Conflict Narratives: Mediation Case Studies in an Intercultural Context

MediationConflict Narratives: Mediation Case Studies in an
Intercultural Context

Susan Kay Riva-Mossman
geboren op 5 juli 1963 te Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Abstract

The Narrative Model in mediation provides a theore
tical framework that can be used to better
understand the relevance of intercultural case st
udies in mediation that took place in Valais,
Switzerland between 2001 and 2008. This process-oriented model distinguishes itself from
more classical problem-solving
models in mediation. The de
scriptions presented in the
conflict narratives analyze and reflect upon the pe
rformative, relational, and dialogical nature
of the transformative processes inherent in the narrative mediation model.
The narrative approach to mediation was deve
loped using Arthur Kleinman’s Explanatory

Model to gather the “conflict narratives” from the political asylum seekers that participated in
mediation at the Canton’s mediation service. Other intercultural mediations are presented
using the lens of anthropology to deconstruct th
e case studies. Social Constructionist theory
then provides a theoretical framework to reconstruct or “restory” the conflict narratives. The
different methodologies were phases in a grounded
theory approach allowing for new theories
to emerge in a field of mediation where no prior research in this specific area existed.

The Narrative Model in Mediation, based on social
constructionist theory, demonstrates that
mediation and mediators are not neutral. So therefore, the practice of mediation in this
political context is itself a social action. Th
e evidence presented through the descriptions in
the case studies, participatory observation, a
nd interviews may suggest that the mediation
process socially constructed an interdisciplinar
y approach to conflict resolution within the
organization, the institutions that participated
in the mediation process, and the social and
health network in the Valais.

Conflict Narratives: Mediation Case Stud ies in an Intercultural Context 

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