Everything is Discipline: Toward A Poststructural Critique of Restorative “Justice”


  • Brad Bierdz University of Wisconsin-Madison




Restorative Justice, Poststructuralism, Punishment, Socialization, and Panopticism


In this investigation, I begin by outlining an overview restorative “justice” practices, tempering it with critical feminist understandings of power. I then build a poststructural theoretical lens, connecting the illusion of power, panopticism and normalization, and how power produces resistance in the context of 21st century U.S. schools. Following, I apply this theoretical lens in a critique of restorative “justice” practices in such schools, exploring how restorative practices are constructed in educational literature and analyzing the popularized image of restorative “justice” as an emerging example of what Kevin Kumashiro has called “commonsensical.” Finally, I conclude with theoretical implications and suggestions for future research so as to grow our poststructural understandings of restorative “justice” and challenge the uncritical ways the broader field of educational scholarship has wrestled with questions surrounding RJP.