The IIRP Presidential Paper Series will highlight some of the leading thinkers and new voices in the field of restorative practices, the science of relationships and community. Papers will explore innovative theory and applications in fields such as education, community health, social justice and organizational leadership.

In this series, the IIRP looks forward to pushing the boundaries of this new social science. The series will point to new directions for civil society advocates around the world.

A science of human dignity: Belonging, voice and agency as universal human needs

IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D.

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Abstract: The desire to be treated with dignity is common to all human relationships. This desire manifests as the need to belong, to have voice, and to exercise agency in one’s own affairs. In its concern for these three areas of human need, restorative practices scholarship is beginning to provide a frame for the concept of human dignity that is communicable across cultures and disciplines via the language of the social sciences and testable through experimentation and research.