Cultural perspectives in mediation

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Avruch, K. (2003). Type 1 and Type 2 Errors in Culturally Sensitive Conflict Resolution Practice. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 20(3), 351-371.

The article begins by defining the term culture and the historical meanings that have derived from it. Culture is then defined as a multiple meaning word that may be used in context or as a form of communication among disputants. Mediators must then understand if the culture of the disputant is experienced near (en) or experienced distant (ed). The authors then continue to go deeper into the context of culture and how today's society is more culturally sensitive then before. He then speaks about Type 1 and Type 2 Errors. This was the strength of the article! It discussed how a mediator maybe too culturally sensitive or not cultural sensitive enough. The article breaks down scenarios and examples of consequences that may acquire from each. At the end it resumes by setting cultures definition and the importance's of acknowledging the persons culture in mediation to its appropriate level. It concludes with a list of thought to think about when dealing with interracial mediation. I personally think the article was intended for mediators who work in multicultural communities. The article is a strong tool to discuss about culture and the importance of understanding the dynamics of the participants in mediation. Mediators need to be able to diagnose if culture difference will change the flow of mediation. The article discusses how the mediator can identify differences in aggressiveness, eye contact and face-saving. This part of the article reminded me of how mediation in Hawaii focuses on the culture component of dealing with face to face. Before mediation occurs between the disputants, one to one time is allocated with each disputant to allow face time and allow the voice of each person to be heard.

Bluehouse, P., & Zion, J. W. (1993). Hozhooji Naa'aanii: The Navajo Justice and Harmony Ceremony. Mediation Quarterly, 10(4), 327-337.

Mediation ideologies vary in different cultures. The Navajo people are a prime example on how their culture, language and traditions have influenced their way of managing conflicts. Their views on life have molded their outlook when dealing conflict resolution. Philmer Bluehouse and James W. Zion explain how the Navajo people have a deeper meaning to mediation by using strong community leaders to refocus the members to their state of reaching harmony within themselves. Through the Peacemaker court, the Navajo enforce two main laws. The K'e and the K'ei both laws incorporate life skills such as cooperation, friendship and unselfishness. Parelllel to the medaiton conduted by a peacemake, Gambia has the harmony mediation. The purose is to maitain harmony with each disoutant and come at peace with other members in the community. Unlike American mediation where a third member is facilitating the communication, the peacemaker is completely involved in the process and gives advice and possible solutions to help resolve the conflict and maintain the relationship between the individuals when possible. The individuals respect the peacemaker and absorb all advice given because it is a cultural norm and the person assigned, as peacemaker is an elder highly appreciated. The article puts into perspective the cultural lens applied to what the needs of the community are and its members. In the Navajo clan, maintaining relationships is important and valued. Therefore in mediation, the process becomes a medicine and is guided through a ceremonial process intended to diagnose the problem. Mediation is used to resolve conflict resolution and how the process is obtained varies in various cultural communities. The strength of this article is how the authors mapped the cultural values of the Navajo people and how mediation differs from western ways. The article was intended for mediators to help view cultural differences in mediation, This article parallels with An Indigenous Imperative article because both articles deal with an indigenous groups and how society has not embraced their cultural differences. The result leads many indigenous groups like the Australian Aboriginal communities and the Navajo tribe to feel disconnected forms society norms and the structure of mediation. For that sole purpose having knowledge of cultural sensitivity as mediator will help dismantle power imbalances and allow for the voice of the individual to occur.

Brigg, M. (2003). Mediation, Power, and Cultural Difference. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 20(3), 287-306.

The article discusses the importance of responding to ethical cultural differences in mediation. The article begins by discusses Western society mediation norms and how many cultures conflicts are a norm that may lead to empowerment and personal transformation. Mediator's role is to make sure power is distributed. Dealing with interracial conflicts the mediator must be willing to be open to contradictions. Disputants come from various cultures and the mediator must be ready for any different attitude away from the western norm. The article concludes by stating various pointers for mediators to consider while dealing with cultural differences in mediation. The articles strength is it gave a general synopsis of how mediation is a Western power idealogy used which excludes cultural differences. Although there is no particular form in mediation to follow, the article suggests a variety of strategies that mediators can use to facilitate cultural differences in mediation. This article reminds me of another article I read about the Aboriginal people in Australia. The articles relates because the authors are aware of cultural differences that are present within the community and how mediation is not an easy process form the indigenous cultural lens to follow because conflict is a cultural norm. Mediation therefore becomes a structural procedure that establishes power and structures the disputants to seek a solution without conflict. The article is very enlightening because it allows for a variety of cultural lenses to take part in mediation as a tool not as a mandatory process.

Grose, P. R. (1995). An Indigenous Imperative: The Rationale for the Recognition of Aboriginal Dispute Resolution Mechanism. Mediation Quarterly, 12(4), 327-338

The article focuses on the variety of conflicts faced by the Australian aboriginal community. The community is seeking strategies that can help establish mediation strategies to decrease the number of indigenous members incarcerated. Successful mediation does currently exist to meet the needs of the community. The communities, traditions, beliefs and cultural values differ from mainstream society. Therefore, the current mediation method is not an effect strategy for the Aboriginal community. The chief has made specific recommendation to the community to be empowered and reach self-determination. The author begins to state that in order for change to occur, Australian society must also go through a transformative process of changing their egocentric views and acknowledge the reality that has been shaped to the indigenous community of Australia. The article continues to describe the culture of the aboriginal people and the consistence alcoholism and violence that has continued to plow over their community. The Aboriginal is community not conflict free and the norms of their culture establish handling differences with violence. The Aboriginal people also view time as a circler process in the understanding of consensus. Unlike Western mediation where time is of the essence. The Elders are key components when dealing with the disputes. This statement reminded me of the article on the Navajo tribe and mediation because elders play a crucial role in the mediation process and are part of helping establish peace within the disputant. The elders may provide advice and they are very highly respected. The articles strength is it mentions the importance of empowerment in the community to help establish a variety of mechanism for conflict resolution. Mediation in mainstream Australia is not the solution. The community must rise and dialogue on possible strategies that can help reach common ground for harmony in the community. Empowerment becomes a strong tool to reestablish norms and peace in the community.

Ogawa, N. (1999). The Concept of Face work: Its Functions in the Hawaii Model Of Mediation. Mediation Quarterly, 17(1), 5-20.

The importance of mediation is to direct communication. In Hawaii the majority of its people consist of Asian descent. The "face" concept discussed in this article as a form of self-respect and can effect the process of mediation. In Hawaii, mediation occurs very procedural. The mediators first lay the rules for mediation, and then the mediators consult with each disputant separately twice. Once voices are heard and mediators understand the situations of both disputants mediation occurs as with both disputants. This process has been successful in Hawaii in dealing with cultural differences. According to the authors, face also exists as culturally acquired social phenomena. Facial expression can originate from nature or form nurture. The Asian community has a variety of perspectives of face and how it is define is very similar within cultures. The author then recognizes Ting-Toomey face work theory and the study he conducted with Asian cultures and American culture. The findings conclude the U.S dominant in conflict management style. The article strengths are it provides Hawaii's model of mediation and how mediation has been structured to meet the needs of the community. Mediation in Hawaii has established the face concept as a process in mediation that must be established. The mediator's role is to assist and not lead the discussion. Face work is important to recognize because it may lead into communication dialogue. The dialogue is intended to create awareness of cultural differences and value mediation in a different way. The articles audience is intended for future goals of mediation to lean more to a cross-cultural mediation setting.