Hostname: page-component-758b78586c-qzq9q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-11-28T17:19:29.649Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

New routes to power: towards a typology of power mediation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2010

Abstract

This article is concerned with a particular debate in mediation literature, revolving around the merit and necessity of power as a strategy employed by third parties in their efforts to negotiate a successful resolution to conflict. We argue that by subscribing to a one-dimensional spectrum of pure-to-power mediation, students of mediation have neglected the development of how power is conceptualised and operates within the changing dynamics of conflict and its mediation.

We therefore seek to redefine the concept of power mediation to project a closer fit between conflicting parties' understanding of their situation and the methods, aims and motivations of their mediators. Breaking away from the existing pure-power spectrum, we propose a heuristic framework that includes four distinct types of power mediation, defined here as real, made, critical and structural power. The contribution of our heuristic model is threefold. First, it assists us in asking the most basic question of social science research, ‘of what is this a case’, which in turn ought to lead to a more sophisticated observation of mediation instances. Concurrently, through the frame of ‘power’, it establishes common understanding of observable phenomena that makes the study of mediation more accessible to the wider audience beyond students of our modest literature. Finally, the synthesis of epistemological and ontological inquiry of conflict and power with the established International Relations (IR) approaches of realism(s), constructivism, critical discourse and structuralism, allows respective real, made, critical and structural types of mediation power to be tested.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 Bercovitch, J. and Fretter, J., Regional Guide to International Conflict and Management from 1945 to 2003 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2004), p. 29Google Scholar ; Beardsley, K. C. et al. , ‘Mediation Style and Crisis Outcomes’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50:1 (2006), p. 59Google Scholar .

2 Princen, T., Intermediaries in International Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 3Google Scholar .

3 Pruitt, D. G., ‘Mediator Behavior and Success in Negotiation’, in Bercovitch, J. (ed.), Studies in International Mediation (Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), p. 51Google Scholar .

4 Rubin, J., ‘International Mediation in Context’, in Bercovitch, J. and Rubin, J. Z. (eds), Mediation in International Relations: Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management (New York: St Martin's Press, 1992), p. 254Google Scholar .

5 Zartman, I. W. and Touval, S., ‘International Mediation in the Post-Cold War Era’, in Crocker, Chester A. and Hampson, Fen O. (eds), Managing Global Chaos (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 1996), pp. 445461Google Scholar .

6 Kleiboer, M., ‘Understanding Success and Failure of International Mediation’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 40:2 (1996), p. 371CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

7 Kriesberg, L., ‘The Development of the Conflict Resolution Field’, in Zartman, I. W. and Rasmussen, L. (eds), Peacekeeping in International Conflict: Methods & Techniques (Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 1997), p. 65Google Scholar .

8 Bercovitch, J. and Rubin, J. (eds), Mediation in International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1992)Google Scholar ; Touval, S., The Peace Brokers: Mediators in the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1948–1979 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982)Google Scholar ; Beardsley et al., ‘Mediation Style and Crisis Outcomes’; Carnevale, P., ‘Mediating from Strength’, in Bercovitch, J. (ed.), Studies in International Mediation: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Z. Rubin (London: Palgrave-MacMillan), p. 33Google Scholar .

9 Burton, J. and Dukes, F., Conflict: Practices, Settlement, and Resolution (London: Macmillan, 1990)Google Scholar ; Moore, C., The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict (San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass, 1986)Google Scholar ; R. Slim, ‘Small State Mediation in International Relations: The Algerian Mediation of the Iranian Hostage Crisis’, in Bercovitch, J. and Rubin, J. (eds), Mediation inInternational Relations: Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management (New York: St. Martin's Press), pp. 216231Google Scholar .

10 Smith, J. D., ‘Mediator Impartiality: Banishing the Chimera’, Journal of Peace Research, 31:4 (1994), pp. 445450CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

11 Burrell, G. and Morgan, G., ‘Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis: Elements of the Sociology of Corporate Life (London: Heinemann, 1979)Google Scholar ; Kleiboer, M. and t'Hart, P., ‘Time to Talk? Multiple Perspectives on Timing in International Mediation’, Cooperation and Conflict, 30:4 (1995), pp. 307348Google Scholar .

12 Fisher, R. and Keashley, L., ‘The Potential Complementarity of Mediation and Consultation within a Contingency Model of Third Party Intervention’, Journal of Peace Research, 28:1 (1991), pp. 2942Google Scholar ; Rauchhaus, R., ‘Asymetric Information, Mediation, and Conflict Management’, World Politics, 58:2 (2006), pp. 207241Google Scholar .

13 Fisher, and Keashley, , ‘The Potential Complementarity of Mediation’, p. 33Google Scholar .

14 Smith, , ‘Mediator Impartiality’, p. 448Google Scholar .

15 Bercovitch, J. and Houston, A., ‘The Study of International Mediation: Theoretical Issues and Empirical Evidence’, Bercovitch, J. (ed.), Resolving International Conflicts (Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000), p. 177Google Scholar ; Fisher and Keashley, ‘The Potential Complementarity of Mediation’.

16 Egeland, J., ‘The Oslo Accord: Multiparty Mediation through the Norwegian Channel’, in Crocker, C. et al. (eds), Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World (Washington DC: US Institute of Peace Press, 1999), pp. 537546Google Scholar .

17 Fisher, and Keashley, , ‘The Potential Complementarity of Mediation’, p. 33Google Scholar .

18 Touval, , The Peace Brokers, p. 275Google Scholar .

19 Princen, Intermediaries in International Conflict.

20 Baine, D. and Sawatzky, D., ‘Mediation Methods as an Adjunct to Counselling Couples’, International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 15:4 (1992), pp. 273284Google Scholar .

21 Wall, J. and Stark, J., ‘North American Conflict Management’, in Leung, K. and Tjosvold, D. (eds), Conflict Management in the Asian Pacific (New York: John Wiley, 1998), pp. 303334Google Scholar .

22 Murray, J., ‘The Cairo Stories: Some Reflections on Conflict Resolution in Egypt’, Negotiation Journal, 13:1 (1997), pp. 3960CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

23 Milburn, T. and Isaac, P., ‘Prospect Theory: Implications for International Mediation’, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 1:4 (1995), pp. 333342CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

24 Beardsley, , et al. , ‘Mediation Style and Crisis Outcomes’, pp. 5886Google Scholar .

25 Bloomfield, D., Peacemaking Strategies in Northern Ireland: Building Complementarity in Conflict Management Theory (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

26 Crocker, et al. , Herding Cats, p. 24Google Scholar .

27 Saunders, H., ‘Prenegotiation and Circum-negotiation: Arenas of the Peace Process’, in Crocker, C. et al. (eds), Managing Global Chaos (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996), p. 426Google Scholar .

28 Bush, R., ‘Realizing the Potential of International Conflict Work: Connections between Practice and Theory’, Negotiation Journal, 19:1 (2003), pp. 97103CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

29 Aggestam, K., ‘Mediating Asymmetrical Conflict’, Mediterranean Politics, 7:1 (2002), pp. 6991CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

30 Smith, S., ‘Singing Our World into Existence: International Relations Theory and September 11’, International Studies Quarterly, 48:3 (2004), pp. 499515CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

31 Kleiboer, and Hart, , ‘Time to Talk?’, p. 312Google Scholar .

32 Ibid., p. 338.

33 Keohane, R., After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 70Google Scholar .

34 Nossal, K., ‘Foreign Policy for Wimps’, Ottawa Citizen (23 April 1998), p. 19Google Scholar .

35 Nye, J., Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1990), p. 12Google Scholar .

36 Dahl, R., Who Governs? (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1961)Google Scholar .

37 Mills, C., The Power Elite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956)Google Scholar .

38 Lukes, S., Power: A Radical View (London: MacMillan, 1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

39 Giddens, A., The Constitution of Society (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1984)Google Scholar ; Cox, R., ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 10:2 (1981), pp. 126155Google Scholar .

40 Barnett, M. and Duvall, R., ‘Power in International Politics’, International Organization, 59:1: (2005), pp. 3975CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

41 Carr, E., What is History? (London: Penguin, 1961)Google ScholarPubMed .

42 Barnett, and Duvall, , ‘Power in International Politics’, p. 39Google Scholar .

43 Kleiboer, and Hart, , ‘Time to Talk?’, p. 315Google Scholar .

44 Ibid., p. 323.

45 The epistemological ‘double dipping’ of constructivist approaches such as Wendt's are noted as in some ways restricting this ‘approach’ from being credited as political theory.

46 Kleiboer, M., The Multiple Realities of International Mediation (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1998)Google Scholar .

47 Kleiboer, and Hart, , ‘Time to Talk?’, p. 338Google Scholar .

48 Princen, , Intermediaries in International Conflict, p. 50Google Scholar .

49 Kleiboer, and Hart, , ‘Time to Talk?’, pp. 337338Google Scholar .

50 Ibid., p. 329.

51 Smith, , ‘Mediator Impartiality’, p. 446Google Scholar .

52 Zartman, I. W., ‘The Unfinished Agenda: Negotiating Internal Conflicts’, in Licklider, R. (ed.), Stopping the Killing (New York: New York University Press, 1993)Google Scholar .

53 Barnett, and Duvall, , ‘Power in International Politics’, p. 55Google Scholar .

54 Ibid., p. 54.

55 Nash, J., ‘The Bargaining Problem’, Econometrica, 18:2 (1950), pp. 155162CrossRefGoogle Scholar

56 The complexity of two-level game however, offers different incentives and logics. In the language of Robert Putnam, looking at ‘acceptability sets’ and the ever-important win set, it can be argued that real or structural dimensions can significantly shift acceptability sets by exerting influence on the second, ‘ratifying layer’ of parties undertaking negotiations. This ratifying layer can be accounted for by the practical possibilities of legislation and policy formed through domestic constraints. Thus, keeping the domestic win set small, but shifted to be within the shared international acceptability set provides optimal bargaining positions. In other words, leverage can re-position a specific pareto acceptable outcome (that is, maximum gains without incurring more loss) at both layers that was previously unavailable. See Putnam, R., ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games’, International Organization, 42:3 (1988), pp. 427460CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

57 Richmond, O., ‘Devious Objectives and the Disputants’ View of International Mediation: A Theoretical Framework’, Journal of Peace Research, 35:6 (1998), pp. 707722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58 Copeland, D., The Origins of Major Wars (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2000)Google Scholar .

59 Krasner, S., International Regimes (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1983)Google Scholar .

60 Posen, B., ‘The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict’, Survival, 35:1 (1993), p. 43CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

61 See for example Carnevale, ‘Mediating from Strength’; Smith, ‘Mediator Impartiality’; Touval, The Peace Brokers.

62 Segev, S., ‘The Arab-Israeli Conflict under President Bush’, in Bose, M. and Perotti, R. (eds), From Cold War to New World Order: The Foreign Policy of George H.W. Bush (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2002), pp. 113136Google Scholar ; Siniver, A, ‘Power, Impartiality and Timing: Three Hypotheses on Third Party Mediation in the Middle East’, Political Studies, 54:4 (2006), pp. 806826Google Scholar .

63 Siniver, , ‘Power, Impartiality and Timing’, p. 816Google Scholar .

64 Zartman, I. W., ‘The Timing of Peace Initiatives: Hurting Stalemates and Ripe Moments’, The Global Review of Ethnopolitics, 1:1 (2001), pp. 818CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

65 Carnevale, P. and Choi, D., ‘Culture in the Mediation of International Disputes’, International Journal of Psychology, 35:2 (2000), pp. 105110CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Touval, The Peace Brokers.

66 Aggestam, ‘Mediating Asymmetrical Conflict’; Pruitt, ‘Mediator Behavior and Success in Negotiation’

67 Siniver, ‘Power, Impartiality and Timing’.

68 Zartman, I. W. and Touval, S., ‘International Mediation in the Post-Cold War Era’, p. 446Google Scholar .