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The Socio-logic of restorative justice

by Bodner, Sara Reid


Restorative justice seeks to repair harm by bringing together those involved in and affected by an offense in order to address their needs and impose obligations. However, the field of restorative justice has become increasingly undefined due to its expansion over the last couple of decades. Moreover, existing empirical research on restorative justice predominantly evaluates its effectiveness and then grounds its finding in restorative justice theory. This thesis uses interviews and participant observation to demonstrate the connection between the theory and practice of restorative justice group and family conferences and the tradition of social theory. I argue that restorative justice reflects the theories of Emile Durkheim, George Herbert Mead, J├╝rgen Habermas, and Ivan Illich. Threads of their theories are evident in how the structure of restorative justice conferences creates the conditions for the process of communication to occur, which then facilitates the realization of abstract values and strengthens community. By explaining the role of this implicit yet significant logic, I locate restorative justice within a broad historical process of social theory to illustrate its potential foundations.


Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Thesis title page states May 2012. Confirmed by Sociology Department that date should be May 2013.

Administrative Notes

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Thesis title page states May 2012. Confirmed by Sociology Department that date should be May 2013.

Copyright restrictions apply.
Colorado College
Digital Origin
born digital
57 pages
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Livesay, Jeff
Degree Name
Degree Type
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued