Publication Date

5-2010

Degree Name

MA in Conflict Management

First Advisor

Paula Green

Abstract

Community-based mediation is a growing and changing field. This research examines mediators’ perceptions of their identities, and their understanding the disputes in their communities. We learn obstacles to creating safe, neutral, and confidential resolutions. We also examine ways society can create peaceful alternatives to anger and aggression through community-based mediation. The research question is: what problems are mediators encountering and what changes can become potential solutions? The methodology was one-on-one interviews with forty-three community-based mediators in San Francisco. This research establishes a portrait of mediators’ education and motivations. One issue we explore is: are the backgrounds of mediators as diverse as the people for whom they assist? This research leads to a number of recommendations. Communities need to expand mediation into our businesses, legal professions, and schools. Mediators need to be paid more money, so the field can attract the most qualified people. Lawyers and judges can learn from mediation techniques; we all need to increase calm and decrease the escalation of conflicts. Our schools need to teach children, adolescents, and young adults how they can solve arguments in a peaceful manner. Further, our communities should extend mediation to love and marriage relationships, for these conflicts can reverberate into families, schools, and the workplace. American society must define what a mediator is. That is, we need a licensing procedure similar to that in law or other professions. Then our communities can show how mediation benefits rich and poor, those in the court system and those outside it. One measure is to reduce the commercialization of mediation, for it possibly alters an amicable resolution. All of these actions are practical solutions for mediators, the public, and the courts.

Disciplines

Peace and Conflict Studies

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