Session: Narrative Analyses of Justice Processes (Society for Social Work and Research 28th Annual Conference - Recentering & Democratizing Knowledge: The Next 30 Years of Social Work Science)

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86 Narrative Analyses of Justice Processes

Friday, January 12, 2024: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR C, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Symposium Organizer:
Danielle Littman, A.M., LCSW, University of Utah
Shannon Sliva, PhD, University of Denver
Background and Purpose

While the U.S. justice system is a topic of much debate, media coverage, and empirical exploration, little research centers the experiences of those with direct and active justice system involvement in sharing their own stories, on their terms. To recenter and democratize knowledge in social work scholarship, we need to employ and elevate research methods which center the voices and perspectives of those with justice system involvement. Narrative analytic methods are a set of qualitative methodological approaches which are concerned with not only with the content of phenomena and participant perspectives, but the how. Recognizing that how individuals and groups tell stories is vital in understanding their self-concept, conceptualizations of relationships, and connections to society more broadly, this symposium focuses on research which employs narrative analysis methods across several justice system contexts (e.g., parole, Victim Offender dialogues, mindfulness groups in a women's prison).

Symposium Overview

In this symposium, four presenters will share studies which employed narrative analysis methods to explore various justice processes, including restorative justice dialogues to build relationships between those who harm and are harmed; people on parole; and those engaged in mindfulness interventions within correctional contexts. The first study explores how one dyad in a victim offender dialogue (VOD) process narrate their transformation through their dialogic journey, with implications for conceptualizations of forgiveness in restorative justice processes. The second study employs narrative analytic methods to explore the ways parole practice served to enhance or disrupt the development of credible desistance narratives among recently paroled men. The third study uses narrative analysis of three rich, and detailed cases of people seeking parole under one of three major California resentencing policies for juvenile lifers. The final study explores the effects of engaged mindfulness on the individual wellbeing and interpersonal relationships among women residents in community correctional settings. Together, these papers offer insight into several applications of narrative methodologies as avenues giving voice to those impacted by justice systems and processes.

Facilitated Discussion

A discussant, who is an expert on restorative justice processes and qualitative methods, will facilitate discussion between presenters, and then open questions to the audience. Potential areas of discussion include the values and limitations of narrative analysis methods to explore justice processes, potential directions for future research, both by presenter, and through collectively charting an agenda for future work at the intersection of narrative analysis methodology and the justice system and processes.

* noted as presenting author
How Do Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) Participants Transform through the VOD Process? a Narrative Analysis of One VOD Dyad
Danielle Littman, A.M., LCSW, University of Utah; Miriam Valdovinos, PhD, University of Denver; Shannon Sliva, PhD, University of Denver
Impacts of an Engaged Mindfulness on Women Residents in a Community Correctional Facility: A Focus Group Narrative Analysis
My Ngoc To, MSW, University of Denver; Shannon Sliva, PhD, University of Denver; Miriam Valdovinos, PhD, University of Denver
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