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Forgiveness as potentiality in criminal justice

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To explore the problematic of forgiveness in criminal justice we argue for and utilise the deep homologies that exist between the continental philosophical tradition and approaches to complexity theory (the potential to realise new dynamical states). Through taking a hermeneutical narrative approach we argue that studied together they provide us with new insights into questions of punishment, retribution and rehabilitation and enable us to better understand the connections that exist between victims of crime, perpetrators and the community through examination of the content of dominant narratives that emerge in the historical relationship between theology and law; gain insight into an increased path lock (entropic justice) with respect to retribution in liberal democracies such as the USA and UK based upon decomposition of the Judaeo-Christian message; and examine what contemporary stories of forgiveness reveal with respect to accessing new dynamical states and new ways of doing justice that challenge dominant and reductionist narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalCritical Criminology
Early online date4 Jan 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 4 Jan 2018


  • Forgiveness as Potentiality in Criminal Justice final - Copy

    Rights statement: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Critical Criminology. The final authenticated version is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 264 KB, PDF document

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