Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution

Publication Date

10-2013

Abstract

We welcome thoughtful critical analysis of the transformative framework because we believe such comments further substantive discussion and debate. Some prior critiques of the framework have been beneficial in helping to clearly map the ideological divide in the ADR field-a divide that separates very different approaches to conflict intervention. Cogent and honestly substantiated critiques of the transformative approach have strengthened the dis-course about conflict intervention practice by building stronger arguments on all sides of the debate over the various goals and expectations for mediation.

Unfortunately, the recent article by Robert Condlin in this Journal advances none of these useful goals, for two main reasons. First, the tone and style of a scholarly piece-and communication in general-matter greatly to its substantive impact. We and many other colleagues have devoted our professional lives over the past two decades to the serious development of this work. To treat these efforts with such disdain and mockery in a public context, as Condlin does, is deeply disrespectful and injurious. We believe people can legitimately disagree but still be connected as respectful and respected human beings.

Second, this critique effectively seeks to marginalize others’ views rather than have measured dialogue and debate about them. The critique as a whole is built on a selective and self-serving literature review, outright misrepresentation of the underlying theory that supports transformative practice, and spurious arguments about the empirical research on transformative mediation. For us to respond in a comprehensive way would require a complete reiteration of the transformative mediation literature, because Condlin misrepresents a large portion of that work and ignores parts that are inconsistent with his personal views. Therefore, a full response is simply not warranted.

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