The Ethic of Traditional Communities and the Spirit of Healing Justice



The Ethic of Traditional Communities and the Spirit of Healing Justice

Stories from Hollow Water, the Iona Community, and Plum Village

Jarem Sawatsky

Other Publisher

Softcover, 288 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1843106876, $40.00

What is healing justice? Who practices it? What does it look like? In this groundbreaking book, Jarem Sawatsky offers an international comparative study on healing justice. He examines in depth three traditional communities. The first is Hollow Water, an Aboriginal and Metis community in Canada renowned for their holistic healing work in the face of 80 percent sexual abuse rates. The second is the Iona Community, which is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community in Scotland known for their work towards peace, healing, and social justice. The third is Plum Village, a Vietnamese initiated Buddhist community in southern France. Plum Village is home to Nobel Peace Prize nominated author, Thich Nhat Hanh.

These case studies record a search for the kind of social, structural, and spiritual relationships necessary to sustain a healing view of justice. By comparing cases, Jarem identifies some of the patterns, themes, and imaginative practices that these communities share as they strive to practice healing justice. He then explores what the implications of these commonalities might be for the wider society, particularly for the fields of restorative justice and criminal justice.

Jarem has written the book so that it is accessible to those new to the topic, yet it is also highly instructive for experienced researchers. Certainly, his work will appeal internationally to practitioners, students, and anyone interested in restorative justice, law, peace building, and religious studies.

In his Foreword to the book, Rupert Ross writes: “I want to congratulate Jarem for the way he has written this book. He has freed himself—and his readers!—from the professional jargon that so often characterizes research of this kind. … [These are] the informed reflections of a deeply curious human being who wonders if there might be better ways for all of us to behave towards each other. At the same time, he is not in the least hesitant to express misgivings or pose unanswered questions as he goes. Like all tales of penetrating explorations, this book leaves the reader more deeply intrigued and curious at the end than they were at the beginning.”

Jarem Sawatsky is Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he teaches and practices the art of peacebuilding. Jarem is a practitioner, a scholar, and an activist of restorative and peaceful ways of engaging harms and cultivating healing justice. He has written numerous articles on peace, conflict, and restorative justice.

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