Intercultural Mediation in a Postmodern World

1717 WordsJun 19, 20187 Pages
This presentation will focus on mediation and the very notion of intercultural mediator in a postmodern world. Mediation is the process of intercultural transformation for all parties involved and also a learning resource in newly constructed spaces of social interactions. Mediation refers to an intercultural spatiality (the socially produced space (Lefebvre 1991), which is not static but constitutive of social relations (Rick, 1997). Here it is useful to adopt Lefebvre’s unitary theory of space (1991), which brings together all its elements, namely i) the physical (real/material) or perceived space, ii) the mental (imagined/conceptual) or conceived space and iii) the social or lived space (Rick, 1997, pp. 10-12). The social or lived space…show more content…
Mediators are transformative learners who in fact maintain a multiple foci or perspective of both their required skills as well as in the mediation process itself. They engage in a journey of personal and cultural transformation in which they feel they belong maintaining at the same time their professional impartiality. The intercultural “mediator’s skills, sensitivity, awareness (of self and others) and patience will be summoned to the forefront of this whirling space of conflicting behaviors, substantive jousting, contesting statements and adversarial accusations” (Townsend, 2002). Jon Townsend (2002) described the following five intercultural principles and mediation practices, which create an operational interecultural space of mutual understanding, empathy and collaborative ethos using culturally appropriate behaviors. These principles are: 1. Flexibility; namely the “mental elasticity” that allows mediators “to be a part of and yet apart from the cultural milieu into which they have entered”. Attributes associated with this principle are wonder, awe or creativity. 2. Tolerance, namely the ability to resist the effects of prejudice in regards to the views, beliefs and practices of others. “Transparency, empathetic understanding and ethnorelative valuing” are some of the attributes associated with this principle. 3. Hope, namely the ability to act as a positive role-model providing pathways for the

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