What Private Mediators Can Learn from the Peace-Builders
Kenneth H. Fox
Hamline University - School of Law
Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution Vol. 7, p. 237-252, 2006
The emergence of modern American dispute resolution is often traced to the 1960s. In the context of American courts, the movement was propelled significantly forward as a results of the “Pound Conference” of 1976, at which over 200 judges, scholars and leaders in the legal community gathered to examine concerns about the efficiency and fairness of the nation’s court systems and their administration. One consequence of this movement was wider recognition of the use of mediation in legal and other settings. In the succeeding thirty years, the American dispute resolution field has grown, matured and become an increasingly important resource through which to address conflict, with mediation emerging as one of its core processes.
Notwithstanding the explosion of mediation over the past four decades, it is not new. Rather, it is a form of conflict intervention with ancient and global roots. Moreover, the modern dispute resolution field is actually part of the broader peace and conflict studies field that dates at least as far back as the dawn of the twentieth century. Where the dispute resolution field had developed largely in the context of individual disputes, the broader peace and conflict studies field has focused primarily on large-scale social, often violent, conflict. As these two arenas of practice and scholarship have evolved, they have sometimes followed different intellectual and ideological paths. As a result, a variety of related – and yet distinct – conceptions of conflict and constructive conflict response have emerged.
The different paths taken by scholars in the dispute resolution and the peace and conflict fields have also influenced the development of mediation in each arena. While this can lead to confusion, the breadth of perspectives on what mediation can mean also provides an important opportunity to learn from across fields of practice, enriching our understanding of this important process.
The purpose of this article is to examine “mediation” and facilitated intervention from the perspective of the peace and conflict studied field. My hope is to provide deeper thinking and broader consideration of how we, as professionals, can be more informed and intentional interveners in the service of constructive conflict response.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Dispute resolution, arbitration, ADR, Pound Conference, dispute, conflict, conciliation, mediation, peace, intervene, negotiation
JEL Classification: K00, K4, K33, I2, J52, D74
Date posted: July 10, 2013