More than a hundred countries around the world practice some form of restorative justice. Although research of these practices has expanded exponentially, there remain significant gaps in international comparative studies, understanding of community praxis, and perspectives of visionaries and practitioners on the genesis of RJ. This doctoral study bridges these gaps through thirty-eight semi-structured interviews and follow up surveys within the three research sites: British Columbia and Nova Scotia, in Canada, and Bangladesh. The research question addresses both genesis and praxis of RJ across the research sites. The data identifies the key factors that contributed to the genesis of restorative justice at each site. This growth is then situated within the phasic stages of social movements, arguing that restorative justice has not yet reached a ‘tipping point’ at any of the sites. The findings of this study illustrate the intricate nuances and complexities in the genesis of RJ, and enhances the understanding of community praxis in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Bangladesh. Whilst similarities in community praxis, such as a circle of care or community as volunteer, exists across the sites, this study finds additional distinct forms of community praxis, such as ‘reflective community’ in British Columbia and ‘learning community’ in Nova Scotia. The research contributes to the existing literature in three ways. First, it documents the stories and voices of restorative justice visionaries who played a pivotal role in the early days at the three sites. Second, it identifies and contributes to contemporary debates: the standardization of restorative justice; the application of restorative justice on gender-based violence; and the role of INGOs. Third, it contributes to the theoretical framework of community praxis in restorative justice through a proposed Community Engagement Framework as well as a conceptual framework for decolonization and restorative justice. This study posits that the proposed Decolonizing Framework for RJ would facilitate the evolution of culturally and socially conducive RJ practices in previously colonized countries, like Bangladesh.
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Thesis advisor: Morrison, Brenda
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