The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

The shame of injustice: the ethics of victimology and what it means for restorative justice

Keywords Victimology, restorative justice, shame, Bernard Williams, Susan Brison
Authors Antony Pemberton
Author's information

359197 Antony Pemberton
Professor of Restorative Justice, Leuven Institute of Criminology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Professor of Victimology, Tilburg Law School, Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands.
  • Abstract

      The role of shame in restorative justice has a long pedigree. Most often shame has been conceptualised in terms of the act of the offender. The focus of this paper is instead on the shame of the person experiencing wrongdoing: a victim who is neither guilty nor responsible for the experience. This has the advantage of making more clear that shame fundamentally concerns an experience of ‘who I am’ rather than ‘what I have done’, while the reaction to the experience of shame in victimization should involve attention to the identity-related questions that are posed by this experience. This way of viewing shame is connected to the distinction between countering injustice and doing justice, and offers a number of fresh insights into victimological phenomena in restorative justice and restorative justice more generally.

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