Article published in:Dialogue in institutional settings
Edited by Franca Orletti and Letizia Caronia
[Language and Dialogue 9:1] 2019
► pp. 84–105
Dialogical power negotiations in conflict mediation
In this study, mediator – party power dynamics in workplace disputes mediation dialogues are examined. Adopting Gramsci’s concept of hegemony (e.g. 2005) and Foucault′s notion that power is not fixed in dialogues, but constantly negotiated by participants (e.g. Foucault 1980), the analyses show that the power dynamics shift in the mediation setting when mediators subordinate dominant parties and enforce their own formalized power as procedural guides to design (Aakhus 2003, 2007) a favorable context for conflict resolution. When their procedural power is threatened, mediators may use specific devices in their interventions that correlate with the four devices – interruption, enforcing explicitness, topic control, and formulation – Fairclough (1989, 135–137) states can be used by dominant participants to control weaker parties in dialogues.
Keywords: conflict mediation, power asymmetry, power negotiation, context design, workplace disputes, four devices
Published online: 05 July 2019
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