Towards an integral transformation : through the looking glass of restorative justice




Moore, Shannon Amanda

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This inquiry explores experiences and interpretations of transformation within the arena of Restorative Justice. Qualitatively guided by a descriptive-exploratory design this study employed a mixed ethnographic-phenomenological methodology. This allowed emic and etic perspectives and an unfolding- reflexive (Merleau-Ponty, 1962) research approach to be documented. Although recent research has investigated Restorative Justice from the perspective of theory and practice, I am unaware of any systematic investigations into individual lived experiences of transformation contextualized theoretically (Wolcott, 1994) within Wilber’s (2000a) Integral theory and Jung’s (Vol. 8, 1953-1979) Transcendent Function. Moreover, although some researchers have explored the relationship between Jungian and Integral theories (Harris, 2002), I am unaware of any empirical research that combines these within a conceptual framework. The conceptual framework of this study initiated conceptualization of an Integral Model of Transformation that holistically accounts for individuals’ change processes as it is inclusive of psychological, behavioural, sociological and cultural contexts. Findings have also been disseminated into an Integral Model of Evaluation for Restorative Justice program and processes (see Moore, 2003). In addition, this research initiative informed development of a model of implementation of Restorative Justice in mainstream schools (2001A), as well as a new approach to multi-cultural counselling using Restorative Justice as a conceptual framework (see Moore, 200IB). Thus, this study contributed to knowledge of counselling psychology related to theories of change for individuals living in the aftermath of conflict and crime as well as the application of theory into practice. The fourteen participants in this study were adults involved in Restorative Justice through a variety of roles including those of victims of harm, convicted offenders and community activists. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to discover participants’ interpretations of transformation and lived experiences with Restorative Justice. Data collection also was facilitated via in-depth immersion in the field over a thirty-month period. My participant-observer role and reflexivity was managed through field notes, research journals and documentation with creative arts. Analysis, interpretation and synthesis of the data had several phases. Content Analysis was used to assess interview data through first level coding, pattern coding and memoing. Interpretation of initial analyses was then contextualized within Jungian and Integral theories. Finally, interpretation of findings culminated in a creative synthesis of insights. Findings indicate that five grand themes influenced change processes for participants: satisfaction of basic human needs; existential concerns; interconnectedness and shared humanity; Transformational Justice and power relationships; and transpersonal experiencing. These themes combined with the interpretation of findings using Jungian and Integral theories together formed a proposed Integral Model of Transformation in the arena of Restorative Justice. Findings confirm a consistent pattern of change in the arena of Restorative Justice for victims, offenders and community activists, that at the same time reflected the unique contexts of each individual’s life. This was a process of transformation from a fractured-constricted sense of life to a synthesized balance manifest as a perception of self as belonging in an interdependent world.



Restorative justice