Monday, April 18, 2011

3 Domains of Power

"As a bottom line, mediators must recognize that mediation is not always the most appropriate conflict resolution strategy. In solutions of power imbalance, injustice and abuse, other strategies should be pursued, particularly when the situation has long-term ramifications for many people who are not likely to be represented in face to face mediation."

"Three Domains of Power...
Transactional: Everyday behaviors that occur between and among us – choice of words, body posture, eye contact, and so on - - communicate and negotiate power. ...while others negotiate power by casting a doubt on another's person's credibility.

Contractual: Set of agreements, tactic or explicit, create environments in which power is distributed in particular ways. ...assumed that his highest value... was universal accepted...

Structural: Both face-to-face transactions and groups situations exist in the context of greater social structures, which define an underlying set of power relations...That is a structural fact of life in modern-day America which is the context for any dialog or negotiation between the two groups. Matters of money, political access, educational and technological resources, group status based on culture, age, gender (i would add identity here), physical ability, ethnicity, and so on, influence every interpersonal transaction, more or less decisively depending on its content and context, and on the degree of inequality of the participants. Very often, structural components of power dynamics seem indirect and are therefore not visible to those living them."

-Mennonite Conciliation Service, Conflict and Transformation

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