Catherine Morris, editor
Use Google™ to search Peacemakers Trust:
- Appleby, R. Scott. The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Brock, Peter. Varieties of Pacifism: A Survey from Antiquity to the Outset of the Twentieth Century. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Driver, John. How Christians Made Peace with War: Early Christian Understandings of War. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Furlong, Gary T. The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing Diagnosing and Resolving Conflict. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Girard, René. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Goss, J.H., and D.C. Elliot. Grievance Mediation: Why and How it Works. (review by Catherine Morris).
- Hanna, Frank. Conflict Resolution and Mediation in the Real World (review by Catherine Morris).
- Katsh, Ethan, and Janet Rifkin. Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace. (review by Colm Brannigan)
- Kolb, Deborah M. & Associates. When Talk Works: Profiles of Mediators. (review by Colm Brannigan)
- LeBaron, Michelle. Bridging Cultural Conflicts: A New Approach For A Changing World. (review by Catherine Morris)
- LeBaron, Michelle. Bridging Troubled Waters: Conflict Resolution From the Heart. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Lederach, John Paul. The Journey Toward Reconciliation. (review by Aron Tegenfeld)
- Lovenheim, Peter. Becoming a Mediator: An Insider's Guide to Exploring Careers in Mediation (review by Colm Brannigan)
- Madonik, Barbara. I hear what you say, but what are you telling me?. (review by Colm Brannigan)
- Nelson, Robert M. Nelson on ADR. (review by Colm Brannigan.)
- Powell, Elinor D.U. The Heart of Conflict: A Spirituality of Transformation. (review by Gordon Sloan)
- Reardon, Kathleen Kelley. The Skilled Negotiator. (review by Colm Brannigan).
- Douglas Roche. The Human Right to Peace. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Rule, Colin. Online Dispute Resolution for Business. (review by Colm Brannigan).
- Ury, William L. Must We Fight? From the Battlefield to the Schoolyard - A New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its Prevention. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Victoria Law Foundation. Working It Out Through Mediation. Videorecording. (review by John Wade)
- Wink, Walter. Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament. (review by Catherine Morris)
- Zutter, Deborah Lynn. Preparing for Mediation: A Dispute Resolution Guide. (review by Elana Fleischmann)
Appleby, R. Scott. The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. ISBN 0-8476-8555-1. 429 pages.
Review by Catherine Morris
Religion is frequently despised these days as a source of political extremism and deadly conflict. History certainly provides plenty of examples of religiously based terrorism and atrocities by adherents of many different religious traditions. Others deny that religion "causes" conflict, saying that true religion upholds human life, and that religious proponents of violence are not "true" exemplars of Christianity, Islam or other religions.
Scott Appleby takes neither of these polar positions. Instead, he points out the ambivalence of sacred texts and religious actors about violence and peace. Dr. Appleby also distinguishes between violent and nonviolent religious militance. Using case studies of violent religious extremism and nonviolent religious activism, he shows that both approaches are "religious" in nature. He suggests that violence is always a temptation for all religious activists because they all seek justice (as they understand it) often in the face of violence by their opponents which may include the state.
Scott Appleby, a historian of Catholicism and a leading scholar of "fundamentalism" is one of a number of scholars now considering the role and potential of religion for peacebuilding. This book is in two parts. Part One attempts to "come to terms" with the themes of violence and peace within several religions. Part Two discusses the "logic" of religious peacebuilding.
Chapters one and two show how religious actors use scripture and religious tradition to legitimate political violence, or even to justify it as a sacred duty. Appleby also discusses the connections between religion and ethnonationalism in which violence is legitimated as a necessary strategy for liberation. He uses illustrations from the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Appleby's most striking conclusion is that is it not religion but "religious illiteracy" that increases the likelihood of collective violence in a crisis situation. That is, if people are poorly educated in basic theological knowledge of their religion, they can easily be manipulated into militarist fervour by ideologically driven charismatic religious political leaders who evoke potent religious symbolism toward nationalistic goals.
Chapters three and four discuss the far less studied side of religion - religious peacemaking and nonviolent religious militance. Appleby draws case studies about Buddhist peacemaking in Cambodia as well as the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, the Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio, and the World Conference on Religion and Peace. In Chapter five, he discusses reconciliation and the "politics of forgiveness" using examples from Northern Ireland and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Part two begins with a chapter that outlines a typology of religious conflict transformation. "Conflict management," he says, includes raising public awareness of causes of conflict while also seeking ways to avoid violence in the inevitable confrontations that occur with mobilization toward social justice. The work of Buddhist activist Aung San Suu Kyi is noted. "Conflict resolution" includes efforts at education and dialogue to reduce ethno-religious hatred. The efforts in Northern Ireland are cited. Conflict resolution also includes good offices and mediation by religious actors. Appleby illustrates with examples of mediation by Muslim jurists, Mennonite mediators, Christian bishops, and local churches. "Post conflict peacebuilding" and "structural reform" comprise a third broad type of conflict transformation work in which religious actors are involved in a range of activities including social criticism, humanitarian relief or advocacy on behalf of the poor or oppressed.
Dr. Appleby also points to three "modes" of religious conflict transformation. Religious actors may be involved in "crisis mobilization" such as Gandhi's mobilization of nonviolent resistence of British rule, or the nonviolent revolutions in the Philippines and Poland. The "saturation mode" is illustrated by the peacework in Northern Ireland that has gone on continuously for decades at multiple levels of society to the point that conflict transformation activities have become broadly institutionalized. Appleby suggests that "conflict transformation in the saturation mode stands the best chance of evolving into actual religious peacebuilding." (237) The "saturation mode" is rare, so a third mode, the "interventionist mode" is seen as "the next best thing." The interventionist mode includes mediation by external and internal religious actors. This mode also includes teaching of local actors at several levels, including grass roots, middle and senior levels of the society in quest ion - the work and influence of John Paul Lederach is cited.
If I were told I must select a favourite chapter I might choose Chapter 7's now timely discussion of "The Promise of Internal Pluralism" in which Prof. Appleby discusses the internal debates about human rights, democracy, violence and peace within Islam and Christianity. This chapter offers many citations for further research, so it is a useful starting point for people wishing to go beyond simplistic or totalizing understandings to explore the diversity of opinion about peace and violence within these religions.
The final chapter returns to the theme of ambivalence. Rather than seeing religious ambivalence as wholly negative, Appleby see ambivalence toward violence as providing "an opening, an opportunity to cultivate tolerance and openness toward the other..."
This book is hopeful, but it is not naive, politically or spiritually. Appleby recognizes that religious peacebuilding has severe limitations in terms of will and current resources. Above all, this book reflects the perspectives of a learned scholar who has read and listened broadly, deeply and respectfully to many people with diverse religious and political perspectives. This book is recommended for acquisition by universities with international relations, international development, religious studies or conflict studies programs. Scott Appleby's book is a "must read" for anyone seriously engaged in peacework, whether religiously based or not. The book's rich detail, its case studies and close to a hundred pages of notes and bibliography make it very worthwhile to consider for personal bookshelves. This is a very good book. I will refer to it again and again.
Peter Brock. Varieties of Pacifism: A Survey from Antiquity to the Outset of the Twentieth Century. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1998. pbk. ISBN: 0-8156-8124-0. 112 pages.
Review by Catherine Morris
This small book paints a picture of pacifism from the earliest emergence of the idea of nonviolence in India two and a half thousand years ago to turn of the 20th century in Europe and North America. Even secular versions of pacifism have their roots in religious sources.
The book begins with a discussion the doctrine of nonviolence in Buddhist and Jaina religions traditions. Ahimsa, or "non-injury," had become central teachings in Jaina and Buddhist religions, which were both reformist offshoots of Hinduism. Yet in Buddhism and Jainism only the monastic orders had an obligation to observe the strict ethics of nonviolence which forbade the killing of all sentient beings no matter how small, including insects. Lay people were not obliged to observe nonviolence, and early Buddhist and Jaina religious leaders did not forbid all war or capital punishment. Rather, they urged political leaders to avoid wars of aggression. The Indian emperor Asoka, at the end of the 3rd centre BCE, was a devoted Buddhist but did not renounce warfare altogether and put down revolts violently. History records periods of militarization of Buddhist and Jaina religions.
Gandhi drew on the Indian past and the idea of ahimsa in his experiments with nonviolent resistance in South Africa in the early 1900s and in India in the 1930s and 1940s. Gandhi also drew his inspiration from the teachings of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, and the writings of the 19th century Christian evangelical and pacifist writer, Leo Tolstoy.
One or both of these two religious streams of thought have informed nearly all pacifist movements in history. This book has its primary focus on the variety of Christian pacifist movements from the life of the early church to the turn of the 20th century. The author explains that Jesus does not discuss war per se, and that the evidence for pacifism in Jesus' teaching is drawn from Jesus "total outlook on God and humankind." The main texts are those of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus urges nonretaliation against evil and love of enemies.
The available historical evidence is that the early Christians were noncombatants. Early church leaders were virtually unanimous that soldiering and killing in battle was wrong. It was only the year 313 that Christian anti-militarism ended. The Roman Emperor Constantine became converted to Christianity. This meant Christianity now took a privileged position. This was welcomed because of the security it brought against persecution, but dedicated pacifists mark this as "the fall of Christianity." Even so, the movement of the Christian church away from pacifism was fairly gradual.
Pacifism was reintroduced in the 12th century by small sects of Christians in southern France. From then on, the history of the church includes various small pacifist movements which rise, are often persecuted, and go through various periods of flourishing and decline. The bulk of Brock's book discusses these various historical movements including Anabaptist pacifist movements such as Mennonites in Europe and Quakers in Britain. Included is considerable detail on the various tensions within these movements concerning the meaning of pacifism and their varying positions concerning conscientious objection to military service, payment of military portions of taxes, involvement in state politics, and involvement social movements toward justice. This book records the remarkable variety of pacifists over time including controversies among Quakers and Mennonites.
Pacifist movements have often experienced difficult tensions between their dedication to nonviolence and their loyalty to the state. Sometimes, there have even been tensions between pacifists' dedication to peace and their commitment to justice. Brock discusses the personal struggles of Quakers and other pacifists during the American civil war who found themselves choosing between their pacifist convictions and the fight against slavery.
The author concludes the study at the time of 1914. He concludes (p. 90) that "for all the varieties of pacifism. . . its essence remained. . . the individual's renunciation of warfare. Pacifism would ... lose its inner drive without at least an implicit obligation to take a personal stand against war."
The book does not defend one or another version of pacifism. Readers will gain considerable insights into historical pacifism and its varieties in this remarkably short and readable book. It is recommended for acquisition by libraries and resource rooms and for the personal libraries of those with interest in pacificism.
Driver, John. How Christians Made Peace with War: Early Christian Understandings of War. Scottdale, PA and Kitchener, ON: Herald Press, 1988. 89pp.
Review by Catherine Morris
This concise volume summarizes early Christians' understandings of war. This readable and well referenced book is a "must read" for those interesting in evaluating Christian views about participation in war and violence. John Driver discusses New Testament teachings on nonviolence and the writings of early church leaders. He describes the shift towards permissibility of Christian involvement in war particularly during the time of Constantine's increasing tolerance for Christianity during the 4th century AD.
This book quotes liberally from biblical sources as well as the writings of early Christian writers such as Tertullian (AD c. 160-c.230), Origen (AD, c. 185-c.254) and Hippolytus (AD c. 170-c.236). He discusses the influence of Eusebius, a bishop from about 313, in the growing alliance between Constantine and the church. He summarizes how Augustine developed the theological implications of the "Constantinian shift."
Of particular interest is Driver's discussion of the connection between idolatry and military service in the first three centuries of the Roman Empire. Driver emphasise that idolatry involved not only overt expressions of idolatrous rituals and sacrifice to the emperor, but an idolatrous conflict of loyalties. Driver points to the example of Martin of Tours (AD c.316-197), who opposed all violence, emphasizing that the Christian's loyalty to the non-violent kingdom "in which Christ is Lord surpasses all other loyalties" (p. 59).
Furlong, Gary T. The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing Diagnosing and Resolving Conflict. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd, 2005. 256pp. Hardcover 49.99 CAN, $34.95 US
Review by Catherine Morris
This book is a "must-read" for people working in the field of conflict management or resolution. Academics may also want to check it out as a text book for some courses in conflict studies. In a dozen easy-to-read chapters, the book presents eight conceptual models for diagnosing and addressing interpersonal or workplace conflict. This review is written for persons familiar with literature in the field of conflict resolution.
The first chapter sets out the purpose of the book which is to help practitioners to understand and manage conflict. Most training for dispute resolution practitioners includes very little instruction on conflict analysis, so this text helps fill this gap. The second chapter presents a concise overview of the eight conceptual models to be discussed: Christopher Moore's "Circle of Conflict" and "Triangle of Satisfaction," Larry Prevost's "Boundary Model," William Ury et al's "Interests, Rights, and Power," Gary Furlong's "Dynamics of Trust" model, Bernard Mayer's "Dimensions of Conflict" model, TRACOM Group's "Social Style Model" and Furlong's "Moving Beyond the Conflict" model, based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of grief and William Bridges' work on life transitions. The third chapter provides a case example of a workplace conflict which is used in the successful chapters to illustrate how to apply each model in the "toolbox."
Eash of the chapters that follow sets out one of the models, first describing the model, then applying it to the case study as a diagnostic tool. Chapters also show how each tool can be used by a practitioner to develop strategic direction towards resolution or management of the conflict. Each model is assessed for its usefulness in diagnosis and strategic direction. Chapters include worksheets and additional case studies. This book is superbly designed and written, and is suitable for students at a variety of English language reading levels. I offer a few comments on selected chapters.
Furlong's discussion of Moore's "Circle of Conflict" expands and modifies Moore's original version. Readers are advised to read Moore's two-page version in The Mediation Process. While Furlong valuably expands on Moore's concise description, for teaching purposes, instructors may still be seeking an elaboration of some of the theoretical bases of Moore's Circle. For future editions, I might commend to Furlong Maire Dugan's "Nested Model"(1) used by John Paul Lederach, which helps users see the connections between dispute issues and their relational and structural contexts.
The presentation of "The Social Style Model" is valuable. Furlong points out that this model is based on the same foundations as the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). For those readers familiar with Myers and Briggs, it would be helpful to see more clearly the connections between the Social Style Model and the MBTI. Most practitioners are already familiar with the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, so I agree with Furlong's exclusion of Thomas-Kilmann from the models selected for this book. On the other hand, some readers, like myself, may wish to assess whether to use the Social Style approach instead of or in addition to Thomas and Kilmann's Five Style model, so a comparison of these tools' utility would be welcome.
I particularly appreciated the chapter on Furlong's own "Dynamics of Trust" model, which he says incorporates the work of Toronto mediator, Darryl Landau. This lucid and interesting chapter describes attribution theory and how it can be used to understand and address mistrust among disputants. Furlong indicates this work is based on his research; references to the research resources on attribution theory and trust would be welcomed by curious readers like myself.
One can hope this elegant book may become available in paperback and that further editions may become available. With currency fluctuation since the book was published, the Canadian price of $49.99 seems a bit hefty compared to the more reasonable US$34.95.
This text is a very valuable addition to the literature. It is accessible and enjoyable to read. Gary Furlong's book is intended to assist practitioners of dispute resolution or conflict management in their work with interpersonal or workplace disputes. Thus, the focus is largely on individuals in settings of low violence. For those working, studying or teaching in contexts involving more intense, larger-scale intergroup conflicts, I recommend supplementing this book with works that include John Paul Lederach's Building Peace(2), Simon Fisher et al's Working With Conflict,(3) and Johan Galtung's training manual, Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means (the Transcend Method).(4)
1. Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington DC: USIP, 1997, 56, citing the model created by Maire Dugan in "A Nested Theory of Conflict." Women in Leadership 1(1) (Summer 1996) 9-20.
2. Lederach, John Paul. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington DC: USIP, 1997.
3. Fisher, Simon, Jawed Ludin, and Steve Williams. Working With Conflict: Skills and Strategies for Action. New York: Zed Books, 2000.
4. Galtung, Johan. Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means (the Transcend Method). Romania: TRANSCEND, 2004, available online at https://www.transcend.org/pctrcluj2004/TRANSCEND_manual.pdf (pdf).
Girard, René. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. Translated by James G. Williams. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002.
Review by Catherine Morris
I finally read this book because I thought I should. I wasn't looking forward to it. I knew it had been translated from French. I was expecting turgid, academic prose. I was wrong. I couldn't put it down.
Girard's anthropological look at the Bible points out what many have said, that the scapegoating of Jesus seems similar to a number of myths about dying and rising gods. Girard acknowledges the similarities but says that the myths fail to interrogate unspoken assumptions that justify the "single victim mechanism" - scapegoating - as the way to get rid of social ills and affliction.
The story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is unique, Girard says, in that the Bible refuses to justify the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus. Instead, the Bible insists on Jesus' innocence and tells the truth about official complicity in the mimetic (imitative) violence of a crowd that suddenly turns on Jesus and insists that Pilate execute him as an official scapegoat. Even the disciples, notably Judas the betrayer and Peter the denier are caught up in the mimetic violence. But the bible places responsibility where it belongs, not on the innocent victim. Girard shows how the story of Jesus follows in the Bible's historic trajectory of preference for victims of injustice and exclusion. The biblical story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection reveals the truth that mimetic violence is Satanic in nature.
The translator, James G. Williams, provides an excellent, concise introduction and a number of useful footnotes which make it easier to understand Girard's terminology about mimetic violence, scandal and Satan. I was particularly interested in Williams' and Girard's interesting discussion about the nature of "Satan" which is a considerable departure from notions that permeate medieval art or popular culture. I will read more works by Girard.
Goss, J.H., and D.C. Elliot. Grievance Mediation: Why and How it Works. Aurora, ON: Canada Law Book, 1994.
Reviewed by Catherine Morris, in Interaction, 6(4)(1995): 13.
Why grievance mediation? "Because mediation works!" say the authors of this concise publication promoting the use of interest-based mediation for grievances in the workplace. The authors shows how mediation can be used voluntarily even under current labour relations legislation which typically prescribes a three-step grievance procedure terminated by arbitration.
Part I covers the drawbacks of the currently used arbitration process, including its legalist nature, costs, time, damaged relationships, and the creation of winners and losers. This is contrasted with the "promise of grievance mediation" including settlement rates of at least 80%, positive negotiating climate, low cost, speed, better results and improved relationships. The four stage approach to face-to-face mediation commonly taught in North America is outlined in a succinct chapter, followed by a neat synopsis of the negotiating principles made famous in Fisher and Ury's Getting to Yes (New York: Penguin, 1991).
Part II discusses practical aspects of dispute resolution as it relates to the broader legal system and discusses the history and nature of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) movement in Canada. Critiques of the traditional justice system are summarized. The growing number of dispute resolution options are defined and discussed in terms of the dispute resolution continuum which spans dispute prevention, negotiation, mediation, mini-trials, med-arb, arbitration and litigation. Successful ADR initiatives in the US, Australia and Canada are outlined.
Two chapters summarize the elements of good design for dispute resolution systems. Six principles are outlined as essential: focus on interests, provision of necessary skills, mechanisms to allow parties to negotiate at any stage of the dispute resolution continuum, a procedure for determining rights, arrangement of procedures from low to high costs sequence, and a collaborative design process. A chapter on implementation offers a step-by-step process for design, development of documents, scope of a program, selection of mediators and other matters. Appendices include draft forms including memorandum of understanding, agreement to mediate mediator appointment agreement, and the model grievance arbitration clause in the Alberta Labour Relations Code.
This compact, well-written volume is a useful starting place. Those considering implementation of grievance mediation procedures should consult the works cited in the book as well as other materials, including other sample mediation agreements from dispute resolution services in a variety of Canadian jurisdictions. Also useful would be legal advice from someone knowledgeable of both dispute resolution and labour relations law in the relevant jurisdiction.
Effectively footnoted, Grievance Mediation provides many Canadian examples with emphasis on the authors' home province, Alberta. A chapter of well-presented statistics from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, B.C. and the United States shows high settlement rates from grievance mediation. Quoted is arbitrator Ken Swan, Chair of Ontario's Arbitration Review Committee who states in a report to Ontario's Labour Minister that grievance mediation "has been, we think it is fair to say, wildly successful."
"Nothing need be excluded from mediation processes," the authors declare. They cite the broad range of successful use of mediation for everything from discharges, promotions and harassment to hours of work and vacations. The authors are "hard put to identify those grievances where no good at all would come of talking about the issues in an environment designed to ensure effective negotiations with a view to settlement." The authors enthusiastically promote mediation to achieve efficient systems, improved relationships and better outcomes.
Not everyone would necessarily agree. This text may draw fire from critics of mediation who point out the dangers of mediation in cases where there are substantial or systemic power imbalances, or where there are issues of harassment, abuse or discrimination. The book is silent on these issues.
Therefore, readers considering implementing labour relations mediation programs are advised to consult recent literature about mediation and abuse, as well as critiques of harassment mediation. Also relevant is literature on cultural issues applicable to dispute resolution schemes in multicultural communities. These topics have been addressed in several publications of the Network: Interaction for Dispute Resolution, the Fund for Dispute Resolution, the UVic Institute for Dispute Resolution, and others.
Frank Hanna. Conflict Resolution and Mediation in the Real World. Fountain Hills, AZ: Merge Consultants, 2003. ISBN 0-9744248. (216 pages)
Review by Catherine Morris
Frank Hanna's readable book is filled with anecdotes about his experiences during "the troubles" in Northern Ireland and his experience as a lawyer, a journalist and a mediator. He now lives and works in the United States. This book is designed to showcase the author as a highly experienced mediator and mediation trainer.
Mr. Hanna clearly outlines and explains three basic styles of mediation, evaluative, facilitative and transformative, pointing out the uses of each type. He does not take a position about which is best; he says he uses whatever style seems best for the parties. However, his book teaches a problem-solving, primarily facilitative, interest-based approach to mediation aimed at settlements. He also gives wise warnings about evaluative approaches: "[J]ust because it [the solution] seems obvious to you, it may not necessarily be sensible to them [the parties]."
The book contains useful charts and clear explanations as to how to structure and manage a process of mediation. There is a useful chapter on breaking impasses and a chapter on a favourite technique which he calls "verbal sleight of hand." There is a useful chapter on apologies including how to deal with demands for apologies and how to help parties with expression of regret. There is a short chapter on co-mediation.
The concluding chapter contains a number of sample mediation scenarios, asking the reader: "What would you do?" There is, however, no discussion of the scenarios in the book. These scenarios would be useful for class room discussion with an experienced mediator present. However, it is written for a popular audience of aspiring mediators or mediator trainees, and the book is not suitable for use in university classroom settings. There is no bibliography or index.
The merit of Mr. Hanna's book is its clear, practical explanations of some key principles and issues in mediation, written in an engaging style. Since this book is unlikely to find its way onto too many bookshelves, Mr. Hanna might wish to consider submitting summaries of some chapters to suitable mediator newsletters or online sources of articles, including his chapter on apologies, and his chapter on "verbal sleight of hand." This book will not go on my own shelf.
Ethan Katsh, and Janet Rifkin. Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2001. ()226 pages)
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
As "the first book on the fastest growing, phenomenon in the world of conflict resolution," this is both a timely and thought provoking work. In essence, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is about using advanced communication tools in a new medium for "the overall field of dispute resolution cannot avoid being affected by the new information technologies because communication is central to this process." Katsh and Rifkin are acknowledged experts in both ADR and technology and they also write very well.
ODR originated in online disputes for which traditional means of dispute resolution were not suited. However, it is really only with the advancement of the World Wide Web and powerful network based technologies that ODR's potential for both on and offline disputes began to be recognised. Based on an understanding that "dispute resolution, a process that typically occurred with parties meeting face to face, would be affected deeply as conflict occurred increasingly among people who could only communicate at a distance," the authors present an overview of the new processes available to us through the Internet.
There is a short overview of the history of ODR. Before 1995, e-mail was really only emerging as a common technology; from1995-1998, there was a "recognition period" of ODR as a distinct process, and from 1998 on, ODR has emerged as both process and an industry. Despite its great potential, it is interesting to note that one of the pioneer ODR providers, mentioned in the book, eResolution Inc of Montreal ceased operations in December 2001.
In the central and controversial "vision" of the book, the role of technology as a "fourth party" is developed. Before we all have visions of "HAL" from "2001," the "fourth party" is really a collection of resources and tools which will assist rather than replace the traditional third party neutral in almost all situations.
There are significant and thought provoking challenges to us all in this work. Two of the most significant being "not to use the Internet to duplicate the offline dispute resolution environment but to expand our thinking and look for ways that dispute resolution expertise can be of value online," and, that "it may be harder to practice neutrality through online communications because it may be harder to ascertain how the parties are interpreting your messages."
ODR will have to be part of every dispute resolution professional's "toolbox," and this book will have a prominent place in our "offline" libraries!
Colm Brannigan practises in Brampton, Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at mediate.ca.
Deborah M. Kolb & Associates. When Talk Works: Profiles of Mediators. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994.
Review by Colm Brannigan
This is a book which should be read by all interested in mediation, whether beginners or seasoned practitioners. Profiled mediators cover most areas of practice and a range of approaches, so the reader is treated to a constellation of opinions and professional approaches to the actual practice of mediation. By comparing theoretical overviews with experience, Kolb gives us a fascinating window as to how practitioners see themselves and their role in the process in light of the "myth of mediation."
Well written throughout, and containing many insights, the conclusion is the most interesting and informative part of her work for professional mediators. The stories, ideas and suggestions are quite relevant today. As Kolb states, "What we see in these profiles is a snapshot of a field caught in a mythology about mediation that is frequently at odds with the reality of the work."
According to Kolb, "The mythic world of mediation is one in which one practitioner of the art is pretty much like another in regard to motives and orientation to the role....mediators are impartial neutrals who have no authority and no wish to impose their views on the disputing parties....the process is entirely voluntary and noncoercive...the role of the mediator is demanding but ultimately uplifting and invigorating to all who can meet its stringent ethical, moral and psychological requirements."
Is the "mythic world" supported in practice? Kolb, as others, suggests "no" and that "myths" have become "more of a liability than an asset" Despite the tremendous amount of research and other literature on mediation, some aspects of the "myth" continue on today.
In the final section, Kolb moves to "Beyond Myth." Since there is disparity between practice and the myth, there must be reasons why the myth exists. One suggested is the myth may provide "a lowest common denominator" for a diverse profession. The reader is presented with a "practice" frame which opens up the differences between myth and reality and suggests that we should move away from the "endless" debates that have become less relevant to practitioners and redefine our view of what mediation is and is not. This is as applicable today as when it was written.
Colm Brannigan practises in Brampton, Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at mediate.ca.
Michelle LeBaron. Bridging Cultural Conflicts: A New Approach For A Changing World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003. ISBN 0-7879-6431-X (332 pages)
Review by Catherine Morris
Michelle LeBaron casts another spell on her readers with her second Bridging book (See Bridging Troubled Waters, Jossey-Bass, 2002.) She weaves together ideas about identity, boundaries between "us" and "other," and relationships in this readable book about how we may creatively develop our capacities to bridge cultural conflict.
A central thesis of LeBaron's book is that conflict is inherently relational. Conflict is also inherently cultural, since we all are part of various and sometimes overlapping groups with specific cultures. A second central thesis is that people can use a range of "ways of knowing" in order to address conflict creatively.
In the six chapters of Part One, LeBaron's book is filled with metaphors which she mixes in captivating ways that challenge readers to build their capacities for cultural and conflict fluency. In the three chapters of Part Two, LeBaron discusses personal, interpersonal and intergroup practices for engaging cultural conflict. She outlines several practices for engaging people's various ways of knowing, including intuition and imagination, emotional "intelligence," somatic or body-based ways of knowing, and "connected" or spiritual ways of knowing. These two Parts are illustrated with narrative examples and descriptions of many exercises that can be used by individuals or groups either in discussion or educational settings. For educators and interveners, the description of these exercises is one of the very useful aspects of this book. Part Three discusses the roles of third parties in cultural conflict.
Too often, LeBaron says, we see and respond only to the material and communicative dimensions of conflict. These have limitations, particularly in cultural conflict, she says. Conflict must also address a third dimension, the symbolic dimension, LeBaron suggests. She refers to the symbolic dimension as "the seedbed of resolution" because symbols reveal to us "what has meaning and how that meaning plays out in our lives."(pp. 116-117). An interesting graphic presentation of these three dimensions helps readers see how they are practically intertwined. Throughout the book, LeBaron draws readers away from an over-reliance on rational approaches, saying we must complement this dominant way of knowing with other ways of knowing through the processes of imagination, ritual and metaphor, and the building of shared images and rituals. These can be fostered in structured dialogues that focus on building relationships and "common futures." (p.238)
This book does not provide exhaustive literature review or elaborate the various intellectual and other traditions and theories from which she draws. The book may intended more as a challenge to reflection and a resource for instructors and practitioners who are already familiar with a good cross section of literature in field of conflict studies, particularly narrative approaches. If used as a course text for those relatively new to the field of conflict studies, it would need to be supplemented by other sources. This highly readable and useful book should be considered for acquisition by university and college libraries and resource rooms. I will keep it handy on my own bookshelf for reference to its many exercises, examples and elegantly quotable phrases.
LeBaron, Michelle. Bridging Troubled Waters: Conflict Resolution From the Heart. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002. 329 pages. ISBN 0-7879-4821-7
Reviewed by Catherine Morris
Professor Michelle LeBaron's book is no dry academic tome. It is none the less food for the mind. This captivating work caters not just to our rationality; it also stimulates the heart, piques the imagination and quickens the senses. The nine chapters of this book form a rich tapas bar of delights to the palate, liberally spiced with stories and examples useful for practice and teaching in the field of conflict resolution. Drawing themes and stories from eclectic and interdisciplinary bodies of knowledge, LeBaron weaves them into an elegantly patterned collage.
This beautifully constructed book is in four parts. First, an introductory chapter draws the theme of the book - diverse ways of knowing - into the bridging theme of relationships. All conflict, and all conflict resolution occurs within relationships, acknowledges LeBaron. She adds her voice to the many who are pointing out that too much reliance on formulaic rational problem-solving processes cannot successfully address all conflicts.
The second part of the book contains five chapters showing how parties and mediators come to know things through their emotions, bodies, and their intuition. Through these various ways of knowing, people create meanings and stories about their experiences. Parties in conflict create separate, conflictual meanings and stories about events. For LeBaron, a process for conflict resolution "becomes a container in which people's meanings - their values, deep beliefs, convictions, and passions - become important components of new, shared stories." (p. 141) Thus, LeBaron's work evokes a narrative approach to conflict and conflict resolution, but without the difficult jargon often associated with post-modernist writers. Students of conflict resolution will need to read beyond the works cited by LeBaron to flesh out their understandings about narrative approaches as well as the literature on ways of knowing (epistemology) including the growing body of literature about emotions, negotiation and conflict.
LeBaron does not just outline the various ways of knowing that lead us to interpret events in the ways we do; she urges us to explore their connectedness. "The heart, body, and imagination in dialogue with the head provide us reliable ways through conflict into resolution. Connected ways of knowing are the hub of the wheel, inviting us to centre our processes in what we and others care about as sources of inspiration and energy for the way forward" (p. 138).
LeBaron also shows how people connect their ways of knowing to give meaning to their experiences, including their conflict experiences. "... Conflicts that matter . . . always involve . . . meaning-making . . . ," says LeBaron (p. 139). "We are meaning-making creatures. With threads of information, we create stories. With hints and guesses, we create theories . . . In dialogue, we share the sense we have made . . . " (p. 140) And because we are connected "in multiple webs of relationship and meaning," connected ways of knowing "give us a wise range of tools for navigating these relationships, drawing on our capacity for making meaning." (p. 140)
Several such tools are discussed in Part Three. LeBaron's three chapters on symbolic, narrative and commemorative tools discuss the uses of metaphors, stories and rituals in the practice and teaching of conflict resolution. Part Four includes a concluding chapter and practice tips.
This book is not intended as an exhaustive literature review of the various conceptual frameworks and theories on which LeBaron draws. Nor should practitioners expect a "how to" manual. This work should be viewed more as an extended essay to inspire us to reflect on who we are as conflict resolvers and teachers of conflict resolution. But this book is also practical. It has many ideas about how we as third parties can connect and harness our own ways of knowing to bring our full selves to the service of parties and students wishing to understand and resolve their conflicts. Michelle LeBaron's enthralling book should be read carefully by conflict resolution practitioners and students. It should be considered for acquisition by libraries and resource rooms.
Lederach, John Paul. The Journey Toward Reconciliation. Scottdale, PA, and Waterloo, Ontario: Herald Press, 1999. 206 pages. ISBN 0-8361-9082-3
Review by Aron Tegenfeldt
This book, an account of the author's personal journey in the field of reconciliation, offers valuable insights and lessons from one of the world's leading theorists and practitioners in the field of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. John Paul Lederach speaks of his own spiritual growth as a practitioner in this field, using stories, both personal and biblical, to explain some of the difficulties that arise when working on issues of conflict and reconciliation.
In Part 1, the author introduces a number of personal stories from his over 20 years of experience in settings such as Nicaragua, Somalia, Northern Ireland, the Basque provinces, and the Philippines. The role that Lederach's faith has played and developed in his work is a primary focus of this book, and through his eyes we see certain tools, techniques, strengths, and insights that have developed through his spiritual commitment to his work.
Part 2 introduces a number of biblical stories that relate to conflict and reconciliation, developing what the author refers to as "a biblically based theology of conflict." The author writes from an Anabaptist perspective, with that faith tradition as the primary audience for this book. He specifically looks at dealing with conflict within their churches and how spiritual growth can actually be shaped and encouraged through conflicts that are inherent to such organizations.
In Part 3, Lederach speaks as a practitioner, presenting some of the challenges of working in reconciliation, in order to prepare and assist readers for working in this field. A number of examples from a broader look at Christian peacemaking is provided, and various steps and techniques for approaching conflict and reconciliation are offered.
This book successfully connects the reader to the important role that reconciliation can play in many of our world's conflicts. The author focuses on faith and its connection to reconciliation in his own life in a way that will provide detailed support and guidance for many within the Christian faith. While the author's intent is to use this book to "engage in dialogue across faith traditions," readers from other faith traditions and/or secular perspectives may find it more difficult to receive the same messages as those who share the same faith background as the author.
Aron Tegenfeldt is a Consulting Director of Peacemakers Trust.
Lovenheim, Peter. Becoming a Mediator: An Insider's Guide to Exploring Careers in Mediation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2002 ( 187 pages)
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
If you are considering becoming a mediator, or having second thoughts about your decision, this book is worth looking at carefully.
The author is a very experienced and successful mediator, and his communication skills are demonstrated by the clarity of his writing. Noting that "status and prestige are only rarely the mediator's reward," he believes that the motivation behind deciding to become a mediator, "can be found in a deeply felt need to be of service, to use one's skills to accomplish something of value, to connect with other people and to make a difference in their lives." In this view of mediation as a vocation, helping people to end conflict is "sacred work." Could this provide the attraction of mediation for many mid-career professionals considering leaving their professions of origin?
Beginning with a basic explanation that to mediate means "to go between" or "to be in the middle" there is overview of the mediation process, which, although adding nothing new to the literature, is well set out. The author does not avoid the lawyer vs. non-lawyer mediator debate in his work, and is quite frank in describing the possible advantages lawyers may have in some areas of mediation practice.
A concise overview of mediator training and the major obstacle to entry into mediation, which is the lack of internships and job opportunities, are also included. Unlike the lawyer vs. non lawyer controversy, the author does not really deal with the ethical issue of trainers providing expensive services where job and experience opportunities are virtually non-existent, except to note that most who take training do not become mediators, nor indeed do they want to do so.
There are several tables and charts throughout the book that nicely illustrate the points made. It is clear that there is no one path to follow in developing a successful mediation career, and, of the several available, it is of great importance to pick the one that is congruent with your personal values and dreams. This book should help you on that journey.
Colm Brannigan practises mediation in Brampton, Ontario and can be contacted at mediate.ca.
Madonik, Barbara. I hear what you say, but what are you telling me?. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. (287 pages.)
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
This work, subtitled, "the strategic use of non-verbal communication in mediation," is well worth looking at carefully. By formulating and implementing unique strategies to be used in mediation, it adds to the fast growing body of Canadian literature on ADR. The book is divided into two parts. Part One is an overview of terminology and concepts of communication in great detail. Part Two sets out a seven step process for mediation.
The process from the initial "Preparation" stage through to "Bringing Closure" fits nicely within generally accepted ADR models. It is here however, in her detailed approach to each stage, where the author shows the uniqueness of her work and how it both supplements and departs from existing paradigms. In particular, Step Seven, "Bringing Closure" is exceptionally well done.
Any thought provoking model and its nomenclature requires a great deal of study to develop proficiency with its distinct terminology and underlying concepts and this is no exception. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to use such a comprehensive approach in time restricted mediations such as those under the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program. Some practitioners may have difficulty in focussing on the specific processes in addition to the ever changing dynamics and the actual content of the mediation itself.
A minor criticism is that, as a Canadian reader, I found the use of the term attorney throughout somewhat jarring. Lawyer might have been a more culturally neutral choice.
This work is propaganda in the original and positive sense of the word as it attempts, quite successfully, to disseminate the doctrine of nonverbal communication * which has generally languished over the last twenty years or so. While footnotes have been characterised as "porcupine quills meant to protect an underdeveloped epistemology," and although a comprehensive bibliography is provided, the lack of footnotes in the text makes some of the sources of her fascinating theories difficult to verify or indeed follow up on. A simple example is the author's statement that as much as 80% of communication in an ADR process can be non-verbal. We would likely all agree that a significant part of communication is non-verbal but is it really this high a percentage?
Nevertheless, Ms. Madonik has nicely synthesized much of the theory and literature on linguistics*, added her own experience in the field, and come up with an end product which is quite different and imaginative. The whole is indeed more than the sum of the parts. Although not a requirement for a basic mediation library, experienced practitioners can certainly benefit from this work.
* Editor's note: A substantial focus of Ms. Madonik's book is on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). NLP remains highly controversial.
Nelson, Robert M. Nelson on ADR. Scarborough, ON : Thomson Canada Ltd., 2003. (330 pages.)
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
As proclaimed by its title, this is an ambitious book. It a daunting task to write a book that covers the full span of domestic and international ADR processes, which is what Mr. Nelson, set out to do. Did he achieve his goal? Well, yes for the most part! Considering the scope of the topic and the realities of a book of this size, some unevenness of treatment is to be expected. It is difficult to cram years of experience and research into only 14 chapters.
From the perspective of a book written for lawyers with an emphasis on practice, the author certainly provides a means for counsel to review the skills necessary to be more effective advocates for their clients in ADR processes, especially arbitration. However, it is not just a skills or "how to" book, as it provides an overview of the topics in some depth beyond the "basics."
Recognizing that ADR has become part of an overall business strategy for many clients, lawyers, as both advisors and advocates, need to be aware of various topics from negotiation theories to the practice and philosophy of mediation and the nuts and bolts of both domestic and international arbitration. Mr. Nelson covers these topics and more in sufficient detail, and in the case of arbitration, exceedingly well.
The chapter on Privilege and Confidentiality in ADR is also well done and especially useful in light of the controversy over the Rogacki v. Belz decision in the Ontario Court of Appeal. The sections on negotiation, dispute analysis and mediation do not quite meet the high standard of the coverage of arbitration. This is clearly Mr. Nelson's forte and he provides an easy to understand and well-written review of a very complex subject area.
It is clear from this book that ADR training helps lawyers in their role as advocates for their clients. Furthermore, the author makes it clear that mediation is not just a cheap and dirty way to do litigation, but another way for counsel to assist clients in achieving results. With an emphasis on preparation including mediation briefs, it clearly shows ways in which lawyers can improve their mediation advocacy.
The book would have been improved by the more judicious use of footnotes in its earlier chapters and the inclusion of a bibliography. Some additional editing to harmonize the various topic and author transitions would also be beneficial. It might also have made the book more readable if the appendix on "Worldwide Developments" had been part of the first or second chapters although placing it at the end does allow the reader to jump into the topic without delay, and look at the appendix later if he or she chooses.
Overall, this is a book for lawyers who want an overview of alternative dispute resolution processes without going into the depth of more traditional textbooks on ADR. It also provides ADR practitioners who are not lawyers, with a good overview of how ADR interfaces with the legal system.
Colm Brannigan practises arbitration and mediation in Brampton, Ontario and can be contacted at mediate.ca.
Powell, Elinor D.U. The Heart of Conflict: A Spirituality of Transformation. Kelowna, BC: Northstone Publishing, 2003.
Review by Gordon Sloan
Two neighbours conflict over a barking dog. A non-profit and the municipality square off about rental space. A government cracks down on local freedom fighters.
The conflict resolution field has failed to express the breadth and depth of spirit inherent in each of these conflicts. It glosses over the human and societal experience of conflict and misses its heart as well as the keys to its transformation and resolution. For Elinor Powell this is no small gap. In The Heart of Conflict she sets about to "seek the purpose and meaning that lie behind the ultimate aspirations of human endeavor" thereby shedding true light on the experience of being in conflict and addressing it.
Seeking purpose and meaning in ultimate things is a huge task and she acknowledges she can only scratch its surface. She proves herself right. But what a lesser writer might have treated as a gloss, Dr. Powell has lavished with detail and insight. This is the writing of a multi-cultured elder, the wisdom of experience, the plain fundamentals of spirit, the integration of years of intuition and practice; the heart of reconciliation. The title engages us in the double meaning of Dr. Powell's view of spirit and its relation to conflict and to mediation in particular.
Elinor Powell invites the mediator to approach life with intention. Her world assumes the efficacy of co-operation and collaboration. She is an ardent "constructive postmodernist" who has re-evaluated the world and is building on its more positive aspects with an eye to a sustainable globe. Her book is not for the faint of heart. Its realities are demanding and its spirituality, both on the individual psychological plane and societally, is relentless. Everyone is building spiritual connectedness, whether they have eyes to see or not. The challenge is to move beyond mere tolerance of each other to a genuinely curious appreciation of the uniqueness of the other.
If The Heart of Conflict is to be faulted, it is for trying to achieve far too much. Dr. Powell's treatment of religion (and religions) for example, journeys into comparisons that are necessarily perilous and fraught with generalization and which can only be anecdotal at best. The same is true of culture. One reads about religion and culture thirsting for a serious treatment in her next book! Meanwhile, the writing throughout is universally accessible, even if at times the thinking may not be.
This book weaves the spirit notions of honour, grace, face, truth, justice, forgiveness, apology, healing and reconciliation into the attitudinal orientation of the mediator. It assumes spirit, but also advocates for it ("Our spirituality is a biological potential built into the human species…").
Readers seeking a recast of the Bush and Folger notions of transformation will (fortunately) be disappointed. Dr. Powell has moved way beyond those tired formulae. Her notion of transformation is a transcendent and mystical spirituality (Matthew Fox is quoted lavishly) while maintaining a groundedness that can speak with equal articulation about terrorists, political subversion and non-violent direct action. Throughout my read of this book, I was possessed by the idea that this writer has been working in an uncompromising way with peace, justice and spirit for decades.
The book's section on "The Mediator in Action" is a gem as is Elinor Powell's "Meditation on a Quarrel" which comes almost as an afterthough before the footnotes. In a world where humankind is gradually realizing its inter-relationship, this book comes as an inspiring breath of fresh air.
Gordon Sloan mediates and teaches in a variety of settings across Canada. His background is in Religion and Law. Review reprinted courtesy of TOPIC, the newspaper of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.
Kathleen Kelley Reardon. The Skilled Negotiator. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004 (236 pages).
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
For those involved in negotiations, they are "as varied as roller coasters." (p. 1) By focusing on language, "the talk of negotiation," Kathleen Reardon shows us how to enjoy the ride! In defining the skilled negotiator, and then showing the reader how to achieve this level of skill using communications in the negotiating process, the author leads us on a journey through assumptions and questions towards this goal.
An important fact that is sometime overlooked in the current learning environment, where theories of "principled negotiations," dominate, is that the skilled negotiator is not committed to either "win-win" or "win-lose" approaches. While research suggests that a cooperative, "win-win" focus is "generally useful," it is important to know how much to concede to achieve that focus. (p. 9) We become a skilled negotiator by learning "the language of engagement." While not new, the author clearly sets its components, defines them and provides guides to their effective use in negotiation. Negotiation is really about understanding others; find common ground and the possibility of joint gains. Its vehicle is communication. This book sets out the essential steps in the application of this central thesis. Effective negotiation requires that we must "use words the other side will accept" with "persuasive evidence supporting your side, tempered with a true understanding and appreciation of the other negotiator's side." (p.38)
Chapter five deals with ethics in negotiation and departs from the usual list of "dos and don'ts," to sketch out an highly readable outline of current thought on the subject combined with suggested ways for the reader to assess their own ethics and establish ethical boundaries. Current research suggests that handling ethical dilemmas requires competency in self- awareness; knowledge of professional standards; analysis and decision- making skills, and in-the-moment performance. This chapter supports this approach to ethics, and in itself makes the book worthwhile reading.
An extremely interesting, and practical, work in a field where the published literature seems to be expanding at an exponential rate. The author is a widely recognized authority on persuasion and negotiation. This is a good work which negotiators, especially those who are new to the field, will find very useful.
Colm Brannigan practises mediation in Brampton, Ontario and can be contacted through mediate.ca.
Douglas Roche. The Human Right to Peace. Toronto: Novalis, 2003. ISBN 289507409-7 (269 pages)
Review by Catherine Morris
Douglas Roche is a Canadian Senator with a long-time concern for peace and justice. He served as chair of the UN Disarmament Committee from 1984 to 1989. This is his 16th book. Its hopeful title intrigued me: A human rights to peace? Really?
When I finally delved into the book I found I couldn't put it down. The book is in three parts. The first part is filled with persuasive, fact-filled arguments that expose the huge gap between the world's cheap talk of peace and its massive expenditures towards militarism. The book contains brief but informative outlines of the history of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also a good place to get basic information about international disarmament efforts including a brief history of international disarmament treaties and the UN bodies working on disarmament. The book provides details of the names of relevant UN bodies and treaties, with references to web-based information that are easy to follow up. This section of the book is fascinating, compelling and prophetic in its warnings.
The second part of the book focuses on building a "culture of peace" with emphasis on the work of the United Nations, particularly UNESCO. His discussion of the "human right to peace" is more persuasive than I imagined it could be, but Senator Roche would admit that the so-called "human right to peace" has a long way to go. He traces his argument for a human right to peace through the UN Charter (Preamble and Articles 1 and 55), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 28), and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). He points to the overall purpose of the UN for peace and to the linkages between the need for peace to implementation of the human rights articulated in these instruments. "Taken together," he says, "these documents provide a basis for the human right to peace." (p.123). In 1978, the UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace, whi ch uses language of "the inherent right to life in peace." The 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights provides that "[a]ll peoples shall have the right to national and international peace and security." The UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace in 1984, but it received only 92 votes with 34 abstentions. Efforts of UNESCO resulted in a 1997 Draft Declaration on the Human Right to Peace, but it remained a draft only, since countries from the North and South were divided. Southern countries accusing the North of protecting their arms industries. There are many critics. A right to peace is far from being internationally recognized.
Roche's chapter on the United Nations states there is "no better instrument" to bring about a culture of peace. He defends the UN from criticisms of ineffectiveness. Despite failures in Rwanda and Srebrenica in the 1990s, the UN can be credited with preventing bloodshed in many other places through negotiation and mediation, and with saving countless lives through health, water and sanitation programs. "More international law has been developed through the UN in the past five decades than in the entire previous history of humankind," Roche points out. (p. 146) Criticism of the UN is "a sort of sport played by biased and often uninformed commentators" (p. 154), he says. Rather, it is amazing that the UN can do so much with so little money. "The entire UN system costs $12 billion a year. This is 1/70th the amount of annual world military expenditures...." says Roche. "Those who claim the UN is a bloated 'talk shop' are either ignorant or mischievous. The budget for New York City' s Board of Education for 2001 was more than $12.4 billion..."
Part three of the book focuses on proposing a greater role for religions in building a global culture of peace. He discusses the work of international interreligious bodies such as the World Parliament of Religions and World Conference on Religion and Peace. His useful chapter on peace education discusses several international and global grass-roots efforts. His chapter on the role of civil society discusses the increased global clout of international non-government organizations (NGOs).
This book is intended to educate the public and inspire readers towards hope and action. It is a useful primer for those new to peace and nonviolence activism, with a useful emphasis on the UN system. Unlike many academic publications, this book is very accessible. And unlike many works authored in the sometimes intemperate language of peace activists, you can imagine giving this book to some Conservative friends and relatives. While by no means a scholarly work, it is an easy and compelling read with lots of web-based and other resources to follow up.
Rule, Colin. Online Dispute Resolution for Business. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002 (326 pages).
Reviewed by Colm Brannigan
At the time of its publication this was the second book on online dispute resolution. There are now several more either published, or awaiting publication. ODR is an emerging industry as well as process in the ADR field. With this work, Colin Rule, who is one of the pioneers of ODR, and also an excellent writer, has given us much to consider about dispute resolution in cyberspace.
The book is written for "managers, employees, union representatives, and others who are looking for a better way to handle conflict in their businesses and organizations." There is a concise overview of ODR and the author's personal experiences in the field, which add to the overall credibility of the book. Most of the journal and other writing to date has been about ODR in the context of Business-to-Consumer disputes. By focussing on business and organisational conflict, Rule has expanded the coverage of this fast growing area of practice.
ODR originated in online disputes for which traditional means of dispute resolution were not suited. While it is tempting to characterise ODR as just the application of ADR to the online environment, there is at least, one important difference in cyberspace. That is, "for the first time dispute resolution isn't really an alternative - the courts don't work in many online situations, so dispute resolution is often the default." With perhaps as many as 500 million plus people online worldwide, as more businesses and individuals come to realise this significant point, ODR will flourish.
There are significant questions about issues of education, fairness, accessibility and process to be considered in ODR. The perceived problem of computer-mediated communications probably leads the list. They are covered in sufficient detail by the author, not only to alert potential users of ODR to issues, but also to suggest appropriate ways of dealing with them.
The author believes that businesses will come to use ODR as matter of course and that "this is the ultimate aspiration for ODR; no hype, no bombast, simply to become the way things are done." His book makes a persuasive case for such an outcome. The debate over whether ODR really exists is over. This is a practical work on an important aspect of ADR.
Colm Brannigan practises family, commercial and technology mediation in Brampton, Ontario and can be contacted through mediate.ca.
Ury, William L. Must We Fight? From the Battlefield to the Schoolyard - A New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its Prevention. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001 (122 pages).
Reviewed by Catherine Morris
"Is violence an inherent and inevitable part of human life? Can it be prevented? In short, must we fight?" These are the questions addressed in this enjoyable collection of papers from two Harvard Law School symposia in 1999 and 2000. Frans de Waal, in "Primate Behavior and Human Aggression," challenges the popular myth of innate human aggressiveness. R. Brian Ferguson, in "The History of War: Fact vs. Fiction," points out the dearth of archeological evidence of organized warfare for much of human history. Supported by this biological and archeological evidence, Ury, in "The Power of the 'Third Side': Community Roles in Conflict Resolution," questions the Hobbesean view of humankind as requiring centralized government as the only alternative to constant violence. If Hobbes was right, Ury wonders, "how did our ancestors manage conflict peacefully?" Using examples of the relatively non-violent Bushmen of Kalahari and the Semai of Malaysia, he points out how in these groups family , friends and broader community members work as a "third side" to urge and facilitate resolution through sustained discussion. Ury then draws principles about how our own communities might expand roles for "thirdsiders" to prevent, resolve and contain conflict.
The book includes two case studies useful for teaching purposes. Chris Winship, in "Reducing Youth Violence in Boston: Lessons from the 1990s," shows how church leaders and police collaborated to help dramatically reduce drug-related youth gang violence. Steven Wilkinson, in "Reducing Hindu-Muslim Violence in Indian Towns: Community Initiatives," describes local neighbourhood committees, non-governmental organizations and other initiatives that have helped Muslims and Hindus build relationships by working together on common goals like clean water. Ury, in "Containing, Resolving, and Preventing Violent Conflict: Activating the Third Side in Urban Communities," draws principles about how the third side gets mobilized. The book also contains an interesting audience discussion, together with a simulation exercise developed by Joshua Weiss, Brian Blancke and Chang In Shin for use by students familiar with William L. Ury's The Third Side. New York: Penguin, 2000.
Victoria Law Foundation. Working It Out Through Mediation.. Victoria Law Foundation, 2002. 15 minutes 30 seconds. 47-page video user guide and 39-page training notes booklet. (Note: this video is in PAL.)
Reviewed by John Wade, Director, Dispute Resolution Centre Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland
War and litigation are easy to embark upon. Diplomacy is much more difficult. Yet the modern reality in Australia is that over 90% of claims filed in courts and tribunals are settled by negotiation or mediation. Few people statistically get their "day in court" - rather they are referred to mediation or sent outside to settle in the corridors. Yet most people are ignorant and fearful about how to prepare for, or behave during, either negotiation or mediation. Quick and effective forms of education about mediation are emerging steadily in Australia for "one-shotters" - that is, people who have not been to a form of mediation before. ("Repeat players", such as insurers and lawyers on the other hand, learn on the job - some well, some not so well, as they attend a variety of different forms of mediations weekly.)
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Victorian Law Foundation have produced an excellent 15 minute video on mediation entitled, Working it out through mediation. Lawyers and others who assist clients at mediations (such as lay advocates and employer and employee representatives) would do well to have a number of these in their shelves to lend to clients who are involved in disputes. And importantly, the video will be of great assistance to disputants preparing for mediations in circumstances when they will not be assisted by lawyers or others.
The video is no boring lecture. It involves a narrator (Julie McCrossin) walking through coffee-shops, suburban streets, a court-room, several mediation sessions and multiple snappy interviews with colourful characters in conflict who have experienced varying degrees of success at different mediations. This style of education packs in quick answers to the many key anxieties about mediation processes: How might the meeting proceed? What are the key questions I should answer while preparing? Is it mediation always successful? What disputes are "best" for mediation? Will the mediator give advice, or tell us who is to blame?
One great strength of the video is the emphasis upon preparation for mediation. This has not been present in several other mediation videos seen by the writer. Lawyers and disputants can benefit from replaying the video, writing out the key questions posed in it, and preparing answers before attending any mediation.
Education about mediation in books, pamphlets or videos can sometimes verge on propaganda, or involve disputes which make conflict resolution look too easy (we all know that it is not easy!). This video has veered away from both those traps with realistic examples of when mediation did not succeed, and with images of disputants and mediators working hard. The video will be an excellent teaching resource.
In the writer's opinion, this video should be a standard addition to a lawyer's office, so that copies can be routinely sent or given to clients involved in conflict. This video teaches more and faster than books do. It will also prompt a series of insightful supplementary questions from nervous clients (or lawyers!). And courts and tribunals that offer mediation as part of their processes may want to have copies of the video readily available for viewing by those attending for mediations.
Whether people in conflict like mediation or not, it is now routine and an inevitable part of dispute resolution processes in Australia. This video provides an engaging, quick and user-friendly education for anyone who will shortly be participating in a mediation, whether on a mandatory or voluntary basis. The video is highly recommended.
John Wade is the editor of the Bond Dispute Resolution News, newsletter of the Dispute Resolution Centre at Bond University Faculty of Law.
Wink, Walter. Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. (181 pages)
Reviewed by Catherine Morris
There is much food for thought in this book, which is the foundation of Walter Wink's Powers trilogy on nonviolence. It is difficult to do justice to this remarkable book, which is one of the few thorough studies of the terminology of power in the New Testament.
Wink's first three chapters are the strongest and provide a very fine review of key biblical (New Testament) concepts and terms related to "rulers," "authorities," "principalities and powers." Wink proposes that Christians have tended to overly mythologize "principalities and powers" in contradiction to ambiguous language in the texts that indicates that powers and principalities are not only spiritual but also refer to human structures of power and must be addressed by the church, not as abstractions or exclusively as spiritual entities, but also challenged "on earth." However, he cautions against demythologizing principalities and powers. Wink may not completely avoid this trap, himself. While he fully acknowledges principalities and powers as spiritual, in his interpretive chapters (4 and 5), Wink seems to shy away from identifying them as personal spiritual entities, which the scriptural texts seem clearly to envision in a number of places.
In addition to its in depth and detailed exegesis and discussion of biblical concepts of power, this book provides a very strong foundation for Wink's strong caution against taking on human structures of power on in their own terms (as he suggests some liberation theologians have tended to do). Rather unjust power structures are to be challenged using spiritual "weapons" including scriptural truth and prayer in full recognition of Christ alone as the ruler of all creation and thus the "first principal of the universe."
For those seeking in-depth understanding of Christian biblical foundations for nonviolent struggle against injustice, this book is a "must read" along with the rest of Wink's classic Powers trilogy.
Zutter, Deborah Lynn. Preparing for Mediation: A Dispute Resolution Guide. Toronto: Trafford Publishing, 2005. (164 pages)
Reviewed by Elana Fleischmann
Zutter is an experienced lawyer and mediator based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In this mediation guide, she has distilled her more than twenty-five years of practice into an easily readable and informative resource for mediation participants.
Preparing for Mediation is designed to assist both disputants and their legal representatives. In addition to gaining familiarity and control over the mediation process, well-prepared disputants will likely experience greater satisfaction with their mediation outcomes. This is also a beneficial book for legal representatives to strengthen their mediation advocacy skills.
As the author explains in the Introduction, this guide is premised on her 'fundamental assumption' that preparation for mediation is critical to obtaining successful mediation outcomes. In keeping with this premise, the guide focuses on every aspect of preparation for the 'typical mediation' in a variety of disputes, including organizational, family, insurance and other commercial disputes.
The reader can apply this guide to acquire a better understanding of her dispute as a whole or she can focus on a specific component of preparing for mediation. Each chapter in this resource focuses on a specific preparation task arranged in a logical sequence: selecting the appropriate dispute resolution process; mediation suitability (i.e. how to decide whether or not mediation is appropriate); identifying and selecting the participants; convening mediation; choosing the mediator; analyzing the dispute; key skills; gathering data and information; procedural choices; and , preliminary conferences.
One of the highlights of the book is the inclusion of practical checklists that appear at the conclusion of every chapter. These checklists reinforce the specific preparation task under discussion and provide the reader with guidance in terms of determining whether the mediation process is suitable for the particular dispute at issue, selecting an appropriate mediator, assessing the costs and benefits of settlement at mediation, and, understanding the specific terms of a mediation agreement.
This guide can be read as a thorough mediation primer for anyone participating directly or indirectly in the mediation process. This book considers many of the critical issues and steps involved in mediation. It sets out useful information, tips and strategies for mediation preparation and participation. Anyone involved in a mediation process will certainly benefit from reading this practical and understandable resource guide.
Elana Fleischmann, LLB (Ottawa), LLM (ADR) (Osgoode) is a member of the Bar of Ontario and practises dispute resolution in Toronto in her firm "Elana Fleischmann & Associates". She also works as a dispute resolution consultant with DRS - Dispute Resolution Services LP. Ms. Fleischmann is an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she teaches a course in dispute resolution, and is a member of the Teaching Faculty of the Osgoode Master of Laws Program in ADR. She is the former Coordinator of the Provincial Dispute Resolution Office, and is a Roster Mediator with Public Works Canada and the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program..
Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: A Selected Bibliography (formerly Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: A Selected Bibliography). Copyright 1997-2008 Catherine Morris. All rights reserved.