RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AS A TOOL FOR PEACEBUILDING: A SOUTH AFRICAN CASE STUDY

In this study a component of long-term peacebuilding practice – restorative justice processing – was examined in South Africa’s unequal, transitional context. Based on multidisciplinary literature, Galtung’s (1996) notion of cultural-structural-direct violence, Cohen’s (2001) theory of denial, and empirical data, a conceptual argument was made that a conspiracy of silence (cultural violence) exists about the interaction of growing inequality (structural violence) and the levels of crime/social harm (direct violence). Victim offender mediation, as a form of restorative justice processing, was an embedded, (Yin, 1994) instrumental (Stake,1995) case which provided micro level information about peacebuilding practice.

Peace studies was chosen as the core discipline in this multiperspectival study, as it allowed micro-macro linkages to be made deductively and inductively. Empirical data was generated by a 360° formation of six sub-units comprised of victims, offenders, practitioners, prosecutors, key experts, a Norwegian external subunit (which provided a keyhole comparison of activities inside the ‘black box’ of victim offender mediation), and observation. The research discovered four interlinked gaps in restorative justice processing. These gaps are contextual, conceptual, training and practice related. Patterns of denial – that manifested as procedural blindness, substantive deafness and a complicit silence about the interaction of cultural, structural and direct violence – resulted from the combined effects of these interlinked gaps.

Recommendations for education, training and coaching, based on the conceptual argument and comprehensive model of findings, were developed to fill the interlinked gaps, so that restorative justice practitioners can be better placed to contribute to long-term peacebuilding in a structurally responsive way. A caveat applies: ultimately, society and individuals must change and restorative justice processing on its own can only take society part of the way towards social justice.

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OP-ED_ RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AT UCT

A group of progressive UCT alumni reflect on modest and expansive approaches to Restorative Justice in light of recent decolonisation protests, militarisation on campus, and polarisation. Signatories: Abeedah Adams Glenn Allies Michelene Dianne Benson Ray Brink Gatto Chuckie Karen Daniels Jean Ann Elliott Joanna Flanders Thomas June Knight Stephen Langtry Mary-Ann Naidoo Thulani Nxumalo Desiree Paulsen Leon Pretorius Melvin Rautenbach Ezelle Theunissen Vicki Trowler

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REFLECTIVE PEACEBUILDING PRACTICE AS PRACTICAL/PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH

This chapter is based on an action research project which consists of a practical action research phase as defined by Denscombe, 2010:6, and a proposed participatory action research and writing phase. The second phase described here, was part of PhD research, and is in the process of being followed up with parallel writing and participatory action research phases in which peacebuilding practitioners and officials will be involved. It will take the form of Paulo Freire style workshops with the triple function of learning and teaching based on the findings and recommendations of the second phase, and action research activities. During the second phase, research activities focused on a particular peacebuilding problem encountered within a particular peacebuilding context (first phase) and are discussed next.

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THEORISING THE CONSTRUCTED INVISIBILITY OF STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE DURING COMMUNITY BASED RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PROCESSING. A SOUTH AFRICAN CASE STUDY.

Community-based restorative justice processes linked to criminal justice processes, are deemed to promote social justice. This article describes the nested theoretical and empirical research approach (bricolage) used to uncover how cultural violence manifests to render structural violence invisible during community based restorative justice processes. Theoretically, a ‘deeper and longer’ analysis of structural violence and peacebuilding in South Africa’s unequal, transitional context was undertaken as a holistic case. Victim offender mediation was an embedded case with a 360° formation of six sub units which facilitated an empirical examination of what happens in the ‘black box’ of victim offender mediation. This allowed an examination of restorative justice as an instrumental case, to shed light on peacebuilding in a structurally violent context. The theoretical finding of a ‘culture of denial’ was based on manifestations and patterns of denial found in the data. This led to the finding of four interlinked gaps in restorative justice processing in an unequal context. The conceptual/empirical research approach helped to uncover how and why structural violence is rendered invisible during these community based processes. Recommendations were made for education, training and coaching to make practitioners ‘structurally responsive’.

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PRESENTATION ON INVISIBLE/VISIBLE VIOLENCE FOR ACTION RESEARCH WORKSHOPS

Action research workshops to test/calibrate/groundtruth an analytical framework: ‘The invisible/visible structure of violence’ are currently being conducted via the Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town with a ‘transdisciplinary spectrum’ of people to gather additional data on different aspects of violence (cultural/symbolic; structural; psychological and physical.

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