Restorative justice as postmodern justice: exegesis and critique
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This essay explores the relationship between postmodernism and RJ. Postmodernism quickly outgrew its non-legal origins and has extended its reach to incorporate matters legal. Already, it has established a significant presence in the law, as increasing numbers of legal theorists have adopted or included a postmodern perspective in their analytical endeavours. The particular concern of the essay is with the impact of postmodernism upon the field of criminal justice. In this connection, it is submitted that RJ is the exemplification of the postmodern attitude in criminal justice. This submission is grounded in an investigation of the interrelations between postmodernism and RJ in six spheres, namely, the state, history, alterity, power, subjectivity and consumerism. This investigation shows that in each sphere there is a discernible and compelling postmodern flavour to the RJ tenet in question. In consequence, it is posited that the intersection between postmodernism and RJ is significant enough to justify the proposition that if there is a postmodern criminal justice it is RJ. In other words, RJ is postmodern justice. However, the relationship between postmodernism and RJ is steeped in contradiction. The latter part of the essay seeks to probe this contradiction, via an exposition and critique of the political economies of postmodernism and RJ, with a view to comprehending its implications for the future of RJ.