The partners of the project ALTERNATIVE would like to invite you to attend the final conference: “Justice and Security in Intercultural Europe: Exploring Alternatives” (Leuven, Belgium, 16-18 November 2015).
ALTERNATIVE is a four-year research project funded by the FP 7 Programme of the European Commission. Its aim is to look for different ways to define justice and security approaches in intercultural settings through implementing restorative justice practices. The project is organising its final conference on 16, 17 and 18 November 2015 in Leuven, Belgium. The conference will bring together scholars, researchers, policy makers and practitioners working in the fields of justice, security, intercultural communication, conflict resolution and community building.
The ALTERNATIVE project challenges discourses of (in)security, which claim that ‘cultural difference’ leads to inevitable social breakdown. In periods of increasing social tensions and perceptions of insecurity, culture often becomes a refracting lens through which conflict perceptions are formed. These (in)security discourses, imbued with moral credibility and political authority, then produce exclusionary and shielding mechanisms for social groups to coexist, mechanisms which often have led to jeopardising both perceptions of justice and active citizenship, in exchange for ‘security’. ALTERNATIVE looks for different and more constructive ways of dealing with these (in)security issues.
The conference is organised by the KU Leuven Institute of Criminology (Belgium) together with the European Forum for Restorative Justice and in collaboration with the project partners Norwegian Social Research Institute, Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (Austria), Foresee Research Group (Hungary), Victimology Society of Serbia and the University of Ulster (United Kingdom).
Main themes of the conference:
- Discourses and strategies of tackling social conflicts in intercultural settings, including securitisation and desecuritisation strategies, initiatives of social justice, conflict resolution, community building and crime prevention.
- The relationships and alliances between state, community, civil society and citizens in the handling of conflicts, and the resources mobilised in that regard, including active participation and empowerment strategies.
- The potential and ambivalence of active participation of citizens and civil society organisations (NGOs) in the handling of conflicts in intercultural contexts, in order to promote security and diminish feelings of insecurity.
- The potential of security solutions which go beyond the limited understanding of security as confining and restricting people’s movement, towards inclusive societies aiming at opening up dialogue between different communities.
- The alignment of restorative approaches with other intervention methods such as community development, social work services, education, etc. in order to strengthen the capacities and possibilities of the various approaches.
- The perception of justice and justice needs through participatory approaches.
- The role of action research in generating knowledge on crime and conflict, justice and security, and dialogical processes in intercultural environments.
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