Dispute Systems Design, Neoliberalism, and the Problem of Scale

31 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009

See all articles by Amy J. Cohen

Amy J. Cohen

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: August 13, 2009

Abstract

This essay critically explores the idea that techniques based on individual dispute resolution paradigms can provide a compelling vision for the resolution of larger-scale conflict. To that end, it examines the methods of dispute systems design (DSD) and some of the background social and political conditions that influenced DSD’s emergence. In the 1970s, ADR was created to resolve individual disputes by means other than the predominant application of state law. Today, dispute systems designers are applying ADR’s methods to collective, rather than individual, conflict in contexts marked by market models of state power. Drawing on an analytic of scale, this essay illustrates how DSD’s methods may replicate neoliberal conceptions of social organization by eliding differences between collective and individual interests and ends. It sketches ideas for a scale-sensitive approach to systems design that considers how questions of power and distribution are reconfigured by a shift from ADR to DSD.

Keywords: alternative dispute resolution, dispute systems design, scale, neoliberalism, Hayek

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Amy J., Dispute Systems Design, Neoliberalism, and the Problem of Scale (August 13, 2009). Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. 14, 2009; Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 116. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1448806

Amy J. Cohen (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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