The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Keeping complexity alive: restorative and responsive approaches to culture change

Keywords Restorative justice, responsive regulation, relational governance, complexity
Authors Gale Burford
Author's information

333572 Gale Burford
Gale Burford is Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Vermont, Burlington, USA. Contact author: gburford@uvm.edu. Disclosure statement: There are no financial conflicts of interest.
  • Abstract

      The human services are fraught with history of failure related to grasping oversimplified, across-the-board solutions that are expected to work in all situations for all groups of people. This article reviews some of the long-standing and current challenges for governance of programmes in maintaining cultures that safeguard restorative and responsive standards, principles and values, thereby amplifying and enhancing their centrality to relational engagement within families, groups, communities and organisations. Despite their potential for helping groups of people grapple with the complex dynamics that impact their lives, restorative justice approaches are seen as no less vulnerable to being whittled down to technical routines through practitioner and sponsor colonisation than other practices. This article explores some of the ways culture can work to erode and support the achievement of restorative standards, and why restorative justice and regulation that is responsive to the ongoing experiences of affected persons offers unique paths forward for achieving justice. Included in this exploration are the ways that moral panic and top-down, command-and-control management narrow relational approaches to tackling complex problems and protect interests that reproduce social and economic inequality.

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