Action Research in Criminal Justice
Restorative justice approaches in intercultural settings
To understand how people experience justice and security is a challenging task in times of unrest, marked by growing perceptions of insecurity, discrimination and uncertainty. The European project ALTERNATIVE aimed to understand justice and security experiences related to conflicts in intercultural settings, when citizens are given the means to actively contribute to these processes.
This book relates how the project was set up as an action research through the concrete description of four action sites: social housing estates in Vienna, Austria; a small community in Hungary with a Roma population; three border towns in Serbia; and three communities in Northern Ireland. These four sites have been compared through an innovative methodology, which leads to a deeper understanding of the impact of participatory and restorative justice oriented processes, and - in a more general way - of what action research may entail in the criminological field. Bringing together researchers and case studies from around Europe, this book examines the scientific potential of action research as a methodology in criminal justice settings.
This book is one of two volumes resulting from the work by a group of researchers in six European countries having cooperated intensively during four years in ALTERNATIVE, an action research project funded under the EU Seventh Framework Programme.
Table of Contents
Introduction: ALTERNATIVE understandings of justice and security through restorative justice approaches (Inge Vanfraechem)
1. Action research in intercultural settings and restorative justice: setting the scene (Ivo Aertsen)
2. Visualizing action research in the ALTERNATIVE context (Ida Hydle)
3. Participatory filming as part of action research in ALTERNATIVE: Experiences from four countries (Dóra Szegő)
4. Getting involved and remaining distant: On action research in Vienna (Katrin Kremmel and Christa Pelikan)
5. Turning resistance to cooperation: Action research in Hungary (Dóra Szegő, Gabriella Benedek and Éva Győrfi)
6. Conflicts, victimisation and restorative justice in intercultural settings: An example of action research in Serbia (Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović, Sanja Ćopić, Nikola Petrović and Bejan Šaćiri)
7. Working across frontiers: Community based restorative justice in Northern Ireland (Tim Chapman, Hugh Campbell, Derick Wilson and Philip McCready)
8. Qualitative comparative analysis (Mario Ragazzi)
Conclusion: Action research through restorative justice (Inge Vanfraechem and Ivo Aertsen)
Inge Vanfraechem is affiliated researcher at the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology, where she has worked for many years as senior researcher and co-promoter on national and European projects with regards to restorative justice. She also runs her own business in consultancy and research (Libra).
Ivo Aertsen is Full Professor of Criminology at the University of Leuven and leads the Leuven Institute of Criminology Research Line on ‘Restorative Justice and Victimology’. His main fields of research and teaching are victimology, penology and restorative justice. He is Editor-in-Chief of Restorative Justice: An International Journal. He was the academic coordinator of the European FP7 project ALTERNATIVE.
"There is too little ‘action research’ in the field of restorative and criminal justice. This collection of essays is therefore a welcome addition to scholarship on conflicts in ‘intercultural’ settings. While there has been some empirical work on Northern Ireland, the chapters on Austria, Hungary and Serbia provide readers who are very familiar with Anglo-American research with something new."
- Carolyn Hoyle, Professor and Director of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, UK
"The volume presents a variety of approaches for dealing constructively with conflicts and a treasure of expertise collected in different geographic areas, starting from Scandinavia, up to Central and South-East Europe. It is based on a fruitful and multidisciplinary cooperation between scholars and practitioners from Norway, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Serbia and Northern Ireland. Some of them have a solid track record in restorative justice in the field of criminology, others are experts in mediation, conflict transformation and conflict resolution in local communities or intercultural settings, and others are eager to cope with the legacies of violence in post-war societies. All case studies have one finding in common: in certain settings, involving stakeholders and make them take own responsibility for problem-solving will offer more convincing and sustainable paths to justice and security, rather than institutionalized forms that rely on the force of law or violence. Moreover, the book gives insights in a highly innovative approach: it demonstrates that action research is a very appropriate way to address these sensitive issues, as it involves the people on the ground and allows for trust-building and mutual learning between those who work in and on conflicts, and those who are stakeholders and those who observe and analyze (or facilitate) the process."
- Dr Martina Fischer, Peace Researcher and Political Scientist, Berlin, Germany