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Interdisciplinary influences on family mediation: A chronicle of colonisation foretold?

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2016)

Journal: Mediation Theory and Practice

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/mtp.28819


This article contrasts the interdisciplinary enrichment of mediation as a subject of scholarly study with the often distorting even damaging interdisciplinary influences on mediation, family mediation in the UK in particular, as a practice intervention. The article identifies four historical phases of disciplinary influence over the evolutionary development of family mediation from the early welfare and therapeutic influences to those more recent pressures arising from legal practice and from the legal system itself. The article raises current concerns about the detrimental impact these pressures are having on the integrity of mediation practice in providing a genuinely alternative dispute resolution process with distinctive process and outcome benefits for the public. The article argues that lacking conceptual clarity and coherence provided by the rich interdisciplinary body of twentieth-century mediation theory and scholarship, mediation practice becomes vulnerable, unable not only to resist distorting, damaging and even destructive pressures but even to recognise them.

Author: Marian Roberts

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