Doctoral thesis

Common ground in conflict mediation : an argumentative perspective


366 p.

Thèse de doctorat: Università della Svizzera italiana, 2020 (jury note: Summa cum laude)

English Both in the field of argumentation and in studies on conflict mediation, sufficient common ground between parties in conflict is considered a prerequisite for reasonable and sustainable resolutions. Using a two-part structure, this doctoral dissertation focuses on how workplace mediators can broaden and strengthen the common ground between the parties through their communicative interventions. The first part of the dissertation presents an in-depth empirical study on the common starting point interventions used by workplace mediation professionals to understand how they design explicit opening stages in workplace mediations that support reasonable argumentative discussions on problems and solutions. By means of the empirically identified local functions for specific common starting point interventions, different types of common starting point interventions are presented and discussed in relation to how they broaden and strengthen the common ground of parties in conflict. The second part of the dissertation reconceptualizes functional context in pragma-dialectics, and conceptually explores the contextual differences between different communicative activity types of workplace mediation. The conceptual studies discuss how common starting point interventions can be expected to differ between different communicative activity types of workplace mediation, relative to the empirically studied formal mediations by workplace mediation professionals. To this end, four different prototypical communicative activity types of workplace mediation are introduced and conceptually analyzed in-depth. In doing so, the current conceptualization of conflict mediation as a genre of communicative activity in pragma-dialectics is updated, and the current descriptions of the communicative activity types belonging to this genre are elaborated on.
  • English
Social sciences
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