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Title: Justice for the poor or poorer justice? : an investigation of the 'dangers of community' in restorative justice through a class-focused lens
Author: Willis, Roxana
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigates unaddressed claims about the apparent dangers of community participation in restorative justice. I begin by reviewing the restorative justice literature, and examining how community has been understood by restorative justice scholars: one view emphasises the relational community of care, another view emphasises the geographical community of place, and a third view expresses caution about community due to its alleged dangers. I suggest that the purported dangers of community are rooted in differential power relations and exclusion. In order to assess these claims, I develop a conceptual framework based on the scholarship of Pierre Bourdieu. Instead of determining class only by employment status, Bourdieu demonstrates that who one knows (social capital), and what knowledge and skills one has learnt (cultural capital) have important bearings on advantage. The empirical arm of my project examines the 'dangers of community' via a unique, two-part ethnography of restorative justice in my hometown, Corby, England. This ethnography begins by providing a class analysis of life and conflict on my estate, incorporating 'offline' observations and a dataset of 4,411 social media exchanges. The second part of the ethnography builds on data collected through year-long participation in two restorative justice initiatives in the town, including observations of 13 restorative justice conferences, 35 youth offender panels, and 77 interviews. Thus, the first part of the ethnography contextualises the second, giving nuance and depth to my account. By this combination of approaches, I explore how restorative justice initiatives play out within a working-class community, and both when and why the dangers of community appear to surface. To conclude, I argue that while restorative justice has great potential, in its current state - without adequate legal safeguards - it offers an inadequate form of justice to disadvantaged members of society.
Supervisor: Hoyle, Carolyn Elizabeth ; Parmar, Alpa Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust ; St Edmund Hall ; Ruby and George Will Trust ; Rowlett Trust ; Soroptimist International
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available