Using Cultural Categories for Opposition and Brokering in Conflict Mediation

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Adopting an approach which espouses recent theorization in Intercultural Communication Studies (Holliday 1999, Kecskes 2014, Zhu 2013, 2015, Kim 2009, Dervin, Gajardo & Lavanchy 2011) and influenced by discursive psychology (Edwards & Potter 1992), in this article the author examines data from two contexts of conflict resolution practice: family mediation and workplace mediation (a university mediation service). It is found that in the family mediation data, parties construct a case discursively through ascribing oppositional cultural categories to themselves and the other party, and that the mediator does not interrogate this narrative. In contrast, university mediators use the ascribed oppositional cultural categories as a starting point for encouraging parties’ deep reflection on themselves and the other, and thus act as cultural brokers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-106
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Interculturality
  • cultural categories
  • cultural negotiation
  • cultural brokering
  • conflict resolution
  • family mediation
  • university mediation


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