Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict
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Practicing Narrative Mediation provides mediation practitioners with practical narrative approaches that can be applied to a wide variety of conflict resolution situations. Written by John Winslade and Gerald Monk—leaders in the narrative therapy movement—the book contains suggestions and illustrative examples for applying the proven narrative technique when working with restorative conferencing and mediation in organizations, schools, health care, divorce cases, employer and employee problems, and civil and international conflicts. Practicing Narrative Mediation also explores the most recent research available on discursive positioning and exposes the influence of the moment-to-moment factors that are playing out in conflict situations. The authors include new concepts derived from narrative family work such as "absent but implicit," "double listening," and "outsider-witness practices."
4:27:41 PM 26 Practicing Narrative Mediation literature on these subjects. Lisa has perhaps come from an older discourse tradition of constructing people with disabilities within a discourse of charity and protection. Neither of the disputants made up the terms of these discursive debates on her own. But they are both seeking to establish positions in their relationship on the basis of these discourses. Each also experiences being positioned by the other. It would hardly be sufficient to
made all kinds of threats” and who “would yell and become hysterical and scream at me.” The ground for these strong statements has been carefully prepared with the earlier, more neutral descriptions. But in the end, Alan does deploy the common gendered strategy of rendering a woman’s concerns illegitimate through referring to them as “hysterical.” In the process, Alan drops into the conversation the information about his own affair with another woman. This is constructed as the most natural thing
cultural narratives at work in the production of all human conflict. What is unique about the practice of narrative mediation is its prominent interest in the relation between the microcosm of individuals’ conflictual events and the macrocosm of discursive clashes. In the remaining chapters we turn to specific examples of the application of narrative mediation in large cultural systems that are fertile sites for this practice. c04.indd 128 7/10/08 4:30:10 PM Chapter Five Divorce Mediation
under the law, on damages and negligence, on breaches of contract, and on rules and procedures. Nancy Cameron (2003) identifies the kind of education lawyers receive as one that prepares them to fight and compete and that trains them in the “ethics of rights and justice” rather than the “ethics of care” (p. 47). Rarely is attention paid to the personal well-being of the attorney or the client. The emphasis is on the pragmatic characteristics of being a lawyer, such as attending to professional
cooperative. In divorce mediation these other agendas might include demonstrating concern for the spouse, identifying personal commitment to the children, avoiding confrontation or conflict, assuaging a sense of guilt, or seeking to establish the moral framework within which an agreement will be reached. If a mediator is to facilitate the parties in reaching agreement, it is important to encourage the parties to be as open as possible about their interests, goals, values, and objectives. One