Ideological production: The making of community mediation

Christine B. Harrington, Sally Engle Merry

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Through an analysis of the structure of the community mediation movement in the United States and an ethnography of the practices of mediators in local programs, this paper examines how community mediation is made, and how it is ideologically constituted. The ideology of community mediation is produced through an interplay among three ideological projects or visions of community mediation and organizational models, and by the selection and differential use of mediators to handle cases. We argue that ideologies are formed through the mobilization of symbolic resources by groups promoting different projects. Central to the production of mediation ideology is a struggle over the symbolic resources of community justice and consensual justice. Although various groups propose differing conceptions of community justice, they share a similar commitment to consensual justice, and this similarity is produced through reinterpretations of the same symbols. The ambiguities in community mediation are, it appears, being overtaken by consensus on the nature of the mediation process itself.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationMediation
    Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Policy and Practice
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315204826
    ISBN (Print)9781138634855
    StatePublished - May 8 2018

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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