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Fall 2020 Reading Group

Contemporary Dilemmas in Dispute Resolution

Prerequisite: This reading group is open to any student who has completed the Negotiation Workshop.

Exam Type: No Exam

This reading group will explore situations and applications that challenge core principles in mediation, negotiation, and dispute systems design work.  When placed in certain contexts, bedrock ideals in many interest-based and party-centered models of dispute resolution – impartiality, joint contribution, validity of multiple perspectives – may begin to seem less benign.  What is the responsibility (if any) of the conflict management “neutral” to have and apply a particular view of justice and morality?  How can practitioners account for power imbalances between parties without re-entrenching them?  How do we make sense of (and fully accept) principles that, when applied in certain ways, could lead to results that are deeply discomfiting at a moral or ethical level?  Examples that may be explored include the use of restorative justice in certain criminal contexts; setting up an equivalency between two perspectives, one of which is morally unacceptable; and other recent contexts.

Note: The reading group will meet on the following dates: 9/18, 9/25, 10/2, 10/9, 10/16, and 10/23.