Difference between civil rights and other mediation


Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What would you say that civil rights mediation is about?

Answer:
I guess for me, coming in as a minister, I always thought it was a moral issue.

Question:
A moral issue?

Answer:
There are just some fundamental things that are right. The trick is to find solutions within the mediation process that helps make it correct. I don't know how you'd introduce that into the equation unless somebody brings that to the situation. Nowadays people do enter into the field with a much better understanding and there's a lot more discussion going on about the role of mediation. I think this is what has been talked about over the last few years. This whole thing about transformative mediation within civil rights puts things in a very different light. Civil rights mediation is always within a world of politics, and it's a rare, rare situation where you would have transformation. I think you make changes, shifts in power. I don't know that I understand transformative mediation. When I left CRS I did some interpersonal mediation.

Question:
Do you mean relationship type mediation?

Answer:
Yeah, right. In those situations it would be clearer what the transformation would be, but I think when you move into something with civil rights where you talk about groups of people, politics, and communities, I think in those situations there has been a shift in power or decisions. At the best you've probably helped some group of people, maybe you appreciate a little more the views of others, but I don't think transformation has happened.

Question:
Maybe you're thinking of transformative in a much larger way?

Answer:
Some of the debate, which I think is healthy about understanding the role of mediation, I think is on one hand, numbers mark your success, then you can get into just racking up the numbers. That would reflect upon what's really happening in this situation and I think that kind of debate does help you think about what you're doing. Maybe transformative mediation has a lot of pieces to it.







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