The Magic of Personal Encounters of Selves: Dalogicality in Norwegian Conflict Councils

Ida Hydle, Adger University College

An ongoing fieldwork in Norwegian restorative justices has made the Bakhtinian wording dialogicality useful for understanding the rituality of restoration compared to the ritual of criminalization. Coming from a field experience in Norwegian criminal court I recognise the two different organisations of justices, one monological - the other dialogical. In applying an anthropology of knowledge-approach, I look for comparisons on paradigmatic, communicational and epistemological levels as well as the different sources for appreciated knowledge. The positioning of the persons at conflict in the two justices as well as the positions of the witnesses create two totally distinct possibilities. I tend to think that herein lie some answers to why the dialogic relation between participants in restorative justice processes may develop into "magic", a term frequently used by mediators/facilitators when they recall what happened during conferences. Persons who seemingly oppose each other, come through the dialogue offered by the mediator(s) or the conferencing facilitator(s) to a common understanding of the interpretation of the act; the event - on their own premises, with their own wording and their own rhythm of talk, with anger or anxiety, fury or sadness - and with the possibility of Forgiveness as an act of the future. Thus the meaning of sanction may be changed or no longer relevant. The endeavour of restorative justice in late modern societies, such as Norway, challenges The Force of Law.

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Updated 05/20/2006