Harmony, peacemaking, and power: Controlling processes and African mediation



Anthropologist Laura Nader has advanced a scathing critique of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a controlling process. Data from an anthropological study in The Gambia, West Africa, indicate that processes such as mediation have a wide range of social functions and can be used to challenge as well as reinforce hierarchies. A more balanced analysis of conflict resolution and a cross-cultural perspective illuminate both the challenges and the potential of mediation.