Drawing a line: the meaning of making, gifting, and solidarity in restorative justice processes

Aldington, Clair (2021) Drawing a line: the meaning of making, gifting, and solidarity in restorative justice processes. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This practice-based research investigates the meaning of making, gifting, and solidarity as they manifest themselves within restorative justice (RJ) processes, and draws on the application of interaction ritual to RJ (Collins, 2004; Pemberton et al, 2017; Rossner, 2013; Strang et al, 2006). The most successful RJ encounters are the most emotional, and those that achieve collective solidarity between participants (Rossner, 2013). The positive emotional energy generated by solidarity may be prolonged beyond the moment of the RJ encounter through the creation of material symbols (Collins, 2004; Rossner, 2013). The particular question this research asks is whether or not a co-created design thing, handmade as part of a RJ process, could become such a material symbol, as there are potential links between long term positive emotional energy and a reduction in offending (Rossner, 2013). There is no other research in any discipline in this area.

Different data collection methods, involving 26 participants, were adopted, including interviews, a workshop, and a longitudinal RJ case study based in a Scottish island community. This employed design thinking and co-creative making processes. The existing practice of the researcher as both a maker as well as a RJ practitioner was also utilized, and this generated a body of handmade work through a thinking through making process (Gray and Malins, 2004; Marshall and Wallace, 2017; Nimkulrat, 2012; Pajaczkowska, 2016).

Making, gifting, and solidarity within RJ processes are found to share common characteristics, and the acts of making and gifting to be innately about the formation of solidarities. The gifted co-created design thing is further found to become a material symbol of solidarity by people harmed (victims) and by people responsible (offenders) in this study, and to offer a tangibility to the RJ process. This fulfils a lack of symbols in RJ, with potential significance for desistance and recovery (Maruna, 2001; Rossner, 2013). Gifting within RJ is, however, accompanied by obligations - that the recipient uses the gift, and the gifter (if a person responsible) transitions from offending. As an application of this research to RJ and design practice, the concept of Restorative T/thinging is proposed. This utilizes design thinking and co-creative making processes which are described as a step beyond, ‘design for RJ’ (Gamman and Thorpe, 2016), to design as RJ. As such, the author argues for the importance of designing for solidarity as a move beyond designing for empathy within RJ.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Funding information: I am grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) who funded my PhD studentship [grant number AH/L50386/1] through the Northumbria-Sunderland Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).
Uncontrolled Keywords: co-creation, design thinking, thinging, desistance, symbols
Subjects: W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2022 09:05
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2022 09:15
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50724

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