Title page for ETD etd-02222012-214029

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Uys, Carmen
URN etd-02222012-214029
Document Title Towards constructing restorative justice : a view of crime, justice and reconciliation
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr I Lynch Supervisor
  • critical discourse analysis
  • CJS
  • crime
  • justice
  • reconciliation
  • victims
  • offenders
  • construct
  • constructionism
  • restorative justice
Date 2012-04-17
Availability unrestricted
This study explores how victims of violent crime construct meaning around crime, justice and reconciliation. It further aims to gain insight into how victims of crime construct expectations of which actions should ensue after the crime and whether their constructions encompass elements of reconciliation and restorative justice. The study is conducted from a social constructionist position and uses a critical discourse analysis framework in analysing the data. In-depth interviews were conducted with nine victims of serious crimes such as armed robbery, hi-jacking, attempted murder and rape. From the analysis it appears that participants have a need to experience justice and have a high demand for vengeance. This however may itself have grown out of a lack of a more positive experience of justice. Participants’ constructions of their experience of being a victim of crime center on notions of power, equality, prejudice and dominance. They draw on socially constructed differences based on race and gender to define both their identity as a victim of crime as well as the identity of their offender. These distinctions, based on categories of identity, serve to create an oppositional construction of “us” against “them” and also serve to dehumanise the offender. The analysis further indicates that participants draw on multiple constructions of restorative justice and despite strong support for punitive beliefs it appears that a discourse of restorative justice is also present in participants’ discussions. A key theme running through the data is the loss of personal power as a result of victimization. Instead of returning a sense of power to participants by allowing them to participate in the justice process, the legal system becomes the holder of the power and compounds the injury against the victim. The study has implications for how victims of crime are positioned in the justice system and how notions of restorative justice can be advanced in South African discourses.

Copyright © 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Uys, C 2011, Towards constructing restorative justice : a view of crime, justice and reconciliation, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02222012-214029 / >


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