Politics of Discourse in Mediation

Sara Cobb

An educational video for mediators or mediation students regarding the management of mediation


PON Video Lecture Series (1992).
According to Sara Cobb, mediation is a political activity, and mediators must possess tools enabling them to talk about the political process inherent in mediation. In The Politics of Discourse in Mediation, Cobb uses these theoretical ideas as a foundation of her pragmatic lecture to a group of mediation scholars and practitioners.

In her 37-minute lecture, Cobb weaves ideas from conflict resolution literature together with her personal experiences as a mediator to offer pragmatic advice for managing discourse in a way that ensures and enhances participation. Interspersed with informational on-screen slides, Cobb’s lecture provides mediators with practical tools to use in facilitating a process that includes two important aspects of mediation politics: the construction of complex stories and legitimizing disputants.

Cobb argues that “discourse” – that is, talk particularized by a set of values – is at the heart of conflict resolution. She views enhanced participation and involvement as a crucial goal of the conflict resolution field. In her lecture, Cobb offers mediation scholars and practitioners a set of tools to achieve this goal.

Sara Cobb, Ph. D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the Director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She is also the former Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation. At the time of “The Politics of Discourse,” Cobb was a lecturer in the Department of Communications at the University of Connecticut.

Production Quality: Utility.


Politics of Discourse in Mediation Attributes

Time required:
30 minutes – 1 hour
Teaching notes available:
Run Time:
37 minutes

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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