1st Edition

Restorative Justice and Contemporary Political Theory Critical Encounters

By Giuseppe Maglione Copyright 2025
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    Outlining a meta-theoretical reflection on how the expression ‘restorative justice’ has historically been used, this book explores the relevant social movement which has organically emerged around a range of informal justice practices from the 1970s.

    Restorative justice was once a marginal phenomenon, but today it is widely studied, nationally and internationally legislated, and increasingly practised; however, the growth of relevant policy, practice and research has been only marginally accompanied by the development of updated, theoretically informed reflections on the relationships between politics and restorative justice, at both the theoretical and empirical levels. This is a significant problem since neglecting the political dimension of restorative justice may limit the capacity of the restorative justice movement to appreciate critically its possible role in addressing oppressive social arrangements. This book addresses this gap by providing reflections on restorative justice in relation to six complex political concepts – difference, sovereignty, community, identity, equality and subalternity. Engaging with the thoughts of Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, Judith Butler, Jacques Rancière and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, each chapter works as a prism to unravel and reconstruct restorative justice in highly creative ways. 

    Providing an original and innovative contribution to our thinking about the political nature and significance of restorative justice from the specific perspective of political philosophy, Restorative Justice and Political Philosophy will appeal to students and scholars of restorative justice specifically and of criminal justice and criminology more broadly.

    Chapter 1. Encountering Restorative Justice; Chapter 2. Encountering Desire; Chapter 3. Encountering Sovereignty; Chapter 4. Encountering Community; Chapter 5. Encountering Identity; Chapter 6. Encountering Equality; Chapter 7. Encountering Subalternity; Chapter 8. Conclusions, New Beginnings and Futures; Index


    Giuseppe Maglione is Lecturer in Criminology and Director of the Restorative Justice Clinic in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent, UK.

    "A decades-long expansion has unmoored community-based alternatives to state justice from their early theoretical and critical promise. Adopting the mantel of 'restorative justice,' these alternatives tend to fix their operation within a technical ethos that secures success as naturalized solutions to state-defined problems. Maglione's thoughtful analysis clarifies and highlights the importance of retrieving contemporary political, social, and cultural theorizing to provide fluid ways to engage restorative initiatives. Drawing on key theories, this book successfully grinds novel critical lenses that bring into focus complex political arenas by which to engage democratic, unsettled, nomadic, subaltern, and constantly emerging practices of restorative justice.”

    --George Pavlich, University of Alberta, Canada

    “Restorative justice came out of the shadows to inspire a worldwide movement of social justice. While we are still learning to do restorative justice practice well, the theory and norms underpinning this practice have been neglected. Like any other justice intervention that claims to offer a better experience for victims, offenders and communities, restorative justice must proceed with responsibility and a careful justification of its practices and proposals. Maglione’s contribution could not be more timely as it adds to the scant theoretical restorative justice literature, helping us to navigate our critical thinking. The book provides a descriptive account of contemporary theories, while offering a critical analysis that allows us to connect theoretical norms with practice. It is not often that a book dedicated to restorative justice theory is offered”.

    --Theo Gavrielides, Restorative Justice for All (RJ4All)

    "In a work of cutting edge criticism and sparkling originality, Maglione explores the most prominent political implications for restorative justice in our time. His penetrating encounter with contemporary political thought examines the problems of diversity and democracy, community and identity, sovereignty and oppression. This will become an essential handbook for both the theory and creative practice of restorative justice."

    --Phil Carney, University of Kent, U.K.