Bucholtz and Hall (2005: 587) propose “a view of identity that is intersubjectively rather than individually produced and interactionally emergent rather than assigned in an a priori fashion.” This paper applies this perspective to the field of mediation, the voluntary conflict resolution where participants discuss their problem before a disinterested third party (the mediator). Such discourse frequently features discussion of ideational realities in dispute, but also offers a wealth of identity data, as the situation is narrated to the mediator. Their own identities indeed ‘emerge’ during this process, which may have as much to do with face work as with situational realities. Argumentative strategies such as ad hominem, for example, are commonplace; initially participants tend to cast themselves as innocent victims, while blaming the other, who they may cast in a negative identity mould. The positive (self) identity and negative (other) constitute a focus of debate which is often implicit, as participants seek to establish both in the eyes of the ideally neutral third party. This paper uses data from a book by John Haynes, prominent family mediator, and incorporates the writer’s own perspective on the emerging identities as well as on the rights and wrongs of the specific case. The focus is on the discursive strategies used by the participants to establish both their identity claims and their views of the case. In one instance, a professor accused of molesting a female student is initially cast by her as a sort of philanderer, while she is seen by him as a paranoiac. The process of mediation is as much about redeeming both from these negative identities as it is concerned to establish guidelines for their future collaboration. For both, the challenge is to use mediation as a discursive context in which an acceptable social identity can emerge, to save face as much as to win a case.
|Titolo:||Saving face, or winning a case? Issues of face and identity construction in mediation.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|