Homo moralis strikes back. Risks with homo economicus in restorative conflict resolution

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Restorative justice presents a morally relevant method for alternative conflict resolution. However, this potential is not always applied fully. Instead, the practice may be used in ways foreign to it. This claim comes to the fore in the practice of restorative justice in domestic violence cases. Despite the persistent feminist critique of it the practice is widely offered. This suggests that the practice can cater to needs not originally depicted in the rationale of it. This paper works out of a wittgensteinian approach and argues that there is a confusing language use going on around mediation. The argument is based on an analysis of public talk of mediation in Finland which shows that it is predominantly conducted in the light of homo economicus. This is problematic. The paper suggests that instead of referring to mediation in terms of homo economicus, the value of it should be counted in terms of homo moralis. This is what restorative justice originally intended to do. The paper establishes a new perspective on the critique of restorative justice in general and offers a fruitful way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25–46
JournalStudia Theologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Homo economicus
  • Ethics
  • domestic violence
  • Restorative Justice
  • Homo moralis


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