Article Title

Mediation in context


Kevin Hearn



The conventional understanding of mediation is that it is one of a group of ADR processes operating within the shadow of the legal system. Understood in this way it represents an area of practice which many people find stimulating and challenging. However to limit mediation to such practice is to underestimate its potential enormously. There is a wider context to which mediation may have profoundly significant links as yet not adequately identified. This article attempts to uncover some of these links by using a perspective which is informed by a number of disciplines including law, history, sociology, anthropology, literature and philosophy, developed within the western tradition. Given that mediation is understood as belonging to a more general category called dispute resolution, which in turn is understood as a variety of processes seeking (but never finally experiencing) something called justice, it would seem to follow that a key focus within such an interdisciplinary ‘uncovering’ will be justice, or the journey towards a just society.