New Article poses a substantial, empirically based critique of Restorative Justice – University of Copenhagen

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21 September 2015

New Article poses a substantial, empirically based critique of Restorative Justice

Ida Helene Asmussen has just published her article "Performing Absolution Narratives in Restorative Justice" in the Routledge Journal, Restorative Justice - An International Journal, vol. 3 (1), 2015, p. 28-48.
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Based on Goffman's notion of people performing contextually preferred identities, a qualitative study of victim–offender mediation shows that the roles adopted in mediation sessions reflect a moral assessment of the situation. This assessment is structured by a confessional ethos, including demanding remorse from the perpetrator and mercy from the victim. The powerful idea of confession and forgiveness as liberating and emancipative is seen as part of a Foucauldian, neoliberal effort working toward the same end as regular criminal proceedings: creating law-abiding citizens. However, creating law-abiding citizens is not encouraged through judiciary processes, sentencing and imprisonment, but by stimulating an inner, panoptic judge of conscience, motivating the perpetrator to remain within the law.