The Curious Case of Transformative Dispute Resolution: An Unfortunate Marriage of Intransigence, Exclusivity, and Hype
Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, v. 14, no. 3, 2013, p. 621-
63 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2012 Last revised: 12 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2012
Why do proponents of Transformative Dispute Resolution (TDR) defend the Theory in such intransigent, exclusivist, and grandiose terms? TDR is a mature theory, and a relatively sophisticated one, and qualities of this sort usually go hand in hand with a balanced, refined, and well-modulated sense of self. But TDR proponents will have none of that. They make ambitious (some would say outlandish) assertions about the Theory’s capacity to develop moral and political character, reform deliberative government, and resolve ethno-political conflict, while simultaneously rejecting overtures from sympathetic outsiders to rein in the overstated aspects of these claims and craft a more plausible view. While not the most popular theory in American dispute resolution scholarship, TDR is the most self-assured, the most insular, and the most overblown, and this combination of qualities, coupled with the Theory’s seeming ability to thrive in the face of withering criticism, makes it a interesting curiosity well worth re-visiting.
Keywords: ADR, transformative dispute resolution, mediation, deliberative government, moral development, ethno-political conflict
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