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The editorial team warmly welcome Mrs. Professor Lena Dominelli, and Mr. Professor Malcolm Payne, two prominent internationally social work personalities who have kindly accepted to be part of our journal’s International Advisory Board starting with issue no. 1/2010.
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Homepage > Archive > Numar: 4 > Restorative Practices and the Life-World Implications of a New Social Science

 Restorative Practices and the Life-World Implications of a New Social Science

  • Ted Wachtel (PO Box 197, Pipersville, PA 18947 USA, 1-215-766-7443, E-mail:

The emerging discipline of restorative practices includes ‘restorative justice’ but also extends to participatory practices in diverse fields. Restorative practices address the parallel concerns of distinguished scholars who bemoan the alienation of the public within modern democracies, the collapse of family and community in the wake of the industrial revolution, the dominance of the ‘system’ over the ‘lifeworld’, and the theft of our conflicts by the courts. A fundamental unifying hypothesis binds together varied strands of interest, asserting that: ‘Human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.’ Growing evidence from six areas suggests that the broad application of restorative practices may be universally beneficial, as demonstrated: with families, helping them manage their own problems more effectively; with delinquent and at-risk youth, improving social attitudes and reducing re-offending; in criminal justice, helping victims cope with the emotional consequences of crime, and reducing re-offending and diverting young offenders from the courts; in workplaces, improving morale and personal accountability; in higher education, increasing cooperation and improving relationships in residential life; in schools, reducing violence, crime, bullying and misbehavior. Restorative processes offer people proactive opportunities to understand one another, to collaborate in decisions, to prevent conflicts or, when conflicts do occur, to provide safe settings for their resolution. These are the implications of a new social science and a new evidence-based social movement.

Keywords: Restorative Justice, Restorative Practices, Family Empowerment, Family Group Conference