some of our energies.  The methodology the editors adopted for this volume is also significant.  Instead of limiting contributions to empirical analysis, they encouraged authors to write freely from a variety of sources and perspectives.  As the library recall notice says, this book is long overdue”.

Howard Zehr, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Restorative Justice Center for Justice & Peacebuilding Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia, USA

“No one will be able to read this book without wishing they were there for the journey that gave it birth. Rich outcomes are enabled by richness of process. This book succeeds in drawing us into the journey of its travelers and is a grand exercise in critical retrieval, revival, renewal of those teachings, ancient and recent. There is a great, enduring core of restorative justice teachings that has an increasingly global quality about it.  This fine collection helps us renew and reconstruct the core of restorative justice teachings at their holistic philosophical foundations while also helping us to look at them with wider historical and cultural lenses. As the Epilogue reminds us, restorative justice lives and evolves in the hands of this generation of travelers on our planet. Our obligation, the Epilogue sums up, is not to be the kind of philosophers whose aim is to define restorative justice more carefully, because if we ‘define water too narrowly’, we prevent people from seeing its other properties”

John Braithwaite, PhD, Professor Australian National University, Australia

For more information contact the Editors             To purchase the book and to acquire a special discount click here

Dr. Theo Gavrielides,  Prof. Vasso Artinopoulou, Professor Panteion University,