Mediator as a Story Recipient in Narrative Mediation: What Types of Questions Should I Ask?

Ying Chen, Chee Lay Tan


This study adopted the theoretical framework of narrative mediation to investigate a storied conflict talk between a landlord and her tenant in which the mediator played the role of a story recipient in the co-construction of stories with disputants. The focus of this research is on the function of questions posed by the mediator in the production of turning points which are favourable to the evolution of “better-formed” stories. The results of this study indicate that there are at least two types of questions mediators ask: 1) the questions that can help disputants reflect on their imperfectness; 2) the questions that awaken disputants’ memories of their good stories from the past. It is shown that the de-legitimacy for Self laid a foundation for the production of a good story towards a meaningful outcome for the mediation. The inadequacy of the context formed by first having legitimacy for Other followed by the de-legitimacy for Self led to the failure of destabilizing the problematic story in the mediation. The lack of the dominant party’s legitimacy for Other resulted in the absence of legitimacy from the marginalized side and would likely cause unfavourable consequences to the mediation in the long term.

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