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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Compulsory Compassion

A Critique of Restorative Justice

In Compulsory Compassion, Annalise Acorn, a one-time advocate for restorative justice, deconstructs the rhetoric of the restorative movement. Drawing from diverse legal, literary, philosophical, and autobiographical sources, she questions the fundamental assumptions behind that rhetoric: that we can trust wrongdoers’ capacity for meaningful accountability and respectful community, and that we can, in good conscience, deploy the idea that healing lies in (re)encounter to seduce victims to participate in restorative processes.

224 pages

Law and Society

Table of Contents


1 The Seductive Vision of Restorative Justice: Right-Relation, Reciprocity, Healing, and Repair

2 “Essentially and Only a Matter of Love”: Justice and the Teachability of Universal Love

3 Three Precarious Pillars of Restorative Optimism

4 Sentimental Justice: The Unearned Emotions of Restorative Catharsis

5 “Lovemaking Is Justice-Making”: The Idealization of Eros and the Eroticization of Justice

6 Compulsory Compassion: Justice, Fellow-Feeling and the Restorative Encounter

7 Epilogue. Restorative Utopias: “The Fire with Which We Must Play”?




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