Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution [Illustrated] 019982620X, 9780199826209

In the context of ongoing or historical violence, people tell stories about what happened, who did what to whom and why.

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Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Title Pages (p.i) Speaking of Violence (p.ii) Explorations in Narrative Psychology (p.iii) Speaking of Violence Mark Freeman Series Editor BOOKS IN THE SERIES Speaking of Violence Sara Cobb

(p.iv) Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Page 1 of 2

Title Pages Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 © Oxford University Press 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cobb, Sara B. Speaking of violence : the politics and poetics of narrative dynamics in conflict resolution / Sara Cobb. pages cm.—(Explorations in narrative psychology) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–19–982620–9 1. Conflict management. 2. Violence. 3. Narration (Rhetoric)— Psychological aspects. 4. Discourse analysis, Narrative— Psychological aspects. I. Title. HM1126.C63 2013 303.6′9—dc23 2012050194 135798642

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Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

(p.vii) Foreword Mark Freeman

It is extremely gratifying to launch the Explorations in Narrative Psychology book series with Sara Cobb’s extraordinary book. Speaking of Violence is not just interdisciplinary but omni-disciplinary, ranging across philosophy, political science, aesthetics, poetics, and more. But it also points toward a much richer, more inclusive and capacious psychology than the one we currently have. It is a psychology deeply nested in culture and in the lived reality of people. It is a psychology that is engaged with, and indeed inseparable from, the ethical realm, the realm where questions of meaning and value, peace and violence, Eros and Thanatos, reside. It is the kind of psychology I believe we need and ought to have. Of all the excellent books-to-be that will be part of the series, this one deals with an area of inquiry that I know least well. Indeed, if truth be told, I didn’t even know the area existed until fairly recently. This is emphatically not a reflection of the area! On the contrary, it is a reflection of (1) my ignorance, and (2) the fact that narrative psychology, broadly conceived, continues to find its way into numerous and ever-growing intellectual spaces. I emphasize the phrase “broadly conceived.” Here, one might of course ask: Why narrative? In some people’s eyes, the answer is clear: “narrative” has become one of the buzzwords of our times, fashionably hot, au courant. Indeed, as a colleague of mine insisted a while back, it’s just the latest intellectual fad and, as with most fads, will fade away in due time. Perhaps he was right. But that was nearly thirty years ago, and here we are, still, seeing in the idea of narrative a central organizing principle for understanding and depicting some significant dimensions of the human condition. Again: Why? And what could it possibly have to do with the kind of violence Sara Cobb addresses in this book? On the very first page, we are told that “Stories matter,” that they have “gravitas” and “weight” and are Page 1 of 5

Foreword “concrete,” serving to “materialize policies, relationships, and identities that circulate locally and globally anywhere and everywhere.” Shortly after, she turns briefly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Middle East conflict, as a story,” she writes, “is foundational and mythic, primordial, within both the Arab and the Western worlds” and “helps to anchor the divisions across the world, between religions, nations, and cultures.” (p.viii) It is also “toxic to peace everywhere for this reason.” That is not all. “This conflict, like all conflicts, is a function of the stories that are told, retold, and foretold about the conflict.” This is a bold statement. It is also an intellectually venturesome and, indeed, courageous one. For, if Cobb is right, even the most intractable and vicious conflicts are embedded within stories; consequently, it is only through rethinking, reworking, and indeed rewriting these stories that the conflicts in question may be left behind. This is not to say, of course, that the conflicts Cobb addresses are only a function of stories. Nor is it to say that the process of moving beyond them is an easy one or that merely conjuring up new and improved storylines can do the job. One might think of some of Freud’s ideas on psychoanalytic process in this context. I am thinking especially of his piece “Remembering, repeating, and working-through” (1958 [1914]), when he notes that, in order to curtail the “compulsion to repeat,” one must see in this compulsion the traces of memories and stories that have not yet risen to consciousness: “As long as the patient is in the treatment he cannot escape from this compulsion to repeat; and in the end we understand that this is his way of remembering” (p. 150). What’s more, “The greater the resistance, the more extensively will acting out (repetition) replace remembering” (p. 151). The implication? The patient must [f]ind the courage to direct his attention to the phenomena of his illness. His illness itself must no longer seem to him contemptible, but must become an enemy worthy of his mettle, a piece of his personality, which has solid ground for its existence and out of which things of value for his future life have to be derived. The way is thus paved from the beginning for a reconciliation with the repressed material which is coming to expression in his symptoms, while at the same time place is found for a certain tolerance for the state of being ill (p.152). The process is bound to be painful and difficult and will more than likely intensify the conflicts at hand. Alongside the ostensibly primitive material that had been manifested beforehand, there has emerged new material, bringing into further relief their deepest sources, heretofore operating behind the scenes. It should come as no surprise that this process can be explosive. The good news is, “If this new attitude toward the illness intensifies the conflicts and brings to the fore symptoms which till then had been indistinct, one can easily console the patient by pointing out that these are only necessary and temporary aggravations and that one cannot overcome an enemy who is absent or not within range” (p. 152).

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Foreword These ideas do not represent an exact parallel to the kinds of conflict situations Cobb is addressing. For one, she is concerned more with the interpersonal than the intrapersonal. For another, although there may well be a good measure of “repetition” at work in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts, it is not (p.ix) necessarily to the exclusion of quite conscious memories and stories; indeed, these often go hand in hand. For another still, the notion that “one cannot overcome an enemy who is absent or not within range” would appear to be less applicable in the broader context of conflict resolution, for the “enemy” may in fact be quite visible and very much within range. It might also be noted that the idea of “overcoming” the enemy is hardly ideal when it comes to conflict resolution! But the feared or distrusted or hated Other is not the only enemy to be considered in the process of conflict resolution. One’s very own storylines— about the Other, about “one’s own,” and about the relationship between the two —can also be the enemy. These do need to be “overcome” for any significant progress to be made. There will likely be resistance, and it will have to be identified as such. But the task at hand is not only to identify the resistance. “One must allow the patient time to become more conversant with this resistance with which he has now become acquainted, to work through it, to overcome it, by continuing, in defiance of it, the analytic work” (p. 155). Only then can true progress be made. Let me stay with Freud for just a few moments longer. Working-through, although necessary, is hardly sufficient in achieving the desired therapeutic ends. In addition, there must be reconstruction and renarration: a new story must be fashioned out of the remains of the old. One may be tempted to frame this process in purely pragmatic terms, that is, as a process of fashioning a better, more serviceable story than the one that had been there before. If only the process was this simple! Analyses would be a good deal briefer, as would the kinds of conflicts that Cobb addresses. What else is needed then? Freud provides some clues when he responds to the question of what happens when the analyst offers a faulty interpretation—or “construction” (1964 [1937])—to the patient. “No damage is done if..we make a mistake and offer the patient a wrong construction as the probable historical truth. A waste of time is, of course, involved, and anyone who does nothing but present the patient with false combinations will neither create a very good impression on him nor carry the treatment very far; but a single mistake of the sort can do no harm” (p. 261). As he goes on to explain, “If the construction is wrong, there is no change in the patient; but if it is right or gives an approximation to the truth, he reacts to it with an unmistakable aggravation of his symptoms and of his general condition.” As such, “Only the further course of the analysis enables us to decide whether our constructions are correct or unserviceable” (p. 265). Now, if narrative psychology has demonstrated anything at all through its years of existence, it is that ideas like “right” or “correct” interpretation—not to mention “the truth”—are to be questioned, radically. In the world of narrative, Page 3 of 5

Foreword there is no wholly unvarnished truth, no view from nowhere, no pristine thing, able to be apprehended equally by all who can see or hear. Narratives aren’t things. And yet, following Freud’s lead, there does exist a “pressure,” a narrative pressure, one might say, to work toward the truth—or, at the very least, toward more complete and inclusive stories than those customarily told. “On the (p.x) global stage, the war between Al-Qaeda and the West,” for instance, “rests on the (rather incomplete) story on either side about the Other; immediately after 9/11, the U.S. administration began to tell a story about ‘why they hate us,’” the root cause supposedly being “their fear of our freedom and envy for our wealth. “This story,” Cobb continues, “has not only provided a rationale for war in Afghanistan, but also has been used, retrospectively, postinvasion, to justify the war and continued U.S. occupation in Iraq.” There is a kind of double violence entailed in this story, according to Cobb: “In symmetry with the destructive force of what this narrative affords or makes possible in terms of violence, it is equivalently violent in terms of what it constrains—we, in the West, are disabled from exploring the Other(s) in all their complexity, doomed, in a very tragic sense, to create the enemy we then seek to destroy.” Needless to say, these “Others” have their stories as well, ones that are equally violent, not only in terms of what they explicitly call for, but in what they say about “us,” our motives and our characters. Each side fuels the other, and the cycle continues, even intensifies. Whatever else might be needed to end the cycle of violence—and Cobb is surely attentive to the myriad factors involved— new, more complete, and indeed truthful stories are required. Without these, there can only be repetition. Through the work of “critical narrative practice,” we can find ways “to differentiate the ‘better’ from the ‘worse’ stories.” From this perspective, it should be emphasized, truth is more than a matter of representational accuracy or correspondence to the (ostensible) facts. It is a matter of adequacy, human adequacy, both empirical and ethical, at once. Seen from one angle, Speaking of Violence seeks to propose more effective means of conflict resolution, rooted in narrative. But as Cobb goes on to suggest, “a focus on narrative would do more than make conflict resolution practices more effective; it would also encourage the development of an ethics of practice equipped to favor the development of stories that redress marginalization and anchor people’s capacity for moral agency.” For Cobb, therefore, a narrative approach to conflict resolution is not to be seen as one more technical tool to be added to the current store, one more instrument for “mediation” or “facilitation.” By being rooted in substantive human concerns—marginalization and oppression, degradation and suffering—it is a vehicle for discerning what is ultimately at stake in political conflict and, in turn, for showing that resolving such conflict cannot take place apart from the ethical realm. To curb narrative

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Foreword violence, a narrative ethics is required. Speaking of Violence tells us not only why this is so, but how this ethics might be advanced in serving human needs. I don’t want to say much more about Sara Cobb’s outstanding work. How it will impact the field of conflict resolution, I cannot say; those closer to the field will surely know better. What I can say is that it is bound to have a strong and enduring impact on narrative psychology. One reason is her sophisticated use of narrative as an analytic lens for understanding human thought and behavior. Another, again, is her vision of psychology itself. To her credit, she doesn’t (p.xi) explicitly state what this vision is; there are no proclamations here, no oracular pronouncements. Instead, she embodies this vision in the very meticulous, careful, and caring work she engages in throughout the book. I characterized it earlier as “omni-disciplinary.” This is surely one of its virtues. In the end, however, it is also supra-disciplinary, in the sense of transcending its moorings in specific fields of inquiry. Put simply, it is a work of thought, oriented toward some of those fundamental questions that are at the heart of the human condition. It is also a work of compassion and is animated throughout by an abiding concern for the fate and well-being of people and of the human community more generally. I therefore consider Speaking of Violence to be a most fitting and welcome entry into the Explorations in Narrative Psychology series. References Bibliography references: Freud, S. (1958). Remembering, repeating, and working-through. Standard Edition XII, 147–156 (originally published 1914). Freud, S. (1964). Constructions in analysis. Standard Edition XXIII, 257–269 (originally published 1937).

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Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Introduction Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This introduction to the book argues for the importance of a narrative lens for conflict analysis and resolution and considers how this lens enables connections, rather than divisions, across the “local” and the “international,” effectively breaking down that nomenclature as a way of categorizing conflict. Stories matter. They have gravitas; they are grave. They have weight. They are concrete. They materialize policies, institutions, relationships, and identities that circulate locally and globally, anywhere and everywhere. The story told by Israel about Hamas is not just a set of words, it is an account of the history, in the present, toward a selected or preferred scenario that rationalizes walls, continued settlements, ongoing humiliations via the patchwork of checkpoints, and authorizes violence. Likewise, the Palestinian story about “Nakba,” the catastrophic event that established the state of Israel and disenfranchised the Palestinians, is a story, not in the sense of a representation of the events themselves but in the sense that it creates underground tunnels, it authorizes networks of insurgency while legitimizing Hamas for its role in reducing suffering within the Palestinian community, defining the contours of Palestinian identity itself. The Middle East conflict, as a story, is foundational and mythic, primordial, within both the Middle East and the Western worlds. It helps anchor the divisions across the world, between religions, nations, and cultures, and is toxic to peace everywhere for this reason. This conflict, like all conflicts, is a function of the stories that are told, retold, and foretold about the conflict (Harré and van Langenhove, 1991, 1999; Pearce, Page 1 of 21

Introduction 2008; Tan and Moghaddam, 1999; Winslade and Monk, 2000). And, indeed, one can argue that the persistence of this conflict is our collective failure to treat it as the mythic struggle for life and legitimacy that the stories about it reveal. It is not just a conflict over specific issues—and there are many. Even if there could be consensus regarding the “right of return” or the settlements, the conflict narratives, breeding “brittle” relationships, remain. Indeed, the specific issues associated with the conflict, such as borders, settlements, and the fate of Jerusalem, arise from the conflict narratives, the overlapping and layered stories that provide a plot sequence, a set of characters, and moral frameworks that authorize and legitimize a particular history, a given identity. And these stories are not simply representations of history, even though they operate as if that is all they do. Rather, these stories provide the architecture for hate and distrust at all levels of social relations, from international to interpersonal conflicts (Entman, 1991; Halverson, 2004; Porat, 2004; Tilly, 1998). (p.4) On the global stage, the war between Al-Qaeda and the West rests on the (rather incomplete) story on either side about the Other. Immediately after 9/11, the U.S. administration began to tell a story about “why they hate us”—the cause of the hatred was their fear of our freedom and envy for our wealth. In what Jackson calls the “myth of exceptional suffering,” the U.S. administration and the pressadvanced a story in which the United States was an exceptional victim (Jackson, 2005). This story has not only provided a rationale for war in Afghanistan, but has also been used, retrospectively, post-invasion, to justify the war and continued U.S. occupation in Iraq. In symmetry with the destructive force of what this narrative affords or makes possible in terms of violence, it is equivalently violent in terms of what it constrains—we, in the West, are disabled from exploring the Other(s) in all their complexity, doomed, in a very tragic sense, to create the enemy we then seek to destroy. And, of course, on the Other side, the Muslim “terrorists,” a largely undefined category of Others made up of anyone (presumably Muslim) intent on violence against the West (the United States), continue to resist and confront the West, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Southeast Asia, for example. In a terrible cycle of irony, the narratives create the evidence for their own presence and persistence (Jackson, 2005). However, the interventions intended to eliminate or control terrorists, ranging from wars to prisons such as Guantanamo, to aerial bombing, to counterinsurgency strategies, have clearly increased the antipathy within the Muslim world toward the United States, and, in fact, there is some empirical evidence that the Global War on Terror (GWOT) is responsible for actually increasing terrorists attacks (Sheehan, 2007). Lake (2002, cited in Sheehan) has also argued that the policy of “preemption” has mobilized extremists and contributed to their consolidation, enabling them to increase their resources and their organizational strength.

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Introduction Efforts have been made, on the part of the West, at building “understanding” within the Muslim world. These have appeared under the banner of “public diplomacy” and have been efforts to market the United States in particular and democracy more broadly; these efforts to gain “soft power” (Nye, 2004) are not focused on increasing the understanding of the “terrorists” by the United States, but rather they are intended to influence “hearts and minds,” reducing insurgencies and/or cooperation with the enemies of the West. Public diplomacy has not, however, yet focused attention on the dynamics of the broad cultural narratives that shape the conflict between these two cultures. And yet, without an understanding of not only the narratives of extremists and those who advocate terrorism and without reflective awareness of how those narratives are, in turn, fueled by the narratives told by the United States (the West), strategies for reducing terrorism will continue to focus on control and containment while public diplomacy is deployed as an effort to increase soft power. Clearly, these global narratives that criss-cross the world play a critical role in the production of violence, as well as in the international policies and practices that seek to contain or reduce it. (p.5) Local conflicts can also be understood in terms of the narratives told and retold by parties to the conflict. In the Niger Delta region, parties themselves explain the violence in the region via what can be called the “criminal narrative,” referring to the theft of oil by militias creating a black market where illegal trading of weapons and oil cause the conflict between the government, backed by the multinational oil companies and the armed groups. In this story, the militias are a criminal force, motivated by greed and a lust for power. Conversely, the “social justice” narrative, told by locals in the community and militia leaders authorizes the use of force to right the wrongs done to the communities in the south over the past sixty years. During that time, the story goes, the government and the multinational oil companies robbed the south of its natural resource, polluted its communities, and failed to compensate the people for that resource. In this narrative, the people of the Delta region have been forced to take matters into their own hands in an effort to gain a greater share of the wealth that has been stolen from them. The “environmental justice” narrative, a permutation of the “social justice” narrative, adds to the complexity of the conflict as international environmental groups echo the narrative of the local people, who live with the open flames from nearby refineries. And, finally, there are many within Nigeria, as well as in the international community, who account for the conflict using ethnicity as a frame; this account tells the story of the historical struggle between tribes and attributes current violence to those divisions. Of course this “ethnic” narrative disqualifies the logic and legitimacy of the social and environmental justice narratives and sidelines the role of the multinational oil companies altogether. The narrative politics of this conflict are extremely complex because, not only are there multiple narratives at play, each struggling for elaboration and legitimacy, but there are also local, national, and Page 3 of 21

Introduction international actors, and the narratives at play are variously, even if predictably, advanced and defended by speakers and their affiliated groups. But it is not just that there are different and competing narratives in the Niger Delta; narrative politics takes place in a context that Watts (2005) calls the “oil complex,” as a set of institutional practices, struggles to marginalize, co-opt, and otherwise delegitimate the narratives from those that would oppose it. The narrative playing field is not “level”; institutional authority (note the root word “author”) regulates the public sphere in which narratives of dissent, alternative to the state narrative, can appear. Banished narratives or “hidden transcripts” are the foundation for resistance (Scott, 1990) if not violence. As Scarry (1987) has noted, violence fills up the spaces where words are not allowed. Within the United States, a “local” conflict erupted in Manassas, Virginia over the “Rule of Law Resolution” that was passed in 2007, which allowed police to stop anyone and conduct a background check of immigration status using a “probable cause” standard; Help Save Manassas, a local citizen group, mobilized the community in favor of this legislation, with an overarching narrative that illegal immigrants were taking jobs from citizens, committing crimes, (p.6) infesting the community with gangs, and getting access to services supported by tax dollars. The human rights community, along with Latino advocates, told a different story: This country was founded and built by immigrants, and these immigrants, regardless of their legal status, pay taxes and contribute to the diversity of the community. Further, the Resolution dramatically reduced the civil liberties of all citizens and promoted racial/ethnic profiling, thus fostering discrimination. Even though the legislation was amended in 2008 for practical reasons having to do with the complexity of implementation, the narrative struggle persists; the community continues to be polarized. Further, the narrative about illegal immigrants began to resonate with communities all over the country, giving it momentum and anchoring the emergence of other groups, permutations of Help Save Manassas. And, in turn, this narrative has resonance across many parts of the world. Like the narratives that characterize the conflict between extremists and the West, these narratives regarding immigration are both local and global. Indeed, the narratives of inclusion/exclusion demarcate the boundaries of belonging, citizenship, and community itself (Wodak, 2006). They are always local in the sense that narrative conflict is performed in a particular setting, with particular people. However, these are also always global in that they operate as narrative resources that are “downloaded” into particular settings as sense-making devices, structuring what Taylor refers to as “the intersubjective web of meaning” on which both consensus and dissensus are constructed (Taylor, 1985). Consider the stories that defined the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004; this event unleashed violence against local Page 4 of 21

Introduction mosques, as well as some churches, and polarized the region—“autochtonen” (those of Dutch descent) expressed alarm over the militancy of a portion of the large immigrant Muslim population, while the Muslim community reacted not only with fear but with a narrative about their own exclusion within Dutch society. The post-9/11 narratives colonized the meaning of the murder of van Gogh and today the Netherlands still struggles to reconcile the narratives of the autochtonen with those of the Muslim community; the government is working to design policies and processes that address the needs of what has been named “problem neighborhoods” (Smetsand Uyl, 2008). To complete the tracing of narrative across levels of conflict, interpersonal conflicts are also a function of the narratives that are enacted. As many scholars have noted (Killian, 2002; Labov and Waletzky, 1967; Sarbin, 1986; Walzer and Oles, 2003; White and Epston, 1990; White and Taket, 2000), the stories that individuals tell about Self and Other, in everyday conversations, structure the nature of interpersonal interactions (Shotter, 2008), as well as intrapsychic dynamics (Spence, 1986). The divorcing couple, family business conflicts, organizational conflicts, and sibling conflicts, as well as family conflicts of all kinds, all are enacted in conversations, within a network divided into “us” and “them,” known as the “enmity system” (Coleman et al., 2007). The division between (p.7) people within this system is a boundary constructed by the story about the conflict and its associated issues. For example, a conflict in a family business can be analyzed in terms of the stories that are told, to whom, about what, as stories of suffering, loss, and pain. In one such case in Latin America, there was a set of siblings whose uncle controlled their (considerable) assets, after their own father died early. Over time, the uncle clearly began to favor his own children, doling out cash, professional opportunities, and special privileges to them. As the siblings grew, so did their story of displacement and exclusion. As these narratives developed and hardened, one of the siblings began to wear reflective sunglasses and Tshirts and march in antigovernment protests. The uncle admonished his nephew, who then openly and repeatedly defied his uncle. At one point, homemade bombs were thrown over the wall of the uncle’s family compound, in broad daylight. All of this had dire consequences for the financial opportunities of the siblings. They were effectively banished from the family business, and there were no formal laws in place that could adequately restore these siblings to their prior standing, with access to collective assets. The uncle clearly had a negative story about the siblings anchored by the central character, the errant brother, whereas the siblings felt themselves “imprisoned” in their uncle’s illegal regime. These stories were not only toxic to the relationships across the entire family, but they also had serious material consequences for both the group of siblings, who kept trying to control their “radical” brother, but also for the uncle, who was repeatedly called out in public by “el mal educado.” Although some in the field of conflict analysis and resolution would not consider a “family feud” a real Page 5 of 21

Introduction conflict, for those involved, it has the markers of violence, exclusion, and displacement in which relationships, assets, and the future are at stake. Furthermore, narratives of violence maraud across the relational field, infecting even the intrapsychic space, debilitating a person’s capacity to be an agent in his own life, rupturing his relation to his own narrative processes. Not only do individuals “smooth” narratives, as Spence (1986) has noted, editing out portions that might destabilize their own legitimacy, but their development depends on their ability to story their Other as legitimate, which in turn reflects on their capacity to manage and resolve conflicts (Goboda-Madikizeal, 2008). As Bauer, McAdams, and Pals (2008) have noted, “happiness” itself is a function of the nature of the narratives we tell about Self and Other. In addition to the narrative complexity at the intrapersonal level, interpersonal narrative dynamics, enacted in conversations, reflect the tremendous complexity of conversations at the intersection of global, local, interpersonal, and intrapersonal narratives. These “conversations” can be thought of as interactions between speakers, exchanges that may not be face-to-face or exchanges in which only one interlocutor participates, imagining their Other, “conversing” via the media, in blogs, or in art, as well as in all manner of public forums. I am here (p.8) using the notion of “conversation” not as the discrete turn-taking between parties, consistent with conversational analysis, but rather referring to the struggle over meaning, in which parties to that process offer interpretations in response to Others, and these interpretations become the context for the next round of what Bateson called “proposals” of how I see you seeing me, seeing you (Bateson, 1979; Laing, 1998). Because conversations-as-proposals are the domain for the enactment of narrative, the distinction between “micro,” “mezzo,” and “macro” is not only unnecessary, because these conversations populate all these levels, but it is problematic, as it implies that macro is more critical, providing context for “lower levels.” Although it is certainly the case that large-scale narratives do provide context for interaction at mezzo and micro levels, it is also the case that the micro-level conversations where narratives are adopted, elaborated, and promulgated are extremely critical to the macro level. Local actors develop what Hajer (1995) refers to as “storylines” in the course of addressing conflict or problems, drawing on the discursive resources that are present and available, explaining the past and forecasting a future. In turn, these discursive resources are comprised of event sequences, characters, and themes that circulate in their culture; the “origin” of these resources, although archeologically traceable, is less important to this project than their deployment. For this reason, I resist, in this book, following the “levels of analysis” approach and prefer to develop case studies that exemplify the circulation of narratives as conversations across global, local, organizational, and interpersonal contexts, accenting, where data permit, the circulation of stories across these contexts as well. In this mediated Page 6 of 21

Introduction age, conversations between people careen around the globe, contributing to break down the distinction between discrete levels of analysis. The “Global War on Terror” narrative populates the stories in the Niger Delta conflict, and those narratives ricochet off discussions of security and economic development in Africa, which reverberate in conversations at affected oil companies and a host of national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with human rights, environmental justice, aid, peacemaking, and more. The effort to understand the level of analysis is an effort to try to isolate the origin of meaning itself or to try to understand meaning as though it could be contained by the “level” itself. The conversations to which I refer are not conversations over the color of tablecloths. They are not ordinary conversations, but are instead extraordinary precisely because of what is at stake—literally life, well-being, and the access to resources and rights. These are conversations in which violent narratives are in motion, unleashed onto a social context and, all too often, uncontained, if not uncontainable. These are conversations about “differends” (Lyotard, 1989), narratives that “uncover and find idioms for wrongs, to remember and reconstitute publically the traces and remainders of horrific events” (Smith, 2008). (p.9) As Smith (2008, p. 167) has noted, any discussion of the “differends” (wrongs suffered and silenced) is not only a conversation in which there is a struggle over meaning—meaning that does not originate in that particular conversation—but also it is a conversation in which meaning itself is uncontrollable, multifaceted, and often opaque. These are conversations in which power is visible, where irony abounds, and the materiality of discourse, of narrative, as a doing, as a practice, is a “fact,” as in “factum,” or “something done.”1 Communication theorists have studied these practices. They have noted that anything that is said is structured by the frame provided by the context (Austin, 1975; Pearce, 2008); they have noted that anything that is said is regulated by the constitutive and regulative rules that govern interaction in that context (Huspek, 1994; Pearce, 2008); they have explored the ethnomethods associated with specific cultures, in terms of language pragmatics (Carbaugh, 2005; Wodak, 2006). These lines of research, and the pragmatic tradition from which they arise, presume that speech is enacted by agents who are “getting on” in the Wittgensteinian (1953) sense, mobilizing language and stories toward preferred outcomes and relationships (Searle, 1997). But what the pragmatic approach to discourse does not accent is that agency itself is all too often a casualty of conflict. In order to “get on,” people must be able to tell a story in which they are positioned as agents, able to describe and account for their own victimization, able to respond humanely to the stories of Page 7 of 21

Introduction others. However, conflicts are precisely the context in which the capacity for action, for narrative action, is carefully circumscribed by institutional practices (Smith, 2008), by master narratives (Johnson, 2008), by structural and physical violence (Burton, 1996; Galtung, 1990). Narrative and discourse are not only practices in which the social is constituted and relationships negotiated, as the pragmatists would have it; they are highly political processes by which some forms of life thrive and others are banished. But the political process of narrative erasure, marginalization, or colonization is not simply a process in which the powerful work strategically, in line with their own interests, to reduce the agentic narrative capacity of their Others. If this were the case, narrative would be the instrumental manifestation of the intentions of the powerful, and the politics of narrative in conflict processes would collapse back into game theory and behavioral economics—narratives would be the surface manifestation of the deep structure, the intentions of actors. Although narratives can certainly be the instruments of the powerful, manifestations of intentions to dominate, narratives are, in and of themselves, discursive “matter” that, obedient to social structure and cultural capital, provide the habitus that affords and constrains what is (p.10) possible (Bourdieu, 1977). And this habitus appears in conversations, in talk, in interaction. This book explores the politics of narrative processes in the context of conflicts across global, local, organizational, and interpersonal contexts. First, I offer a theoretical framework for understanding conflict as a narrative process, describing both the structural and dynamical features of conflict narratives. Drawing on narrative theory and language pragmatics, episodic structures, character roles, and the moral themes of conflict narratives will be explored in a set of case studies. Dynamical features of conflict narratives, including critical moments and turning points, as well as the production of liminal phases, will be described. Part I will end with a critique of narrative pragmatics and positioning theory; drawing on Arendt, I will explore “radicalized” narratives that form the basis for cultural archetypes that contain and manage discourse, debate, and dialogue, severely delimiting our collective capacity for the deliberative processes that Carlos Nino (1998), John Dewey (1929), and others (Hirst, 1994) had hoped would be the foundation for democracy itself. Against the backdrop of “radicalized narratives,” Part II offers a theory of narrative violence that accounts for and describes the marginalization of narratives through a series of discursive practices. Following a critique of Habermas’s (1996) approach to emancipation, I will offer a normative view of narrative, one that will build on the work of Nelson (2001), Scarry (1987), Jabri (1996), Arendt (1998), Oliver (2001), Lara (2007), and others; this normative view will be the foundation for evaluating and interrogating conflict narratives

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Introduction and will provide the framework for a narrative perspective on power, a critical theory of narrative. Again, I will be drawing on cases to illustrate the model. Finally, in Part III, I will explore the implications of this narrative lens on conflict dynamics for conflict resolution practice, advancing a theory of narrative transformation that is founded on a normative approach to narrative. This normative narrative model provides a framework for assessing narratives as regards their ethical and aesthetic characteristics and features, in the context of conflict processes and in light of the critical narrative theory discussed in Part II. The implications of normative narrative theory, as a revolution of conflict resolution practice, will be discussed. My goal in Part III is to provide a framework for narrative practice that provides the foundation for a critical analysis, as well as a framework for ethical intervention.

Advancing a Theory of Practice: Narrative Contribution to Conflict Resolution My motivation for this book, more broadly, is to build on the excellent work that is being done in narrative theory and practice, across many disciplines, in order to connect this work to conflict analysis and resolution. Not only is there an (p. 11) increasing body of research on narrative processes, but there is an increasing gap between the approaches to conflict analysis and resolution, founded on game theory and augmented by social psychology, and the effective practice of conflict resolution as a practice in which the meanings that anchor conflict and constitute relational divisions evolve. But, more specifically, I hope this book, which outlines the contours of critical narrative theory, will provide the theoretical framework to assess and advance existing conflict resolution practices. At present, there are significant challenges to the resolution methods that presume that conflicts can be resolved via changes in attitudes or via meeting needs/interests as a function of negotiated settlements. We know that a large percentage of peace agreements collapse post-agreement (Stedman, Rothchild, and Cousens, 2002); we know that even when agreements are in place, the conflict between peoples can become “frozen,” as is the case in Bosnia (Borgen, 2007; Kemp, 2004); positive peace cannot be legislated. Although negotiation is certainly an advance over deterrence as a peace strategy, it is not a process that can easily adapt to the complexities of, for example, the U.S./Iran relationship, in which there is a history of violence, asymmetric power relations, and a vast difference in culture. “Negotiation” that presumes “rationality” is just as likely to contribute to escalations, as parties struggle to outline the conditions for any talks. All too often, failures in peace negotiations are attributed to the absence of “ripeness” or to the presence of “spoilers” who seek to continue the conflict for personal gain; although these explanations are certainly viable, they lay blame on the context and the parties for the failures of conflict resolution practice. And when there is “success,” it is also attributed to “hurting stalemates” (Zartman, 1995) Page 9 of 21

Introduction that generate the conditions for ripeness/readiness. The issue for the field of conflict resolution is not the viability of ripeness theory as an explanatory tool, but rather the underlying assumption that parties know and will rationally discern and address their interests/needs. The violence associated with terrorism is riddled with interest-based discourse. Either, as in the case of suicide bombers, experts continue to apply an “interestbased” discourse, framing “terrorists” as irrational (as a function of the misalignment of actions with interests) (Caplan, 2006) or they construe the interests of terrorists as seeking media attention and instilling fear/terror. However, in neither case have experts actually interviewed extremists in order to understand (stand under) the stories that the extremists themselves would tell, the stories that require violence and the generation of fear. In this context, the application of a negotiation paradigm and interest-based discourse by the West has not only been costly in terms of lives and money, but it has also very likely fueled the very narratives that undergird the violence itself. Increasing the effectiveness of conflict resolution will require the field to move beyond interestbased analysis toward understanding the dynamics of meaning making itself. (p.12) But a focus on narrative would do more than make conflict resolution practices more effective; it would also encourage the development of an ethics of practice equipped to favor the development of stories that redress marginalization and anchor people’s capacity for moral agency. Existing conflict resolution practices, such as mediation and facilitation, may be effective at generating agreements, but may themselves lack criteria for assessing either the ethics of the agreements (as parties to the conflict make those assessments themselves, often from within asymmetric power relations) or the evolution of the problematic relationship, if there was an evolution. Deliberative processes can indeed generate community as well as consensus, but they can just as easily cover over injustice and perpetuate marginalization, as Hajer and Wagenaar (2003) and others have shown. Other approaches to conflict resolution, such as problem-solving workshops, do indeed attend to the meanings that parties assign to problems and the associated construction of relationships. Problem-solving workshops have certainly been advanced by the field as a strategy for promoting understanding across divisions fueled by violence and hatred (Fisher, 1997; Kelman and Cohen, 1976). However, they all too often “symmetrize” the conflict and contribute to justify the relationships that are formed, even in the context of oppression and continued violence (Rouhana, 2004), even in the face of the complexities of “re entry”—participation in a problem-solving workshop can be read as “defection” from within a group, endangering the lives of those who participate (Pearson d’Estrée, Fast, Weiss, and Jakobsen, 2001). Even in the case in which the knowledge “transfer,” via re entry, is strategically orchestrated, there is still little work that evaluates the effectiveness or the ethics of the movement of Page 10 of 21

Introduction meaning/stories through networks. A more developed approach to narrative and conflict resolution would shift the grounds for problem-solving workshops and help link networks to narratives in practice. Dialogue is another important conflict resolution practice anchored in the exploration of meaning, but, like other practices, it cannot only cover over asymmetries—as dialogue itself is often advocated as a practice that foster “authentic” relations—it can also set up parties for a connection between “revelation/reflection” (as if sharing alone breeds understanding) and relational healing. Also, dialogue is often promoted as a means for obtaining consensus, as if communion would generate the grounds for addressing injustice, suffering, and oppression. Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of dialogue as a conflict resolution practice is the concept of “recognition” that lies at its heart, a concept I will review later in this book. Oliver (2001) has offered a powerful critique of the way parties “exchange” granting the Other status as a human being on the basis of similarities they see they have with the Other. Clearly “recognition” should not be a commodity to be traded in a dialogue process, but if we are to avoid the ethical dilemmas that Oliver has underlined, we need to advance the theory that undergirds the practice of dialogue. Attending to the nature of the stories that are constructed in a dialogue process would provide a method for tracking the (p.13) commodification of recognition and establish a narrative framework that fosters reflection and learning along with relational development. Deliberation, as a practice often twinned to dialogue, has a rich theoretical foundation linked to the pragmatics of meaning making. Habermas (2001) has provided a framework for deliberation as a practice core to democratic practice, enacted via the construction of ideal speech acts. Although a more thorough review of this contribution is included in this book, I am here making the point that this work has been, to date, one of the only efforts to provide a critical theoretical base for designing and evaluating deliberative processes, attending to meaning making. However, as McAfee’s (2009) analysis of deliberative practice reveals, the discourse of interest-based processes is retained even though there is also an abiding concern for the production of meaning in communities. There is new and important work being done on the production of meaning in deliberation in which scholar-practitioners are developing theories to account for reframing practices and the “negotiation” of meaning as communities come together to work through identity conflicts. Reviewed later in more detail, this line of research is drawing on narrative theory and developing a narrative lens on public policy practice. It is an excellent example of innovative research in deliberative process. Peacemaking is yet another conflict resolution practice aimed at relational development, outside the parameters of interest-based discourse. Described by Lederach (1998, 2005) and anchored in the nonviolent tradition of Gandhi and Page 11 of 21

Introduction Martin Luther King, Jr., peacemaking and peacebuilding are certainly critical to the resolution of protracted conflict and to the emergence of a sustainable positive peace. Peacemaking itself is grounded in an ethics of participation that seeks to ensure that the peace that emerges promotes equality among and across the parties, often twinned to processes promoting justice (Abu-Nimer, 2001a,b; MacGinty, 2008). Although there have been excellent examples of the successes of peacemaking (Dayton and Kriesberg, 2009), peace-making itself is increasing co-opted by counterinsurgency processes, such as those practiced in Iraq or those under development in Afghanistan; peacebuilding has become “nation-building” and is all too often aligned with the objectives (narratives) of the occupying force, as has been the case in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although Lederach (2005) and others (Cousens, Kumar, and Wermester, 2001; Jeong, 2005; Reychler and Paffenholz, 2001) have outlined the parameters of effective peacebuilding practices, the issues surrounding power and justice remain, the issues surrounding marginalization can persist, even as peace agreements are reached. Peacebuilding and peacemaking would both benefit practically and ethically from a redefinition anchored in narrative theory, tuned to the features of the stories that populate a given conflict and effective at fostering their evolution. Somalia provides a case in point: The power-sharing agreements that were negotiated in Somalia have not resolved the “meaningful” issues—relationships (p.14) continue to the damaged, and power-sharing has not led to reconciliation. As Nadler, Malloy, and Fisher (2008, p. 41) point out, powersharing agreements fall into the category of “instrumental reconciliation,” which seeks to promote trust through collaboration or cooperation. This is very different from a focus on what they term “socioemotional reconciliation,” which is designed to build trust by altering the way parties construct their sense of Self and their sense of the Other; these changes in identity, in turn, provide a foundation for a new relationship. It is clear that in instrumental reconciliation there is little evolution in the nature of the conflict narratives—collaboration is expected to be the force that creates those changes. In the case of Somalia, instrumental reconciliation has not worked—14 different reconciliation agreements did not heal the past or increase the presence of positive peace. But even in the case of socioemotional reconciliation, the theory about how identity is transformed through interaction/engagement is limited in terms of our understanding of how the meaning that undergirds the construction of identity evolves over time and, in a positive manner, in the context of a relationship that is historically violent. Although research has expanded our understanding of the process of reconciliation, it has yet to document the evolution of the stories parties tell, on the ground, about the conflict, about themselves, and their relation to others. Without this level of detail, we may presume reconciliation has taken root in a post-conflict environment on the basis Page 12 of 21

Introduction of evidence that there are acts of “forgiveness” (widely circulated in the media, as they were in the national reconciliation project in South Africa, set in motion by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC]) or collaborations in progress. These acts of reconciliation not only may be limited in nature, but they may also cover over ongoing resentment associated with marginalization. A narrative lens would enable analysts and interveners, who are working to promote reconciliation, to attend to the evolution (or lack thereof) of the stories told in a post-conflict region. Additionally, reconciliation processes are often critiqued for bypassing justice— transitional justice itself often relies on amnesty, and even when truth and reconciliation processes, such as the one in South Africa, foster forgiveness, social inequality and marginalization persist (Mendeloff, 2004; Nagy, 2004). Some have argued that “truth-telling” without accountability neither fosters reconciliation nor supports the emergence of justice (Gibson, 2004; Nattrass, 1999; Quezada, Rangel, and Pallais, 2006). And there have been many critiques of transitional justice processes for either failing to promote reconciliation, as in the case of Chile (Cobb and Wasunna, 2000), or failing to promote justice, as has been the critique of South Africa’s TRC, as well as many other cases in which “truth-telling” was either accompanied by amnesty or no effort was made to assign blame, as has been the case in many TRCs to date. Attention to the narrative structure and reconciliation processes would not only provide an additional assessment for evaluation of the process, it would also provide the foundation (p.15) for more effective, targeted policies that address and reduce marginalization and promote integration across identity divisions. In summary, the practices of conflict resolution available to practitioners today, although certainly effective in many cases, are inevitably limited, either because they are not able to effect agreements or alter the nature of the conflict, or because the peace that is created is partial, unstable under the weight of historical injustice and the threat of renewed violence. Although the interestbased discourse has certainly contributed to conflict resolution, it has fit, handin-glove, to the discourse of rational choice theory, which disattends to the presence and creation of meaning systems and their relation to violence. After all, it is not as though people can “create new meaning for mutual gain” when it is the existing frameworks for meaning that reproduce the conflict. One can argue that the glass is half empty and return to advocate “Realpolitik,” using the logic that conflict resolution practices are “soft” and flawed. However, I want to argue the opposite—the glass is more than half full. We have sets of conflict resolution practices, emerging around the world, in conflict and post-conflict zones, in business settings, in law, in formal diplomatic processes and grass-roots social movements. But what we need is a lens, a way of tracking the conversations in these practices that attends to the nature of the stories in play, as well as to their transformation. Narrative provides a “plumb line” for Page 13 of 21

Introduction understanding, tracking, and altering the meanings that anchor conflict and support its resolution. It provides a lens for both planning and assessing the nature of the change that is effected; and critical narrative practice goes further —it will provide us means to differentiate the “better” from the “worse” stories, and, in the process, it holds out the promise of an ethics for narrative approaches to conflict resolution that can address, if not redress, marginalization. What all the conflict resolution processes have in common is that they all are enacted in conversations in which stories are launched, elaborated, destabilized, and otherwise unfolded. Elaborating a theory of conflict and its resolution from a narrative lens will provide not only a foundational theory for the analysis of conflicts, but will also enable practitioners to assess the evolution of narratives on the basis of a narrative ethics that denounces narrative violence and calls for the reduction of marginalization, story by story, conversation by conversation. Conflict resolution does indeed aspire to more than simply settlement or agreement. In keeping with Burton’s aspirations (1996), it should seek to redress marginalization, which is the handmaiden of structural violence (Galtung, 1990; Laclau and Mouffe, 1987). In the end, it is my hope that this book will not only advance the theory of conflict resolution, but will also support the evolution of conflict resolution practice in line with an ethics for narrative engagement that addresses the critical workings of power and ideology. Moving beyond the very important observation that we live in narrative, this book provides a pragmatic and ethical framework for understanding conflicts and their evolution, (p.16) as narrative processes, as well as a framework for practice that recognizes and contains, as it reduces, narrative violence. Bibliography Bibliography references: Abu-Nimer, M. 2001a. “Conflict Resolution, Culture, and Religion: Toward a Training Model of Interreligious Peacebuilding.” Journal of Peace Research 38 (6): 685—704. ———. 2001b. Reconciliation, Justice, and Coexistence: Theory and Practice. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. Arendt, H 1998. The Human Condition. 1st ed. Chicago, IL: University Of Chicago Press. Aristotle. 1987. The Poetics of Aristotle: Translation and Commentary. Trans. Stephen Halliwell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Austin, J. L. 1975. How to Do Things with Words: Second Edition. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press. Page 14 of 21

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Introduction Hewstone, M., J. B. Kenworthy, E. Cairns,N. Tausch, J. Hughes, Tam, T. Voci, A., U. von Hecker, and C. Pinder. 2008. Stepping Stones to Reconciliation in Northern Ireland: intergroup Contact, Forgiveness, and Trust. In The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation, ed. A. Nadler, T. E. Malloy and J. D. Fisher, 199–226. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hirst, P. Q. 1994. Associative Democracy: New Forms of Economic and Social Governance. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. Huspek, M. 1994. “Oppositional Codes and Social Class Relations.” British Journal of Sociology 45 (1): 79–102. Jabri, V. 1996. “Textualising the Self: Moral Agency in Inter-Cultural Discourse.” Global Society 10 (1): 57–68. Jackson, R. 2005. Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counterterrorism. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Jakobson, R. 1960. Linguistics and Poetics. In Style in Language, ed. T. A. Sebeok, 351–377. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Jeong, Ho-Won 2005. Peacebuilding in Postconflict Societies: Strategy and Process. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Johnson, A. 2008. “‘From Where We’re Sat..’: Negotiating Narrative Transformation Through Interaction in Police Interviews with Suspects.” Text & Talk—An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse Communication Studies 28 (3): 327–349. Johnson, M. 2007. The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kelman, H. C., and S. P. Cohen. 1976. “The Problem-Solving Workshop: A SocialPsychological Contribution to the Resolution of International Conflicts.” Journal of Peace Research 13 (2): 79–90. Kemp, W. A. 2004. “The Business of Ethnic Conflict.” Security Dialogue 35 (1): 43–59. Killian, K. D. 2002. “Dominant and Marginalized Discourses in Interracial Couples’ Narratives: Implications for Family Therapists.” Family Process 41 (4): 603–618. Labov, W., and J. Waletzky. 1967. Narrative Analysis: Oral Versions of Personal Experience. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Laclau, E., and C. Mouffe. 1987. “Post-Marxism Without Apologies.” New Left Review 166: 79–106. Page 17 of 21

Introduction Laing, R.D. 1998. Knots: Selected Works of R.D. Laing. Reprint. New York: Routledge. Lakoff, G., and M. Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books. Lara, M. P. 2007. Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment. New York: Columbia University Press. Laws, D. 1996. “The Practice of Fairness.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 16 (2): 65–70. (p.18) ———. 2001. Enacting Deliberation: Speech and the Micro-Foundations of Deliberative Democracy. Paper presented at the EPCR Joint Sessions, Workshop 9. Grenoble. Laws, D., and M. Rein. 2003. Reframing Practice. In Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society, ed. M. A. Hajer, and H. Wagenaar Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.172–206. Lederach, J. P. 1998. Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace. ———. 2005. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. New York: Oxford University Press. Lerche, C. O. “Truth Commissions and National Reconciliation: Some Reflections on Theory and Practice.” Peace and Conflict Studies 7 (1): 2–23. Lyotard, J. F. 1989. Differend: Phrases in Dispute. 1st ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. MacGinty, R. 2008. “Indigenous Peace-Making Versus the Liberal Peace.” Cooperation and Conflict 43 (2): 139–163. McAfee, N. 2009. “Democracy’s Normativity.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 22 (4): 257–265. Mendeloff, D. 2004. “Truth-Seeking, Truth-Telling, and Postconflict Peacebuilding: Curb the Enthusiasm?” International Studies Review 6 (3): 355– 380. Nadler, A., T. Malloy, and J. D. Fisher. 2008. Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation: From Violent Conflict to Peaceful Co-Existence. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Nagy, R. 2004. “The Ambiguities of Reconciliation and Responsibility in South Africa.” Political Studies 52 (4): 709–727. Page 18 of 21

Introduction Nattrass, N. 1999. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Business and Apartheid: a critical evaluation.” African Affairs 98 (392): 373–391. Nelson, H. Lindemann 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Nino, C. S. 1998. Radical Evil on Trial. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Nye, J. S. 2004. Soft Power. New York: PublicAffairsPress. Oliver, Kelly. 2001. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pearce, W. Barnett. 2008. Making Social Worlds: A Communication Perspective. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Pearson d’Estrée, T. Fast, L. Weiss, J., and M. Jakobsen. 2001. “Changing the Debate About ‘Success’ in Conflict Resolution Efforts.” Negotiation Journal 17 (2): 101–113. Porat, D. A. 2004. “It’s Not Written Here, But This Is What Happened: Students’ Cultural Comprehension of Textbook Narratives on the Israeli-Arab Conflict.” American Educational Research Journal 41 (4): 963–996. Prince, G. 2003. A Dictionary of Narratology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Pruitt, D. G. 2007. “Readiness Theory and the Northern Ireland Conflict.” American Behavioral Scientist 50 (11): 1520–1541. Quezada, S. A., and Treviño Rangel, J. 2006. “Neither Truth nor Justice.” Latin American Perspectives 33 (2): 56–68. Reychler, L. and Paffenholz, T. eds. 2001. Peacebuilding: A Field Guide. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Rouhana, N. N. 2004. “Group Identity and Power Asymmetry in Reconciliation Processes: The Israeli-Palestinian Case.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 10 (1): 33–52. Sarbin, T. R., ed. 1986. Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct. New York: Praeger. Scarry, E. 1987. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Schopenhauer, A. 1966. The World as Will and Representation. New York: Dover.

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Introduction Scott, J. C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Searle, J. R. 1997. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press. Sheehan, I. S. 2007. When Terrorism and Counterterrorism Clash: The War on Terror and the Transformation of Terrorist Activity. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press. (p.19) Shotter, John. 2008. Conversational Realities Revisited: Life, Language, Body and World. 2nd ed. The Taos Institute Publications. Siegel, M. 1995. “More than Words: The Generative Power of Transmediation for Learning.” Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation 20 (4): 455–475. Smets, P., and M. den Uyl,. 2008. “The Complex Role of Ethnicity in Urban Mixing: A Study of Two Deprived Neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.” Urban Studies 45 (7): 1439–1460. Smith, A. R. 2008. “Dialogue in Agony: The Problem of Communication in Authoritarian Regimes.” Communication Theory (10503293") 18 (1) (February): 160–185. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00318.x. Spence, D. P. 1986. “Narrative Smoothing and Clinical Wisdom.” In Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct, ed. T. Sarbin, 211–232. New York: Praeger. Stedman, S. J., D. Rothchild, and E. M. Cousens. 2002. Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements. Reprint. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Stewart, G. 1999. Between Film and Screen: Modernism’s Photo Synthesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tan, Sui-Lan and F. M. Moghaddam. 1999. “Positioning in Intergroup Relations.” In Positioning Theory: Moral Contexts of Intentional Action, ed. R. Harré, and L. van Langenhove, 178–194. Oxford: Blackwell. Taylor, C. 1985. Human Agency and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tilly, C. 1998. “Contentious Conversation.” Social Research 65 (3): 491–510. Walzer, S., and T. P. Oles. 2003. “Managing Conflict After Marriages End: A Qualitative Study of Narratives of Ex-Spouses.” Families in Society 84 (2): 192– 200.

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Introduction Watts, M. 2006. “The Sinister Political Life of Community: Economies of Violence and Governable Spaces in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.” In The Romance of Community, ed. G. Creed, 101–142. Santa Fe, NM: SAR Press. Watts, M. J. 2005. “Righteous Oil? Human Rights, the Oil Complex, and Corporate Social Responsibility.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30 (1): 373–407. Watzlawick, P., J. Beavin Bavelas, and D. D. Jackson. 2011. Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes. New York: W.W. Norton. White, L., and A. Taket. 2000. “Exploring the Use of Narrative Analysis as an Operational Research Method: A Case Study in Voluntary Sector Evaluation.” Journal of the Operational Research Society 51 (6): 700–711. White, M., and D. Epston. 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Winslade, J. 2009. “Tracing Lines of Flight: Implications of the Work of Gilles Deleuze for Narrative Practice.” Family Process 48 (3): 332–346. Winslade, J., and G. D. Monk. 2000. Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Wittgenstein, L. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell Pub. Wodak, R. 2006. “‘Doing Politics’: The Discursive Construction of Politics.” Journal of Language & Politics 5 (3): 299–303. Zakaria, F. 2001. “The Politics Of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?” Newsweek, October 14. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2001/10/14/the-politics-ofrage-why-do-they-hate-us.html. Zartman, I. 1995. Cooperative Security: Reducing Third World Wars. 1st ed. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Notes:

(1) See the dictionary definition of “factum” at http://oxforddictionaries.com/ definition/english/factum.

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Speaking of Violence

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Speaking of Violence Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter is intended to situate the rest of the book with a discussion of the materiality of narrative and the complexity of narrating violence within conflicts as well as the conflict resolution process. Thus, this framework sets the stage for the rest of the book by grounding the discussion of narrative and conflict on the issues that complicate both the pragmatics and politics of narrative dynamics in conflict processes. Illustrative examples will include narratives from the conflict in Somalia as well as narratives from a conflict in the US over immigration. Keywords:   materiality, witnessing, narrative violence, state of exception, language of agency

In the summer of 2008, in Prince William County, Virginia, The Rule of Law Resolution was passed that authorized the local police to check the immigration status of anyone encountered during the course of any routine police work, such as during traffic stops or responses to disturbance of the peace.1 Persons who did not have immigration documents that permitted them to be in the United States, known locally as “illegal immigrants,” were to be arrested and deported. Prior to its passage, at packed televised public hearings,2 some speakers wept, reminding others that they, too, were once immigrants; others called those who supported The Resolution “racists.” The supporters of The Resolution, by far the dominant voice, blamed illegal immigrants for gang violence and linked the immigration issue to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. One woman told a narrative about how afraid her elderly mother was to go outside, given that her immigrant neighbors drank beer in their front yard. Meanwhile, those who supported the immigrant community protested outside of City Hall; they put up a billboard called the “Liberty Wall” on a prominent corner in the community accusing The Page 1 of 29

Speaking of Violence Resolution’s supporters of racism and linking the immigration issue to Jim Crow laws against African Americans and the annihilation of Native Americans. “Help Save Manassas”3 began as a local group to organize support for The Resolution in the community; they held public meetings where they told narratives about how illegal immigrants were taking their jobs and increasing the crime rate. The Resolution was eventually amended, on the basis of financial and legal concerns,4 to allow police to check the immigration status only of those who were actually arrested. However, the damage was done. Immigrants fled the community. Tax revenues plummeted. And the deep divisions between supporters of (p.21) The Resolution and those opposed to it became a stable fracture, solidifying the polarization of the community. Throughout the discussion and public deliberation, there was one group whose voice was not able by its absence—that of the immigrant community itself. As the Washington Post noted5: “Latino immigrants have been exploited by ungrateful, racist white residents who took advantage of their labor and now want them to leave.” Among the few immigrant voices raised in protest was that of Gaudencio Fernandez, a local resident who authored the billboard message linking racism and violence against Native Americans and African Americans to anti-immigrant sentiment in the community. Fernandez and members of his family were very vocal in expressing their antipathy to The Resolution, but they were unique in their community. During the public hearings, hour upon hour of testimony was heard from members of the community, but there were very few speakers who self-identified as “immigrants.” Narratives from immigrants themselves about their experience of living in the community, about their experience of how the immigration issue was discussed and debated, and about the impact of The Resolution on their lives were blatantly missing. The nature of the narratives that are told, and those that remain untold, reflect and recreate the conflict that unfolded in that Virginia community. This chapter addresses that terribly paradox: Violence begets narratives of suffering that recreate the conditions that led to the violence. How can people account for suffering—speak about violence—when that process is either impossible, for reasons I will detail in this chapter, or contributes to more violence and violation? And if we cannot narrate violence, or if, in the narration, we contribute to violation, how is violence to be made known, to be made public? And if it cannot be made public, how can the past be judged, and through those judgments, create reflections that can support the very context of deliberation, if not of law and community itself? I review the research that contributes to our understanding of the relation between pain and language, between violence and narrative, noting that violence and pain inevitably escape the containing power of discourse, of narrative.

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Speaking of Violence This is also related to the complexity of witnessing: It is not simply that violence resists or disrupts narrative, it is also that the process of being present to narratives of violation and suffering poses its own problems. The limits of discourse and the process of witnessing do not, however, absolve us of the problem of how (p.22) to account for suffering because the narratives that are told are material—they matter. They are inscribed on bodies, institutionalized, and enshrined in cultural practices. For this reason, it is critical to develop the knowledge needed for phronesis,6 practical wisdom relative to “speaking of violence” so that narratives can be nurtured to support sound political judgments in the public sphere that reduce violence and generate the conditions necessary for deliberation and democracy itself. In the discussion that follows, the relation between violence and narrative will be explored as a theoretical framework for narrative pragmatics.

Narrative and the Social Construction of the World In general, the field of narrative studies has contributed greatly toward anchoring our understanding of narrative. Bruner (1986) has noted that our social world is composed of narratives, that the “mind” itself is narrative in nature. We grasp the world as “narrative”7; experience is structured via the act of sequencing events linked through a logic of action, populating these events with characters, embedding these characters in a moral framework such that their actions not only become sensible, but the point of the narrative—or what Labov (1997) refers to as “the evaluation”—becomes clear. The human condition is the condition of narrative (Polkinghorne, 1988); we are the narratives we tell (Gergen, 1988). Narrative is not only constitutive of the human psyche, it is also foundational to interaction in families, communities, organizations, and nations, as well as to international relations (Bamberg and Andrews, 2004; Barry, 1997; Charon and Montello, 2002; Cobb, 1994; Drexler, 2006; Einhorn, 2000; Hajer and Wagenaar, 2003; Harré and Moghaddam, 2003; M. Levi, 2002; Maines, 1999; Mitchell, 1981; Nelson, 2001; Rappaport, 2000; Roe, 1992; Rotberg, 2006; Sköldberg, 1994; Sluzki, 1992; Soliva, 2007; Tololyan, 1987; Tripp, 2001; van Wynsberghe, 2001; Winslade and Monk, 2000; 2008). Consistent with the tenets of social constructionism (Berger and Luckmann, 1967), the social world is organized and structured on the basis of both narratives “lived” and narratives “told” (Pearce and Littlejohn, 1997). The “lived” narratives are those that structure the nature of experience itself, often sustained by the scaffold provided to us by our culture; the “told” narratives are those we elaborate with others over a lifetime. This is a useful distinction because it allows (p.23) for the presence of what Scott (1990) called “hidden transcripts” that structure the nature of the social world in any given context. In this sense, we “arrive” at narratives we did not make—we may tell the narratives, but we do not author them because they are, in many ways, provided Page 3 of 29

Speaking of Violence to, if not forced on, us. From this perspective, we live in narratives that we tell but that we do not make (by ourselves). Authorship is partial and dependent on cultural resources and rules. But, given the dynamical nature of the narratives told, we also have little control over their content or the process of their emergence. Bateson (1987) described interaction as a set of interlocking “proposals” for a relationship; each and every thing that is said is composed, he argued, of two levels—the level of the content of what is said and the relational level, which functions to propose a certain relationship between the speaker and the listener/audience. Relational proposals can be accepted, rejected, or modified. Take, for example, a question from a child to its mother: The question will likely carry with it a proposal for a relationship in which the mother makes decisions and has the privilege to do so. In turn, when that child makes a demand to its mother, the relational proposal is often one that carries the child’s privilege to make decisions and the mother’s to carry them out. Independent of the particulars, assuming that relational proposals are always under development, the nature of any narrative will always itself be under negotiation, particularly in conflict contexts.8 Given the dynamic nature of narrative production (which is elaborated in Chapter 3), “told” narratives are rarely under the total control of speakers; this is particularly obvious when considering that “told” narratives live beyond any immediate interaction because they circulate and reverberate in social networks (Boje, 2001; Hanninen, 2004). From this perspective, we live in narratives that we do not make (lived narratives) and cannot control (told narratives). This seldom processed and acknowledged “fact” of narrative is particularly dramatic, if not tragic, in the context of conflict.

Narrative and Conflict At the heart of any conflict are narratives, some spoken clearly, loudly, persistently, even articulately, backed by science and technology, and others seemingly absent or shriveled, partial, yet dense with meaning, materialized only through the presence of a wall, a shrine, a fire, or the macheted arm of a young woman. The transformation of meaning and relationships, related to the evolution of (p.24) the narratives at the heart of a conflict, occurs over time and requires engagement, interaction and meaning making. Although it is the case that conflicts can be transformed without interaction between parties—time passes, new actors enter the scene to rewrite the narrative and create new futures—in many cases, conflicts are protracted, “frozen” in time, because there is no evolution of meaning. Narratives must be told if they are to evolve; however, telling the narrative is no guarantee that it will evolve—its evolution depends on the conditions under which it is told. There are many institutionalized spaces set up to elaborate the narratives at the heart of a conflict, such as courtrooms, public hearings, and parliamentary sessions; in these settings, narratives are presented, contested, elaborated and, Page 4 of 29

Speaking of Violence on occasion, transformed. The telling and retelling of narratives, the development of explanations and the creation of new narrative logics and narrative lines, is part of any negotiation process in which narratives are evaluated, judged, and adopted as scenarios moving toward a future that is, itself, under development. This is the dream narrative of law and democracy. People have competing or different interests, they come together to share their ideas about what is or could be, they learn about themselves and others, they negotiate their differences, and, in majoritarian processes, authorize their choices through voting. Dewey (1910, 1927, 1929) argued that reflective thought could be a foundation for the kind of communication that could allow persons to interact in a manner that would increase uncertainty and collective knowledge about interests and options. Although Dewey did not presume that beliefs that ground certainty have narrative structure, he did assume that talking mattered, that it was through communication that differences would be resolved. From a narrative perspective, this process involves the presentation and elaboration of narratives of what Dewey (1927) called “negative externalities”—events whose negative consequences come to the attention of the public, which then becomes a public, a community, in the course of engaging the negative consequences, which are, in effect, narratives. It is in and through making these narratives public that the public itself is constituted. In the context of courtrooms, the contest over narratives is transparent. Rules that govern the development of narrative restrict and constrain what narrative elements can be included and how the narrative is presented. Although these narratives may develop, they are not likely to evolve because this development takes place within an adversarial interaction that includes accusations, denials, justifications, and excuses. This interaction usually reproduces narratives, hardening them as the struggle over meaning takes place. Accusations lead inevitably to more of the same. In this way, courtroom narratives neither heal broken bonds nor reduce the trauma of violence. On the contrary, courtroom narratives are reductive and blaming and generative of conflict. Although these institutionalized settings and associated practices regulate the production of conflict narratives, deepening or transforming conflict, they do not determine the nature of those narratives themselves. At times, (p.25) transformation takes place, even in contexts where it is unlikely (Hajer and Laws, 2006); but, all too often, given the momentum of conflict narratives, these narratives not only persist but gain momentum. Irony and humor can erupt anywhere, even in contexts that suppress them; critical moments and turning points abound, even when procedures for social process are highly structured (Cobb, 2006, 2008). Conversely, even in contexts designed to promote the

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Speaking of Violence transformation of narrative, it may resist change, warding off interventions, sealing itself off from reinterpretation (Nelson, 2001). Narrative production is, theoretically, always idiosyncratic, particular, and unpredictable in the context of conflict processes because narrative evolution is a function of how particular people, in particular moments, make sense with others. However, although narrative evolution is unpredictable, theoretically, practically speaking, there is always a folk wisdom, a narrative competency that allows persons to understand and anticipate how existing patterns of narrative interaction will evolve in the future (Zlatev, 2008). Also, the future is always a function of, but never contained by, the narratives about the past because shifting contexts in the present can retrospectively alter the narrative past. Although forecasting or predicting narrative evolution is certainly an issue for parties in conflict, there is an even more significant issue: Conflicts contain (in both senses of the term) both violence and violation. People can have differences that are narrated as differences, without conflict. Conflict carries with it a narrative DNA that both reflects violation, in terms of the experience of persons, and creates violence, in terms of the patterns of interaction over time. The word “violence” is fundamentally a relational word—it refers to a force extended toward Others, a force that “breaks,” “dishonors,” and generates “outrage.”9 Although it is possible to do violence to inanimate objects, violence, in the context of conflicts, refers to the “break” generated through force in the relational field. This “break” is not only of relationships; it is also of the narrative order of the world itself.

Domesticating Violence Scarry (1985), in The Body in Pain, argues compellingly that physical pain is very difficult to describe—it eludes words. Although we have a metaphoric vocabulary that we use to describe pain, it is exceedingly inadequate—pain is always beyond the capacity of language to contain it. Efforts to do so result, she argues, in an “alchemical” process by which pain is converted into the “language of agency”; this is a discourse in which pain is translated into weapons and wounds—the account is not about the pain itself, but instead focuses on the weapon and its product, the wound. (p.26) In the context of conflict, a similar kind of consideration may apply: Persons externalize responsibility for their suffering, accenting the negative outcome of a story (as a sequence of events), and focus on the cause of that outcome—the outcome is the “wound” and the “weapon” is the cause. The language of agency, in this way, can be seen to truncate the production of a narrative—all too often, the account of violence and violation is more of a story about a set of events, rather than a narrative that contextualizes those events. The language of agency foreshortens the development of narrative itself.

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Speaking of Violence Defying Narrative Langer (1991), in his analysis of Holocaust testimonies, argues that violence disrupts and resists narrative. Violence breaks not only relations, but it also breaks the narrative logic itself because persons are not able to make sense of the violence; it is always more than, to draw on Scarry’s terminology, the “language of agency”—more than a discussion of weapons and wounds. There is simply no way to account for or make sense of institutionalized violence, which is always extreme, intentional, and systematic. The result of this is that persons become separated from their own pain, inured to it, and, in this process, lose not only their status as human beings, cut off from themselves, but also become despised by Others for enduring in a zone of half-life, alive, but dead. As Agamben (2002) has noted, building on Levi (1988), the Nazi concentration camps were designed to create “non-persons” or Musselmann who had given up on life, bent, as if in prayer, lost to life, but yet living. They were also beyond narrative, nonhuman: “Human beings are human insofar they bear witness to the inhuman” (Agamben, 2002, p. 121). Not only were the Musselmann beyond bearing witness, but those around them, their fellow inmates, refused to bear witness to the inhumanity that had stooped the Musselmann’s shoulders. And here lies the awfulness of that regime, and any and all other systems of institutionalized violence that separate people from their capacity to witness inhumanity. If violence cannot be contained, tamed, cornered, or corralled by narrative, it marauds as outlaw, outside of law, out of control, dangerous and unknowable. Yet it is precisely institutionalized violence itself that disrupts our capacity to narrate pain. Violence can be understood as “institutionalized” in any context in which the conditions of suffering are built into the ways of life, into local institutions and practices; referred to as “structural” violence (Galtung, 1969), this form of violence creates the living dead—persons so outside the realm of agency as to be objects, objectified by those who control the system, as well as by themselves. However, it is the case that conflict implies that the parties to the conflict, via a language of agency, recognize a “wound.” In the ghettos of Washington, D.C., and in so many other cities around the world, these “wounds” can be unemployment, threats to safety, bad schools, or drug-infested neighborhoods in general; (p.27) more specifically, wounds can refer to the particular pains suffered in an episode of violence or in the daily grind of poverty, there on the edge of the nation’s capital, where power and money are coupled and coupling. But, in the conflict narrative, the “weapon” is all too often either highly particularized, in terms of an episode of violence, or absent altogether in the discourse. Structural violence, by definition, is difficult to “story” in that its existence does not seem to accompany a specific history, a sequence of events that can be strung together, contextualized, by those subject to that violence— they are themselves living in, from this perspective, a “state of exception,” a

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Speaking of Violence place where law has been used to create a place without law, a place that defies narrative itself. This is a new kind of violence, the contours of which are outlined by Levi and Agamben. This is a narrative violence, violence that breaks narrative itself. Galtung has described both physical violence and structural/cultural violence, associating the cessation of physical violence to “negative peace” and the cessation of structural violence as a condition of “positive peace” (Galtung, 1990). In the case of narrative violence, the disruption of narrative process is a consequence of the “break” in social relations that is a function of both the intention to harm, exhibited in physical violence, and/or the result of living in a “state of exception.” Separated from narrative, people do not have access to the production of meaning; as a result, neither protest nor politics is possible (Rancière, 2006). People are disabled from participation in public deliberation and cut off from the reflective processes through which not only healing but also social mobilization and change are possible. Isolated and disenfranchised, they live in the shadows of the public sphere, their relation to state and community broken. To the extent that persons are able to link together a sequence of events, they are able to tell a story. But, as Abbott (2008) has noted, a story is not a narrative —the latter refers to the way events are contextualized and presented as a coherent whole, to make a point. Absent this context, this coherence or point, a story does not rise to the level of narrative—it is only a series of episodes or a plot. Although it is the case that we use “story” colloquially as interchangeable with “narrative,” it is narrative, not story, that is the threshold for humanity, for being human. In the context of institutionalized violence, there are several complications: first, weapons that are named are seldom named as systemic in nature, yet it is precisely the state of exception that allows and even creates structural violence; second, those who are subjected to institutionalized violence are not only less able to witness their inhumane treatment, they are all too often despised by Others for their lack of agency, for their somnolence and abjection. Third, humiliated by their own inability to respond to violence and oppression,10 violence is all too often their only recourse. In a terrible inversion, it becomes the evidence for increased oppression and justification for the state of exception. (p.28) This is exactly the condition that led to the creation of the prison system at Guantanamo Bay; the United States, humiliated by the 9/11 attacks, was unable, given its leadership, to create a narrative that accounted for its pain without counter-humiliating Others. The shriveled narrative that emerged in the United States post-9/11 was one in which the terrorists were violence because they “hated our freedom.” The wound was the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, as well as gash in the ground in Pennsylvania. And, whereas the weapons of the Page 8 of 29

Speaking of Violence violence were the airplanes commandeered by Al Qaeda operatives, the cause of the violence, within the U.S. narrative, was “the Muslim hatred for the West.” Although this could be framed as a narrative, in that it does have a plot (hatred led to acts of terrorism, which led to loss of life and the need for the “war on terror”), characters (terrorists, innocent victims, and protectors of the innocent), and moral themes (security and freedom), it is a “thin” narrative—there is no history of why the “hatred” emerged. The Others are irrational and almost “animal” in their dogged intention to harm the West; the good guys are a caricatures of themselves. This thin narrative, however, had tremendous hegemonic power—it was impossible to contest it without being labelled “unpatriotic.” As a consequence, any effort to elaborate this narrative was met with resistance; to this day, it remains a historical, as archetypal narratives often are. Guantanamo Bay persists, even in the context of President Obama’s efforts to dissolve it. Reflection on the pain of the events, for both victims and perpetrators, remains hidden. The consequence of narrative violence is the perpetuation of violence itself, in a terrible cycle that cripples the relation to narrative itself, both for the oppressor and the oppressed, for the victims and the perpetrators. The muteness of the “terrorists” in the public discourse, the total absence of their narrative, such as an account of their pain, fits their status as objects of the state of exception. They are victims of narrative violence. But reciprocally, although not symmetrically, those who create the state of exception, the Imposers, are already ensnared, in turn, in a narrative that denies the humanity of their Other, a narrative that confers totalizing and essentialized legitimacy on Self and totalizing and essentialized delegitimacy, or evil, on the Other. And, not only is there nothing in their own narrative that could anchor its evolution, no uncertainty, no ironic tragedy, no instability, but any attempt to alter the Imposer’s narrative is met with the same kind of categorical ontology—the violence done to the Other’s narrative creates the conditions for shriveling the narrative of the Imposer. These are reciprocal processes, in that the narrative violence done to a group by its Others damages the relation between narrative and pain for both groups. However, the “damage” is not symmetrical—the violence done to those who live in the state of exception is more totalizing, in terms of access to narrative itself, whereas those who impose the state of exception live with damaged or truncated narratives. From this perspective, narrative violence highlights the issue that conflict is not symmetrical at the level of language practice. There is always one “side” that (p.29) works, via the creation of a state of exception, to control the “violence” of the Other, breaking their relation to language and effectively reducing or denying them their humanity. This can and does lead to reciprocal denials of humanity. However, they are not equivalent—those subjected to the state of exception are also denied what Nelson (2001) has called “moral agency” or the capacity of persons to narrate themselves as having the capacity to be moral Page 9 of 29

Speaking of Violence actors. Moral actors are not those who are capable of moral action because this state of affairs would, theoretically, apply to everyone. Rather, “moral agency” refers to the way that Others elaborate the capacity of actors to be moral agents and the consequences for those subjected to structural violence to narrate that violence. Narrative violence reduces moral agency both for those who create the state of exception and for those who are victims of it. The Middle East conflict provides a case in point: Narrative violence can be exemplified in the violence done to the Palestinians, who live in a state of exception, quite literally, as a function of the Israeli narrative about the Palestinians. First, Palestine is not defined as a “state” because Israel will not agree to its constitution as such. Second, Palestinians are lodged in a state of exception because the laws that afford rights to Jews are not afforded to Palestinians or to the Arabs within Israel.11 Third, the suffering of the Palestinians, like that of the Musselmann, is unrecognized and even denied by Israel.12 Both the Palestinian and the Israeli narratives contain and draw on the language of agency—there is an externalization of the pain, attributed to the weapons of others. Although this is tragic, in the sense that it fuels the conflict, it is not in and of itself violent. It is only in the context of institutionalized violence that narrative violence exists. And this is what constitutes the asymmetry of conflict—the group that exists within a state of exception is the group subjected to narrative violence. And the Israeli people know, perhaps better than any other group in the world, what it means to live in a state of exception. They have, after all, been subjected to discrimination for centuries, across different continents and cultures, excluded from rights and privileges granted to others, and singled out for persecution and annihilation. The concept of the “state of exception” was itself born from attempts to make sense of “the Final Solution” and its processes during the Holocaust. From this perspective, the state of exception creates radioactive narratives that have long half-lives. Subjected to narrative violence, subjected to the state of exception, the Israelis impose the state of exception on others in a round robin of victimization. Once victims of a state of exception, the narrative scenarios are extreme and limited: Impose the state of exception on Others so that they will not destroy you. (p.30) Institutionalized narrative violence can be recognized as a function of the primordial exclusion: racism. Cornel West (1989), in The American Evasion of Philosophy, notes that Emerson, whose contribution to pragmatism is foundational, was himself derailed in his advocacy of pragmatism as a foundation for democracy by his racism. If Others are inferior, they cannot, or will not, join in the making of meaning; and, indeed, herein lies the “difference that makes a difference.”13 Community itself, from this perspective, requires the exclusion of the Other to create aggregation, collectivity, and commonality. As Kristeva (1982; 1994) notes, this exclusion of the Other, this abjection, is critical Page 10 of 29

Speaking of Violence to the dynamics of self-reflection, of intersubjectivity. From this perspective, “conflict” is more than simply contesting narratives, more than simply differences between narratives. It is the struggle against abjection, against exclusion, from within the state of exception. It is a struggle to make pain visible from within a context where the pain of the excluded cannot be formulated. It is a struggle to create narrative in a context where racism, as abjection, is the primordial condition of community, reproduced by structure, by institutions and local practice. In this way, narrative violence refers to both the disruption of narrative by violence and, in the context of conflict, the institutionalization of exclusion. From this perspective, conflict resolution as a practice is itself, as Rouhana (2010) has described, a practice that “symmetrizes”—it presumes equality between parties because the conflict is all to often defined in terms of “differences” in general (in culture, in identity, in needs or interests), and more recently as “competing narratives.”14 Within this tradition of narrative research on conflict, narrative itself is a “carrier” of identity, and it is differences in identity that are the cause of conflict, as per dominant theories in conflict studies. The work of conflict resolution, from this perspective, is to identify the areas of difference and then work to create a common or shared narrative (Scham, Salem, and Pogrund, 2005). And, indeed, the narrative approaches to conflict resolution are aimed at “bridging narratives” (Pappe, 2006). A bridging narrative is one that is developed to “bridge” different segments of a storyline—it provides context for connecting portions of the plot that seemingly are unrelated. As Pappe pointed out, in Greek dramas, the omniscient voice of the narrator functioned as a bridge between segments of the play. In conflicts, bridging narratives provide links between otherwise disparate or mutually disqualifying (p.31) narratives.15 The conditions for the creation of bridging narratives require, according to Pappe, a willingness for or interest in reconciliation; the stronger party has to be ready also to recognize the legitimacy of the weaker party’s narrative, or at least ready to recognize the incompleteness of its own narrative. But this is precisely the narrative condition forestalled by narrative violence—the state of exception so damages narrative and its relation to pain that the oppressor can neither reflect on his own narrative nor legitimize his Other, which would, of course, lead to (or come from) lifting the state of exception. Those in the field who would advocate the creation of a “shared narrative” as an approach to conflict resolution not only elide the presence of narrative violence but are also complicit with the exclusionary practices that support the state of exception. From this perspective, conflict resolution can function, as Rouhana has noted, in ways that support injustice; on the basis of his years of work with Kelman, who hosted problem-solving workshops for parties in the Middle East conflict, Rouhana (2006) has argued that problem-solving workshops presume a symmetry between parties that erases the power differential between Israel, as occupier, and the Palestinians, Page 11 of 29

Speaking of Violence as the occupied. He has, however, taken his own argument to the extreme—the power of parties is not defined by the context alone. Even when they are victimized by narrative violence, it is possible for parties to return to language, to develop a narrative that “contains” violence, without reproducing more of the same.

Witnessing Violence Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi provide examples of how it is that persons subjected to narrative violence return to narrative and develop an account of their pain that does not itself perpetuate violence. King told a narrative of pain, expanding beyond the language of agency, drawing on religious discourse—it was not only the U.S. Constitution that granted rights to all men, but it was God who was the source of the rights of man. This discourse allowed King to name the violence without perpetuating it, framing oppression as caused by fear that could, in turn, be overcome through love and faith.16 For Mandela, twenty-seven years in prison gave him the right to externalize responsibility for his pain and speak of the need for unity, for a shared vision for the country, moving the level of discourse beyond the specifics of his own suffering to the (p.32) suffering of the nation.17 Gandhi, through his practice of nonviolent communication, was able to narrate the pain of millions of “British subjects” but did so while refusing to participate in the cycles of violence.18 In effect, he made the violence of the state of exception obvious, material, and transparent. The narrative he told was one that resisted the state of exception and materialized the contradiction between the theoretical equality at the heart of the rule of law and the practical presence of the inequality authorized by the rule of law. All three of these cases, albeit rare, are examples of the way that individuals can mobilize narrative, returning from exclusion, making the pain of the abject visible, real, and present, being witness to violence, yet doing so in a way that does not perpetrate—or perpetuate—violence. Witnessing violence is most commonly understood to be a function of the act of “recognition,” which is, in turn, defined as witnessing the humanity of the Other (Taylor, 1985). Thus, in the field of conflict resolution, there is widespread belief that the absence of recognition is a symptom of conflict, as well as being productive of conflict. And the converse is also the case: Conflict resolution involves fostering recognition of the Other in both parties. Witnessing is the process of mutual recognition and is core to the practice of conflict resolution; in fact, Taylor (1971) has argued that recognition is a precondition for the creation of intersubjectivity itself. However, Oliver (2001) has provided an important critique of Taylor’s concept of recognition, arguing that it is an “exchange” that trades witnessing the Other for seeing their similarities with Self. This requires a commodification of differences that circulate in the marketplace of identity politics, which, as items for exchange, are disarticulated from the history of those that are witnessed. She is Page 12 of 29

Speaking of Violence warning against the practice of thinking that recognition is in fact a practice that ensures against exclusion or racism. In lieu of recognition, Oliver recommends that we follow Judith Butler’s suggestion to be “vigilant” against the practice of granting humanity to Other in exchange for their similarities with Self. Given the complexity of institutionalized exclusion, vigilance, as a mental attitude, is a weak prophylactic against the enactment of narrative violence; it is much more likely that the existing patterns of interaction, anchored in the language of agency, institutionalized through the state of exception, persist. They have path dependency (Boas, 2007). And they create, reflexively, the conditions for their own persistence (Foucault, 2002).

Narratives Matter Narratives are material. They are not only mnemonic in nature, reflecting the world as experienced, but they are constitutive of identity, relationships, and (p. 33) institutions, as well as of the practices associated with these. Feldman (1991) has provided an excellent framework for understanding the role of narrative in violent conflict. Using the conflict in Northern Ireland as a case, he describes the way that people-as-bodies are “inscribed” with narrative—they are, he argues, texts on which narratives are written and overwritten. He notes that, in this way, the body, although material, is a text—the material is subjective, and the subjective, the text, is material. In this move, he erases the Cartesian distinction that plagues most analysis of violence as material by framing “talk” or meaning as subjective. When this distinction is made, he argues, we fail to see the very material struggle over meaning. And it is this struggle that lies at the heart of violence itself. Narrative violence, from this perspective, is the materialization of a narrative of oppression in which one party is separated from narrative and relegated to the language of agency to account for its pain and suffering. Those who perpetrate narrative violence are themselves victimized, reciprocally but not symmetrically, by the truncation of their own narrative of suffering, one that is anchored, as Feldman notes, on the “origin” narrative, which, in turn, all too often reflects a romanticized past being destroyed or threatened by the Other, who is excluded in an effort to return to the natural order. Alternatively, the past was dominated by the pain caused by the Other, so the present effort at exclusion, via the state of exception, is an effort to right a wrong and move toward a progressive future. In both cases, the cause of the suffering is as depicted in the origin myth that is, all too often, materialized in the creation of the state of exception. Victims who are captured in the state of exception are positioned within a narrative in which they are accused of harming, or intending to harm, their Others. Consistent with the dynamics of “accusation,”19 victims of the state of exception struggle to elaborate a narrative that could be adopted by third parties connected to their Others in an effort to constitute their legitimacy. Denied legitimacy by those who impose the state of exception, victims “work” Page 13 of 29

Speaking of Violence the narrative field in order that some in that field pick up and elaborate the victims’ self-legitimizing narrative. However, even if this narrative could be elaborated,20 it can engender opposition, if not renewed violence. As a case in point, consider the dynamics surrounding the publication of the Goldstone Report, which documents crimes against (p.34) humanity perpetrated by Israel toward residents in Gaza, during December 2007 through January 2008. Immediately after its publication, Israel decried this report as an exaggeration and undertook its own investigation, rather than allow the narrative of the Palestinians to be elaborated by the international community, legitimated by the voice of Richard Goldstone and that of the United Nations (UN).21 This is a very material struggle over narrative, over the right of the Palestinians to have a narrative of pain. Speaking of narrative violence, Israel is the primordial case in point. Encased in a regime of terror during Nazism, in the most efficient and large-scale state of exception ever created, European Jews became the exemplar of the materialization of narrative violence. Separated from the capacity to have a narrative, they exemplified and embodied exclusion. However, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel22 does not name this horrific “exclusion,” what we now refer to as the Holocaust, as the central case for the construction of the State; rather, “homelessness,” which resulted from exile from their land, is the central case—what came to be known as “the Holocaust” was indeed a “catastrophe,” but just one of many resulting from homelessness. Functionally, the Declaration narrative equates exile itself to a state of exception and sees the condition of homelessness as the cause and reflection of narrative violence. Tragically, the dream expressed in the Declaration was not to be—the dream of equality for all inhabitants of Israel, regardless of religion, race, or creed. Instead, the state of Israel has created, over time, a state of exception for their Others within Israel, thus perpetrating narrative violence against those Others in an effort to retain or recover their own right, as Israeli Jews, to a place, to a home, which is for them the way out of their own state of exception. Tragically and paradoxically, to give up the place is to give up narrative, voice, and to, in effect, re-exile themselves. But the consequence of this narrative is that it engenders narrative violence on or for Others who live in Israel, in a state of exception, quite literally, with laws that establish their second-class status within Israel. Wherever there are states of exception, there are victims, but the narrative violence that accompanies the creation of a state of exception does violence to both those who establish and those who exist within the state of exception. The Israeli government’s narrative disables it from developing narratives that would reflect a world forecast in the Declaration; instead, the narratives used to judge Others justify the state of exception and, tragically, enact narrative violence and fuel the conflict. And, of course, the judgments made by the Palestinians also enact narrative violence, positioning Israel as immoral and making it the object of acts (p.35) of terrorism. But this is not a Page 14 of 29

Speaking of Violence symmetrical problem because the Palestinians do not have the authority to create a state of exception within Israel, even though one could argue that Hamas’ narrative creates the state of Israel itself as a state of exception. The point here is that narrative violence is done through the creation of the state of exception, a state that rests on narrative judgments.

Conflict Narratives as Judgment Judgments are a critical feature of conflict narratives. At the time of this writing, Sryia is embroiled in a civil war; China and Japan are making bellicose movements against eachother. Shite and Sunni factions struggle in Iraq. In South Africa, racial tension broke out over the murder of Eugene TerreBlanche and a song calling for the killing of Boers—it then spilled out into street demonstrations.23 And there has been increasing tension between the Obama administration in the United States and Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, over Israel’s announcement of new settlements in East Jerusalem. Within the US, those in favor of gun control are vilified by, and vilifying of, the National Rifle Association, in the aftermath of the death of 20 children, and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In all of these cases, participants in these conflicts are anchored in narratives that constitute judgments. These judgments are moral, pragmatic, personal, and political (Lara, 2007). As such, they are implicated in the social interaction in which persons perpetrate and respond to violence. Labov (1997) has argued that not only do all narratives have an evaluative component, but that evaluation is the point of narrative. Narratives that do not have an evaluative point are incomplete in that the meaning of the entire narrative remains obscure or ambiguous—they function as a story. Consider for example, a journalist’s report on violence surrounding the elections in Afghanistan; simply listing the candidates and explaining their political platforms and the history of their political parties may indeed constitute a “story” (as a sequence of events), but it may not have an evaluative point. This is because journalism, as a practice, seeks to avoid the “bias” that is made apparent when the story becomes a narrative, when it has an evaluative point.24 And it is precisely the avoidance of negative evaluation that characterized the reporting on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in which reporters were “embedded” with troops and unable to string together events in a manner that judged the war itself. On the contrary, the introduction of the media into war zones during the Vietnam War contributed greatly to negative evaluation of the war because the videos and pictures (p.36) of the violence functioned to evaluate the actions of the United States as either victimizing innocents or themselves suffering horrifying pain and fear.25 It is the evaluation of the action depicted in the plot sequence that constitutes the meaning of a given narrative.

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Speaking of Violence The evaluative point of a narrative is a judgment. Contrary to Rawls (2000) and Kant (1960), who have argued that judgments are artifacts of rationality,26 a narrative approach to judgment presumes that “rationality” itself is a function of the logic advanced by narrative and is, therefore, a discursive production (Bruner, 1986, 1991). Furthermore, because narrative is itself a social production, generated in interaction, judgments are collectively produced over time and in interaction with others. They are not products of individual cognitive processes, but rather products of the dynamics of narrative processes, social in nature and a function of those narratives that are in play in the culture, in interaction. Lara (2007) has argued that judgments materialize in and through narrative; she notes that the social construction of evaluations draws from existing narratives circulating in the culture—as the narrative becomes itself “universal,” the use of these dominant cultural narratives is equivalent to Kant’s (2009) notion of “determinate judgment”: Judgment in general is the faculty of thinking the particular as contained under the universal. If this universal (the rule, the principle, the law) be given, the judgment which subsumes the particular under it…is determinant. But if only the particular be given for which the universal has to be found, the judgment is merely reflective. (Kant, 2009, p. 15) Substituting “dominant narrative” for “rule,” determinant judgments are those that effectively reproduce the legitimacy of dominant narratives in the process of framing/containing or evaluating the “particular.” And, reciprocally, reflective judgments enact the search for a narrative that would fit a given particular. As Lara (2007) notes: “language can be shocking us with new meanings and stimulate us to reorient our moral thinking” (p. 10); it is “disclosive language [that] is an operation of opening up spaces for moral learning” (p. 10). Disclosive language leads, in turn, to reflective judgments—in the discussion of evil, these are narratives that “disclose hidden dimensions about the cruelty of human beings” (p. 9). Lara offers disclosive language and reflective judgments as the methods by which new moral meanings about past events emerge (p. 68). And the nature of the moral meanings that emerge, as judgments, as evaluative (p. 37) points, matter—these have constitutive power to open or close spaces for deliberation and learning. Arendt (1973) argues that totalitarianism, as a regime, functions to prohibit the presence of public judgments and/or disrupt the presence of public spaces in which these judgments can become the object of inquiry, debate, and dialogue. But it is not just any judgments or narratized evaluations that generate reflection and dialogue and enrich the public sphere, as Arendt imagined; clearly, there are narratives that, in and of themselves, shut down alternatives to themselves, they have illocutionary force—they tell a narrative of wrongdoing Page 16 of 29

Speaking of Violence and provide an account of violation, but this narrative perpetuates and deepens the kind of discourse that contributes to destroy rather than open public debate and deliberation. These are determinant judgments that “naturalize” an existing (narrative) order and legitimize the exclusions and marginalizations that permit, or even require, violence. Lara notes that it is the work of disclosive language to materialize, to generate reflective judgments that lead to inquiry and dialogue, precisely what Arendt calls for as a means to ward off totalitarianism: “Indeed it is the privilege of a well-told story to be able to disclose aspects of the human condition that would seem impossible to translate into pure philosophical concepts” (2007, p. 14). So it is not just any narrative that could constitute the public sphere, not just any narrative that can materialize the unsayable, not just any narrative that can escape the limiting, if not deadening, influence of the kind of rationality that distills, logically, human experience. And the project of avoiding totalitarianism, the project of promoting reflection and dialogue, the project of crafting disclosive language that can express the unsayable, requires particular kinds of narrative structure and process. For it is, as Lara notes, all too easy to turn reflective judgment, the kind that opens up new meaning and leads to dialogue and learning, into “determinant” judgments that function to strip singularity and specificity in the project to create general explanatory models27: In my view, it is because good stories are the result of reflective judgments that [they] can become the chosen means to rebuild communities and envision a different sense of justice. A good story that sheds light on dark episodes of the past is surely the best way to share views that can transform a community….Narratives of the past can also help us build a space for self-reflection. (Lara, 2007, p. 15) Conflict narratives function to create accounts of the past, but these narratives are neither disclosive nor do they function to promote reflective judgments that open up a space for learning. On the contrary, conflict narratives are constituted from the public store of cultural narratives that have ready-made victim (p.38) and victimizer frameworks, ready-made accounts of wrongdoing that perpetuate these frameworks and function, in this process, to shut down the space for deliberation and dialogue. Conflict narratives are certainly judgments, but they are determinative, they reproduce certainty. As such, they are not able to function as Arendt had imagined, as accounts that support deliberation and dialogue in the public sphere. On the contrary, they shut it down, as I will discuss by defining and describing “radicalized narratives” in subsequent chapters. Determinant judgments, as conflict narratives, draw on institutionalized discourses that draw on, and reproduce, archetypal narratives. And these narrative archetypes are at once cultural and local. They appear as conflict Page 17 of 29

Speaking of Violence “storylines” and provide a shorthand, condensed framework for action. Conflict narratives, as “storylines” (Hajer, 1995), provide “nodal points” (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985; Torfing, 1999) that then organize and structure not only the semantic field, but also the temporal ordering and evaluative frames that, recursively, anchor the storylines. In summary, conflict narratives are archetypal storylines structured by nodal points that draw on, and constitute, institutionalize discourses. From this perspective, the process of organizing narratives that function as reflective judgments is extremely complicated. It requires narrative to capture violence and make judgments that would not, themselves, reproduce exclusionary or marginalizing judgments. One could presume that the only kind of determinant judgments that would function to foster reflection, rather than marginalization, would be those that draw from narratives whose evaluative points affirm equality, human rights, and access to participation more broadly, thus legitimizing difference as a foundation for problem-solving and governance. However, there are multiple (and perhaps multiplying) examples of how countries can be invaded in the name of democracy and how some people can be held under indefinite detention in a state of exception (Agamben, 1998, 2002). In other words, narratives that advance a morality based on rights and participation do not necessarily function as reflective judgments.28 Although Lara does make the connection between reflective judgments and the rebuilding (or transformation) of community as a return from violence, in her book Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment, she does not detail the pragmatics of how reflective judgments are produced. She does suggest that such judgments are produced through art and literature, and, although she does discuss the function of tragedy in the production of reflective judgments, she does not explicate the practice of producing narratives that (p. 39) transform determinant judgments into reflective judgments. She does, however, point us in the direction of postmetaphysical theory and the role of description: The answer to the question, “What makes political judgment sound?” is best illustrated by calling upon Arendt’s model of Eichmann: she… produced an illocutionary effect,…[w]ith her novel use of the concept of ordinary men who commit extraordinary evil deeds Arendt departs completely from the prevailing tradition of thought—in literature, in the theological tradition, and in the philosophical tradition as well. Hers was a postmetaphysical definition of evil because it was not a description of the nature of evil, but rather a description of the moral code of a man who committed evil. (Lara, 2007, p. 149)

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Speaking of Violence As a reflective judgment, Arendt’s account of Eichmann’s form of evil transgressed the dominant narrative that evil is done by evil people. We can see, through Lara’s account, that Arendt’s narrative about the “banality of evil” disrupts understanding and generates reflection. It is, from this perspective, a reflective judgment, and it is constitutive of a new narrative, one that opens up the public sphere toward democracy and, in this process, withers the potential for the emergence of totalitarianism. Judgments matter because they constitute the narrative conditions for either the transformation of conflict and the evolution toward democracy, or they are productive of narrative violence, the justification for physical and structural violence. In this chapter, the relationship between violence and narrative was explored, highlighting the irony that, in order to speak of violence, which must be done in order to return from violence, speakers must elaborate the very narratives that can, tragically, increase violence and violation. If there is any alternative, any way to escape the centrifugal force of narrative violence, it will require the transformation of judgments, the evolution of the point or evaluation of the conflict narrative. In the next chapter, I explore in detail the pragmatics of conflict narratives, connecting narrative violence to the structural and processual features of conflict narratives in an effort to illuminate the complexities of conflict transformation. Bibliography Bibliography references: Abbott, H. P. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Agamben, G. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. 1st ed. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Agamben, G. 2002. Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Cambridge, MA: Zone Books. Arendt, H. 1973. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (p.40) Arendt, H. 2003. Responsibility and Judgment. 1st ed. New York: Schocken Books. Aristotle. 1999. Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. Terence Irwin. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett. Bamberg, M. G. W, and M. Andrews. 2004. Considering Counter Narratives: Narrating, Resisting, Making Sense. Studies in narrative series. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins. Page 19 of 29

Speaking of Violence Bar-On, D. 2006. “Conflicting Narratives or Narratives of a Conflict.” In Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix, ed. Robert I. Rotberg, 142–173. Indiana series in Middle East studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Barry, D. 1997. “Telling Changes: From Narrative Family Therapy to Organizational Change and Development.” Journal of Organizational Change Management 10 (1): 30–46. Bateson, G. 1979. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. 1st ed. New York: Dutton. Bateson, G. 1987. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Northvale, NJ: Aronson. Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Doubleday. Boas, T. C. 2007. “Conceptualizing Continuity and Change.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 19 (1): 33–54. Boje, D. M. 2001. Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research. SAGE series in management research. London: Sage. Bruner, J. 1986. Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bruner, J. 1991. “The Narrative Construction of Reality.” Critical Inquiry 18 (1): 1–21. Cerulo, K. A. 1998. Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Structure of Right and Wrong. New York: Routledge. Charon, R., and M. Montello. 2002. Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics. New York: Routledge. Cobb, S. 1994. “Theories of Responsibility: The Social Construction of Intentions in Mediation.” Discourse Processes 18 (2): 165–86. Cobb, S. 2006. “Developmental Approach to Turning Points: Irony as an Ethics for Negotiation Pragmatics, A. Harvard Negotiation Law Review 11 (147): 147– 197. Cobb, S. 2008. “Narrative Analysis.” In Conflict: From Analysis to Intervention, ed. Sandra Cheldelin, Daniel Druckman, and Larissa Fast, 97–118. 2nd ed. New York: Continuum. Derrida, J. 1979. “The Parergon.” Trans. Craig Owens. October 9 (July 1): 3–41. Page 20 of 29

Speaking of Violence Dewey, J. 1910. How We Think. Boston: D.C. Heath. Dewey, J. 1927. The Public and Its Problems. New York: H. Holt. Dewey, J. 1929. The Quest for Certainty. New York: Minton, Balch and Company. Drexler, E. 2006. “History and Liability in Aceh, Indonesia: Single Bad Guys and Convergent Narratives.” American Ethnologist 33 (3): 313–326. Einhorn, B. 2000. “Gender, Nation, Landscape and Identity in Narratives of Exile and Return.” Women’s Studies International Forum, 23: 701–713. Available at http://dx.doi.org.mutex.gmu.edu/10.1016/S0277-5395(00)00144-8. Feldman, A. 1991. Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M. 2002. Archaeology of Knowledge. Routledge classics. New York: Routledge. Galtung, J. 1969. “Violence, Peace and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6 (3): 167–191. Galtung, J. 1990. “Cultural Violence.” Journal of Peace Research 27 (3) (August): 291–305. Gandhi. 1922. Freedom’s Battle: Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches on the Present Situation. 2nd ed. Madras: Ganesh and Co. Gergen, K. J. 1988. “If Persons Are Texts.” In Hermeneutics and Psychological Theory: Interpretive Perspectives on Personality, Psychotherapy, and Psychopathology, ed. S. B. Messer, L. Arnorsson Sass, and R. L Woolfolk, 28–51. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Gitlin, T. 2003. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley: University of California Press. Habermas, J. 1984. The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Boston: Beacon Press. Habermas, J. 1991. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Studies in contemporary German social thought. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (p.41) Hajer, M. A. 1995. The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Speaking of Violence Hajer, M. A. and D. W. Laws. 2006. “Ordering Through Discourse.” In The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, ed. Michael Moran, Martin Rein, and Robert E. Goodin, 249–266. Oxford: Oxford Handbooks Online. Hajer, M. A. and H. Wagenaar,. 2003. Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hanninen, V. 2004. “A Model of Narrative Circulation.” Narrative Inquiry 14 (1): 69–85. Harré, R., and F. M Moghaddam,2003. The Self and Others: Positioning Individuals and Groups in Personal, Political, and Cultural Contexts. New York: Praeger. Kant, I. 1960. Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. 2nd ed. New York: Harper. Kant, I. 1998. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Kant, I. 2009. Critique of Judgement. Revised. New York: Oxford University Press. King, M. L. 1990. “A Testament of Hope.” In A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. ed. J. M. Washington. New York: HarperOne. Kristeva, J. 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. European perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press. Kristeva, J. 1994. Strangers to Ourselves. European perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press. Labov, W. 1997. “Some Further Steps in Narrative Analysis.” Special issue of The Journal of Narrative and Life History 7 (1/4): 395–415. Laclau, E., and C. Mouffe. 1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso. Langer, L. L. 1991. Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Lara, M. P. 2007. Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment. New directions in critical theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Speaking of Violence Levi, M. 2002. “Modeling Complex Historical Processes with Analytic Narratives.” In Akteure–mechanismen–modelle: Zur Theoriefähigkeit MakroSozialer Analysen, ed. R. Mayntz, 108–127. Frankfurt-Mein: Campus Verlag. Levi, P. 1988. The Drowned and the Saved. New York: Summit Books. Linden, R. R. 1982. “Against Sadomasochism. Frog in the Well.” Available at http://www.froginawell.net. Maines, D. R. 1999. “Information Pools and Racialized Narrative Structures.” Sociological Quarterly 40 (2): 317–326. Makkreel, R. A. 1990. Imagination and Interpretation in Kant: The Hermeneutical Import of the Critique of Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mandela, N. 2010. Selected Speeches and Writings of Nelson Mandela: The End of Apartheid in South Africa. St. Petersburg, FL: Red and Black Publishers. Miroff, Nick. 2008. “In Manassas, the Medium Is the Issue.” Washington Post, July 2. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/ 2008/07/01/AR2008070102461.html. Mitchell, W. J. T. 1981. On Narrative. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Murphy, S. 1998. “Writing in the Shit: The Northern Irish Poet and Authority.” The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 24 (1): 1–21. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Oliver, K. 2001. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pappe, I. 2006. “The Bridging Narrative Concept.” In Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix, 194–204. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pearce, W. B. and S. Littlejohn. 1997. Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Polkinghorne, D. E. 1988. Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. Albany: State University of New York Press. (p.42) Rancière, J. 2006. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Pbk. ed. London: Continuum.

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Speaking of Violence Rappaport, J. 2000. “Community Narratives: Tales of Terror and Joy.” American Journal of Community Psychology 28 (1): 1–24. Rawls, J. 2000. Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Roe, E. M. 1992. “Applied Narrative Analysis: The Tangency of Literary Criticism, Social Science and Policy Analysis.” New Literary History 23 (3): 555– 581. Ross, M. H. 2002. The Political Psychology of Competing Narratives: September 11 and Beyond. In Understanding September 11, ed. C. J. Calhoun,P. Price, and A.S Timmer, 303–320. New York: New Press. Rotberg, R. I. 2006. Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Rouhana N. N. 2006. “Zionism’s Encounter with the Palestinians.” In Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix, ed. R. I. Rotberg, 115– 141. Indiana series in Middle East studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Rouhana, N. 2010. “Key Issue in Reconciliation: Challenging Traditional Assumptions on Conflict Resolution and Power Dynamics.” In Intergroup Conflicts and Their Resolution: Social Psychological Perspective, ed. D. Bar-Tal,. London: Taylor & Francis, 291–314. Scarry, E. 1985. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Scham, P., W. Salem, and B. Pogrund, ed. 2005. Shared Histories: A PalestinianIsraeli Dialogue. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Schiffrin, D. 1996. “Narrative as Self-Portrait: Sociolinguistic Constructions of Identity.” Language in Society 25 (2): 167–203. Schiffrin, D.,A. De Fina, and A. Nylund. 2010. Telling Stories: Language, Narrative, and Social Life. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Scott, J. C. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Scott, M. B. and S. M. Lyman. 1968. “Accounts.” American Sociological Review 33 (1): 46–62. Shotter, John. 2008. Conversational Realities Revisited: Life, Language, Body and World. 2nd ed. The Taos Institute Publications. Page 24 of 29

Speaking of Violence Sköldberg, K. 1994. “Tales of Change: Public Administration Reform and Narrative Mode.” Organization Science 5 (2): 219–238. Sluzki, C. E. 1992. The “Better-Formed” Story. In L’Dolescent e i suoi Sistemi, ed. G. Cecchin andM. Mariotti, 37–47. Rome: Kappa. Soliva, R. 2007. “Landscape Stories: Using Ideal Type Narratives as a Heuristic Device in Rural Studies.” Journal of Rural Studies 23 (1): 62–74. Taylor, C. 1971. “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man.” The Review of Metaphysics, 25 (1): 3–51. Taylor, C. 1985. Human Agency and Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tololyan, K. 1987. “Cultural Narrative and the Motivation of the Terrorist.” Journal of Strategic Studies 10 (4): 217–233. Torfing, J. 1999. New Theories of Discourse: Laclau, Mouffe, and Z˘iz˘ek. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Tripp, C. 2001. “Syria: The State and its Narratives (Review Article).” Middle Eastern Studies 37 (2): 199–206. van Wynsberghe, R., 2001. “The ‘Unfinished Story’: Narratively Analyzing Collective Action Frames in Social Movements.” Qualitative Inquiry 7 (6): 733– 744. Wahid, S., S. Branham, S. Harrison, and S. McCrickard. 2009. “Collaborative Storyboarding: Artifact-Driven Construction of Shared Understanding.” Departmental Technical Report. Computer Science @ Virginia Tech. Available at http://eprints.cs.vt.edu/perl/user_eprints?userid=142.. (p.43) West, C. 1989. The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism. The Wisconsin project on American writers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Winslade, J., and G. D. Monk. 2000. Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Winslade, J., and G. Monk. 2008. Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Zlatev, J. 2008. The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. Converging evidence in language and communication research, vol. 12. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

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Speaking of Violence Notes:

(1) See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/10/ AR2007071002093.html. (2) See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjHUb9PqysI for video footage that provides the chronology of events surrounding passage of the resolution. (3) See http://www.helpsavemanassas.org/index.php. (4) See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT4iNhp59nE for a video of Police Chief Deane’s review of the issues and concerns he has regarding the implementation of the resolution. This report created a firestorm because many in county politics saw the Chief as overstepping his boundaries by commenting on the issues raised by the resolution. It is most interesting to note that it was the police chief who was able to voice concerns that other members of the community had not been able to voice, and be heard. (5) See the Washington Post article by Nick Miroff (2008) entitled “In Manassas, the Medium is the Issue,” at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2008/07/01/AR2008070102461.html. (6) See Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Terence Irwin (2nd edition; Hackett, 1999), for discussion of Aristotle’s concept of phronesis. (7) Abbott (2008) has offered a clear distinction between “story” and “narrative.” He suggests that the former refers to a sequence of events and the latter to the way the story is told. This is a useful distinction and helps to highlight the role of the “work” that is done to tell a story in, for example, storyboarding, which is a practice whereby events are chosen and artfully sequenced so that, collectively, they produce a narrative. See Wahid, Branham, Harrison, and McCrickard (2009) for a description of the use of storyboards for collaborative problem solving. (8) A very vibrant line of narrative research examines “life narratives.” These narratives are studied to explore and appreciate the integrity, the complexity of the ways in which an individual can make sense of his or her life. Researchers take great care to support the emergence of the narrative, as the teller would have it, striving to stay out of the way of the narrative construction. This is a good example of a context in which the relational proposal that was accepted by the researcher does not lead to negotiation. There are, of course, many contexts in which the narratives told are not subject to alteration, negotiation, or evolution. See Schiffrin (1996) and Schiffrin, De Fina, and Nylund (2010). (9) See http://www.myetymology.com/english/violence.html.

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Speaking of Violence (10) See Linden (1982) on humiliation and dignity. See also http:// www.humiliationstudies.org/, which offers, as a website, a body of research and other materials that address humiliation processes. (11) Here, I am referring to voting rights, rights to attend the university, rights to property. See Rouhana (2006) “Zionism’s Encounter with the Palestinians: The Dynamics of Force, Fear and Extremism,” in Rotberg (2006) Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (12) See Bar-on (2006), “Conflicting Narratives or Narratives of a Conflict?” in Rotberg (2006) Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. (13) See Bateson’s (1979) notion of “information” as news of difference, or a difference that makes a difference. (14) See Mark Ross’s (2002) “The Political Psychology of Competing Narratives: September 11 and Beyond,” posted on the Social Science Research Council website at http://essays.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/ross.htm. Taking a social psychological perspective on “narrative,” this paper examines the function of narrative to ground group identity and intergroup processes, as though narratives were symmetrically endowed visá vis power. In other words, the frame of “competing” is one that creates symmetry between narratives and does not lend itself to recognizing narrative violence. (15) Note that “mutually disqualifying narratives” are not equivalent to the construction of narrative symmetry; in the case in which one party is forced to live in a state of exception, they are differentially burdened—they may tell a narrative that disqualifies their Other, as the Palestinians do, but their narratives are “broken” by the language of agency. The result is that they are ontologically less able to account for the violence done to them—their narratives are shadows of their pain, unable to capture its contours, and certainly unable to have that pain elaborated by Others. (16) See King, M. L. 1990. A Testament of Hope. In A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. J. M. Washington. New York: HarperOne. (17) See Mandela’s (2010) Selected Speeches and Writings of Nelson Mandela: The End of Apartheid in South Africa. (18) See Gandhi’s (1922) Freedom’s Battle: Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches on the Present Situation.

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Speaking of Violence (19) See Scott and Lyman (1968) for an excellent paper that reviews the interaction between accusations and justifications, denials, and excuses, noting that accusations are generative of the other three speech acts, which inevitably follow an accusation. (20) Once positioned in a state of exception, it is often the case that victims are cut off from interactions with the public, which makes either the telling of their narrative, or its elaboration by any other groups, unlikely but not impossible. Consider the “narrative” told by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the course of their imprisonment—they “wrote” on the walls of their cells with excrement, and also “wrote” their narrative on their bodies through hunger strikes. See Murphy (1998) for an excellent discussion of the “writing” done by the IRA during their imprisonment. (21) The Goldstone Report has become the foundation for a Palestinian request to the International Criminal Court to consider indictments against Israel for crimes against humanity. However, there was a storm of international criticism of the report; see http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0404/ Goldstone-Report-Reexamining-5-key-findings/Israel-targeted-Gazan-civilians for discussion of the report, and its criticism. (22) See http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Dec_of_Indep.html. (23) See http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/10/world/la-fg-south-africa-race11– 2010apr11. (24) See Cerulo (1998) Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Structure of Right and Wrong, which offers a method for examining the evaluative structure in newspaper reporting. (25) See Gitlin’s (2003) The Whole World Is Watching, which describes the role of the media in the social construction of meaning of the war. (26) Kant’s (1998) categorical imperative is intended to provide a framework for moral action that proceeds from, and constitutes, free will because agency itself derived not just the capacity for action, but from the capacity to act and build the law to which action itself would be obligated. (27) See Kant (2009), Makkreel (1990) and Derrida (1979) on reflective and determinant judgments. (28) Habermas (1984, 1991) offers an ethics for communicative practice that can produce the conditions for participation and equality. However, as I will discuss in subsequent chapters in greater detail, his ethics of communicative practice itself requires the production of conditions that, in turn, produce the conditions for ideal speech acts. For this reason, the ethics he advances does not ensure

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Speaking of Violence emancipation because it does not address the infinite regression of creating the conditions for the conditions for the conditions, and so on.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter describes the structural features of conflict narratives, including emplotment, causality, character roles, voice, and moral themes, drawing on a host of narrative theorists, including (White, 1987; Ricoeur, 1990a, 1990b, 1990c; Bakhtin, 1982; Epston & M. White, 1990; Mattingly, 1998; Nelson, 2001).The application of narrative theory, toward the emergence of a definition of “conflict narrative” moves past the use of “narrative” for current analysis of specific conflicts, such as Rotberg (2006) which treats narrative as a “carrier” for identity, perceptions, and relational history; rather, conflict narrative is a “living” meaning structure that constitutes, rather than reflects, history, subjectivity, institutions, and discourse itself. Both the structure and the dynamical processes of conflict narratives are explored, using the conflict over the forest concessions in the Mirador Basin of Guatemala as a context for exploring these processes. Keywords:   plot, character, theme, narrative closure, narrative coherence, positioning, interpellation, differend, narrative syntax

The Mirador Basin in northern Guatemala, in the Peten, has been the site of an ongoing conflict and provides an interesting case study of conflict narratives in action. Situated in the Peten, at the northern part of Guatemala, abutting the southern border of Mexico, this region contains the ruins of an ancient Mayan civilization, ruins that are yet to be fully explored. It also contains a beautiful rainforest, one of the few left in the modern world. Historically, the Guatemalan government has encouraged settlement of the area because it was almost Page 1 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics uninhabited; many of the people who constituted these campesino communities were ladino (mestizo) and indigenous peoples who practiced swidden agriculture (slashing and burning forests to clear land) and harvested forest resources such as chicle gum. As Cronkleton et al. (2008) note, in the 1960s, the government, in an effort to reduce the social conflicts in urban areas, incentivized settlers into this area who competed with those who moved into the area for petroleum extraction and illegal drug activity. So, over the past one hundred years or so, the Peten has experienced the settlement of a diverse population from different regions of Guatemala and with, at times, competing interests regarding the use of the forest. In 1990, Guatemala established the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) as an effort to conserve both the natural and cultural resources of the region. CONAP (Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas), an agency within the Guatemalan government, was responsible for the development of conservation programs in different regions of the country. In the Peten, CONAP worked with the local groups to develop their claims to forest concessions and to ensure that the private-sector logging or petroleum industries did not take over these regions; there was strong international support for local use and local engagement. As mandated by the MBR, there was a Nucleus Zone (under strict conservation and control), a Multi-Use Zone (comprising about 50 percent of the almost 2.1 million hectares), and a Buffer Zone, where the land use was regulated in an effort to protect the other zones within the MBR (Cronkleton et al., 2008). (p.45) In the past fifty years, the government provided incentives for settlers to relocate there from urban areas and, during the civil war, generals were given land grants in the region, where they developed cattle ranches by burning off sections of the forests. At the end of the civil war, forest concessions were allotted to locals (Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén or ACOFOP) in unacknowledged recognition of their victimization during the civil war—many had to flee Guatemala into Mexico to escape the violence and then returned after the peace agreement was signed in 1996. However, they were not alone— there were land grants given to ex-combatants as well, so the MBR was a place of conflict between victims of the war and those they would define as their victimizers, as well as between those who were living on agriculture, which often involved burning the forest, and those who were granted forest concessions. Overall, the conservation plan for the MBR relied on the effectiveness of local peoples to care for the forest while they lived on the proceeds of the concessions. However, the governance and oversight of the region was a under the care of a patchwork of agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as USAID. But even within the forest concessions, there was conflict. Of the locals who lived in the area, about 360,000, only 14,000 participate in the forest concessions; originally, there were about twelve concessions granted, and Page 2 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics ACOFOP became their umbrella organization. Today, approximately thirty communities participate, and they manage about 70 percent of the MBR (Cronkleton et al., 2008). So the concessions, which are certified by an international NGO, are not open to all residents, and there is variation within ACOFOP with regard to the criteria for success of a given concession—Gómez and Méndez (2007) note that there was “infighting and leadership through cronyism” in the less developed groups (p. 51). There was also conflict between ACOFOP and the set of regional and international NGOs that were involved in the Peten; the latter were seen as functioning paternalistically and failing to support the development of expertise on forestry and business in the local communities. USAID, in turn, supported community development by providing the communities with a set of protocols they could use to screen NGO participation and provide guidelines for their engagement. Thus, individuals took ownership over their communities and finally felt they had a voice (Gómez and Méndez, 2007). However, in 2003, other players entered the scene. The Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies and the Global Heritage Fund, both North American NGOs, put forward a joint proposal to develop an eco-tourism project intended to increase the preservation of the regions natural and cultural resources. This plan had strong ties to an American archaeologist who had helped explore the Mayan ruins, as well as ties to other U.S.-based corporations interested in eco-tourism; together with allies in the Guatemalan government, they pushed through legislation that established the “Mirador Basin (p.46) Plan,” increasing conservation restrictions and effectively cancelling six of the forest concession contracts. This plan was accompanied, in the private sector, by a plan to develop an eco-tourism project in the rainforest that included a hotel; because roads to the hotel would have the unavoidable consequence of opening the region to others, who would end up burning the forest to create land for grazing cattle, the plan also called for a monorail for transporting guests to and from the hotel. This plan defined the hotel within a framework of eco-tourism, and as a benefit to employment in the area because locals would be able to work at the hotel (presumably as waiters, housekeepers, janitors, and landscapers). Additionally, the private-sector eco-tourism plan called for the creation of a board to oversee the development of the project. No representatives from ACOFOP or other local representatives were included on the list of potential board members. The private- and public-sector plans were integrated, so that when the legislation passed, the private sector could set the development plan in motion. And there was much at stake. Recent explorations, led by a U.S. archaeologist, had proven that the Mayan ruins in that area are some of the oldest in the world, and, indeed, could hold the key to understanding the history of that ancient Page 3 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics culture. There were many in favor of preserving the site, ensuring that it was not plundered by looters who were allegedly selling artifacts from the site to the highest international bidders. Ecologically, the Mirador region is a site of tremendous biodiversity, and there were many who believed that it was threatened by farmers who were burning the forest to create land for grazing. They argued that the forest concessions were not able to “police” the region and control against these fires or reduce the presence of criminals who were either using the remoteness of the region to run drugs or selling ancient treasures on the black market. Those against the plan included the supporters of those forest concessions that would have been outlawed by the new zoning regulations, as well as USAID, which had been for years providing financial support and training to the concessionaires. ACOFOP brought suit to block the new zoning agreements, and they eventually won. But the legal wrangling deteriorated relations between the national government and locals; additionally, the presence of international NGOs and corporate interests based in the United States fractured relations within the Guatemalan government—some agencies and officials supported the forest concessions, with backing from USAID, and some supported cultural conservation, with support from the Global Heritage Fund.1 There were local, regional, national, and international stakeholders involved. And, at all of these levels, (p.47) there were charges and countercharges of bad intent, malfeasance and just plain stupidity. In 2004, I led a team to carry out a conflict assessment, commissioned by the Nature Conservancy.2 This organization wanted to understand the conflict more completely in order to design their conservation strategy for the region, not wanting to “conserve” at the expense of the local indigenous people who needed the forest concessions to live. This conflict provides an excellent case study for the exploration of conflict and narrative, its historical backdrop of the civil war, the needs of local indigenous peoples, and the presence of Mayan treasure in one of the world’s few remaining rainforests, all under the gaze of international corporations and NGOs that were interested in eco-development and in the shadow of criminal networks of drug runners and black marketeers in archeological treasures. This conflict, like most, contained a swirl of conflict stories in which to explore both the structure as well as the dynamics of conflict narratives. Both are critically important to understanding the way people are caught in stories they did not make (by themselves) and cannot control, which, in turn, allows for a broader narrative about people in conflict who, all too often, are victims of their own stories.

Conflict Narrative as Structure We owe much of our understanding of narrative structure to Aristotle who described, in his Poetics, the features of a good (i.e., tragic) narrative (Aristotle, 1987). A good narrative contains a beginning, a middle and an end; its objective Page 4 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics is to arouse pity and fear. For Aristotle, the plot (mythos) is the primary feature of a narrative, more important to its function than characters or themes; the values or perspectives (ethos) was secondary to the plot because he was less interested in that which undergirds the characters’ actions. Although this view has been critically important to the rhetorical assessment of narrative, it has its limits, for it does not accent the importance of the relationships that emerge through the plot, and it presumes that the linear events have rhetorical value, independent of the meaning that folks make (Belfiore, 2000). From this perspective, Aristotle was accenting the form of narrative, as opposed to the dynamics that surrounded the “pity and fear” that it was intended to arouse. Hegel had a much more social and dynamic view of narrative, arguing that conflict was the central feature: Now since collision as such requires a solution, which follows on the battle of opposites, a situation pregnant with collision is above all the subject of dramatic art. (Hegel, 1975, p. 205) (p.48) This formulation of narrative as founded on “collision” increases the attention to the human dimensions, the actors themselves. Indeed, Hegel describes this quite beautifully: But if human action is to be the ground of the collision, then the natural result produced by man…consists in the fact that unknowingly and unintentionally he has done something which later proves in his own eyes to have been a transgression of ethical powers essentially to be respected…The antagonism between his consciousness and the intention in his act and the later consciousness of what the act really was constitutes here the basis of the conflict. (Hegel, 1975, p. 213) Hegel’s argument was that (narrative) art is about the “battle of opposites” among world views, perspectives, and moral frameworks; but he is also saying that “collision” refers to the moment when a protagonist recognizes his own transgression. This is, in my view, an advance over Aristotle’s perspective on narrative, which highlights the central role of the plot, and, in so doing, accents the centrality of the formal outline of action and the links that connect events. However, Hegel’s attention to the role of conflict and collision in narrative highlights the nature of the persons involved, their interiority, their psychological and emotional processes, as well as the relationships between people. This puts people, human beings being human, at the center of an aesthetics of narrative. It also provides, as my argument unfolds, the foundation for a normative approach to narrative that has implications for a theory of narrative intervention.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Hegel’s perspective was adopted and developed by Freytag, building on the frame of narrative-as-conflict, in what came to be known as “Freytag’s pyramid.” In this structure, narrative has five acts: (1) exposition and (2) rising action leading to a (3) climax, which is followed by (4) falling action and (5) a resolution (Freytag, 2008). Although clearly, we might, from a more postmodern perspective, recognize that often good stories begin in the middle (without exposition) or never reach either a climax or a denouement, this structure is useful because it frames the climax in terms of conflict, which can take many forms, such as “internal conflicts and their resolution…the collision of two characters, (or) the opposition of a hero to his surroundings” (Freytag, 2008). Again, what is important is less the structure of the overall plot and more the notion that narrative is the working out of a conflict. See Figure 2.1. What Freytag and Hegel do is create a normative view of narrative, one that both reflects the structural features of narrative and their functions and instructs in terms of the practice of storytelling in a conflicted context. Conflict, from this perspective, is not just a feature of the social context where it occurs, as, for instance, as Burton’s (1996) human needs theory might suggest; it is constituted by the very narratives that are mobilized in the description of the conflict—it is created as people work, through narrative, to account for their (p.49) actions, the actions of others, and the consequences of those actions, over time.

Not all narratives “obey” a Hegelian form—they do not all operate as “collision.” If we understand narrative as a temporal account of actions that has, as Labov and Waletzky (2003) have argued, an Figure 2.1 Freytag’s Pyramid. For this “evaluative point,” people tell image see: Prince, Gerald. 2003. A stories all the time that have a Dictionary of Narratology. Lincoln, NE: point unrelated to conflict. University of Nebraska Press, January 1. Gergen and Gergen (1986) described, for example, three forms of narrative: progressive, regressive, and stable. It is only the regressive form that contains the tension that Hegel argued was characteristic of narrative form—“things are getting worse.” There are many “evaluative points” that do not have to do with conflict; the “evaluative point” may be that “life” is getting better (the absence of a collision), or a narrative may have a very trivial point—I finally was able to find the shoes that match my dress after weeks of shopping. There are many narratives that cover up and elide the “collision” that could be revealed in a narrative, such as those told by people who survive a genocide (Dwyer and Santikarma, 2003), and, in fact, the presence or absence of the Page 6 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics “collision” in these narratives functions to track pain and suffering that may not appear overtly. While adopting Hegel’s description of narrative as “collision” does not imply that all narratives need contain a collision, in the context of conflict, it is not only useful, but necessary, that we excavate the narrative structure-as-collision, for it is this structure and its related dynamics that constitute the conflict, forecasting and often justifying the violence (emotional, social, physical) that accompanies this collision.

The Structure and Politics of Conflict Narratives The conflict in the Mirador Basin reveals much about the conflict narratives that swirl through that context. First, stories in general, and therefore these stories, contain, as Chatman (1978) has noted, plots, character roles, and themes. The plot sets up the sequence of events as a temporal sequence, providing the logic that links one event to the next, for, indeed, a plot is more than a string of events —it is an emplotment, which constitutes the logic of characters’ action by the way the events are (p.50) sequenced (White, 1987). The sequence of events contains antecedent conditions that are described by speakers as preceding the action in the narrative. It provides the context for the action and unfolds as a set of episodes. These episodes, in turn, are held together by the logical connections that link one event to the next, that is, by the emplotment mentioned above. And, finally, a conflict narrative terminates in a set of negative outcomes that are the direct result of the actions of the Other. From a narrative perspective, a conflict dynamic is one in which parties to the interaction work to destabilize core sites in each other’s narrative. These core sites are core precisely because they are logically critical to the coherence of the story. For example, in the Mirador conflict, ACOFOP works to destabilize the narrative of the advocates for the eco-tourism project by connecting the North American interests in the project with other acts of interference in Latin America, raising the issue of “instability” regarding the intentions of the US NGO, Global Heritage Fund. It also links the government’s efforts to cancel the forest concessions with other periods in history when the government victimized its own citizens. This kind of narrative work can be understood as the development of “contextualizing narratives” that alter the meaning of an episode in the main plot line. Of course, any contextualizing narrative is at once relayered by an alternative as speakers work to restabilize their narratives. In Figure 2.2, the main plot line is depicted in the horizontal dimension, whereas the contextualizing narratives are shown in the vertical. In this diagram, the main plot line is A–F, with F as the negative outcome resulting from the string of events and A as the set of antecedent conditions the speaker provides. The other layers are events told that provide context, stabilizing the episodes in the main plot line. For example, M provides context, Page 7 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics which “thickens” and stabilizes the meaning of A; however, C in the main plot line has no events that provide context. Indeed, only those events that could be, potentially, unstable are further developed by contextualizing narratives. For example, in the Mirador Basin conflict, those who favored the eco-tourism project mentioned in their narrative the discovery of the rich biodiversity of the Mirador forest and noted that it was important to preserve it, given the destruction of other rainforests around the world. This “event” in their main plot line was never contested by anyone, nor was there any “work” done by parties to the conflict to (p.51) develop this event further. In contrast, the discussion of the presence of fires in the forest sparked many contextualizing narratives—each side to the conflict provided a context for understanding the fires that was then recontextualized by the other side. The “fires” became a site of instability in the main plot line.

Figure 2.2 Narrative Structuration.

It is interesting and important to note that as conflicts become protracted, narratives become, structurally, increasingly simple (Cobb, 1994): conflict narratives, over time, are drained of complexity as parties develop narrative “short cuts”—events in the main plot line become “dense” with meaning in that they stand as a semiotic marker for the entire set of contextualizing narratives that provided stability for that event. Once the event and the narratives that provide it with stability are fused, there is no longer any need for the work to stabilize the meaning of the event. The result is that meaning within the narrative is consolidated and less accessible as it grows in density. And this narrative compression creates a cycle, both within and across parties to a conflict: Because there is less “work” done to stabilize a narrative, the narrative is, paradoxically more stable, precisely because it is this “work” to build and reconstruct the context for events in the plot that is the location of contestation. Without contestation in the form of recontextualization, there is no evolution to the meaning of that portion of the plot line. Everyone “knows” the story, and even the contestation becomes rote, familiar, and routine. The narrative has laid down its own pathways to restabilizing and recontextualizing events that Others may work to destabilize. Once these pathways (responses) are created and solidified through repetition, each side to the conflict knows that it is and will continue to be unable to recontextualize events in the Other’s plot line. As a result, they cease talking and cease listening. In this way, as the event in the plot line stabilizes itself by sealing off alternative contextualizing narratives (i.e., making itself immune to change), it encapsulates the contextualizing narratives that have tried repeatedly and failed to alter its meaning. In this way, a conflict narrative over time becomes Page 8 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics foreshortened, dense, and otherwise inured to change. Its complexity is reduced in terms of the access that speakers have to the contextualizing narratives. In time, only the highly stable main plot line is needed, and, even then, events that would have been required in earlier narrative generations fall off and only the events critical to establishing the negative outcome (i.e., victimization) remain. This dynamic, illuminated by attention to the structuration of a given narrative, is core to all protracted conflicts. It suggests that there is an evolutionary process in a conflict by which narratives in the initial stages may be underdeveloped. In this early stage, speakers on all sides of a conflict would establish the events in their main plot line and contest events in their Other’s plot lines, and thus lay down contextualizing narratives, which would then be recontextualized. In this phase, the narratives would be at the height of their complexity, with multiple sites of instability. It could be that additional events in a main plot line could be developed (the horizontal dimension of narrative structure), or it could be that more work is done to develop contextualizing narratives (the (p.52) vertical dimension). However, from an evolutionary perspective, once this process of structuration is accomplished and all sides of the conflict contribute to this for their own and each other’s narratives, then narrative entropy would decline and a steady state would set in—negentropy reduces narrative instability, as well as the possibility of narrative transformation. The point here is that there is a tipping point where narrative development works inevitably to reduce narrative instability and contributes to the intractability of a conflict. And the pathos of this condition becomes clear— the effort to stabilize narrative, a natural and inevitable process of maintaining narrative coherence, reduces narrative complexity, as well as the possibility of narrative transformation. From this perspective, speakers are locked into conflicts precisely because narrative transformation is unlikely from within the narrative structuration process. The plot of a conflict narrative is unique because the responsibility for bad outcomes is caused by the actions of the Other, not Fate, the Divine Order, or the weather—all of these things could create an account of the negative outcome as beyond the control of the characters, either the speaker or their Other. This would, in turn, not function as a conflict narrative. For example, in Afghanistan under U.S. occupation, the soldiers on the ground struggle to interact with locals to build relationships with them through triangulating against the Taliban. When there are differences with these locals, U.S. soldiers try to “negotiate” with them, only to find themselves in a narrative context in which locals refuse to negatively position the Taliban, accounting for problems by locating responsibility in the weather, divine powers, or fate. The fact that actors in the story (Taliban, community members, and U.S. soldiers) have no agency means that there can be no conflict—and therefore no negotiation—for without a conflict there can be no negotiation.3 This is yet another way that narratives seal themselves off from transformation—negotiation in these cases is not possible, Page 9 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics not because of the recalcitrance of the parties but because the narrative itself advances a plot that locates responsibility for action in conditions that are beyond the purview of human beings. In summary, the structure of the plot in a conflict narrative has important implications for conflict dynamics and provides a window into the “reality” of the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” which accounts for the nature of conflict dynamics. From a structural perspective, this is due to the fact that narrative form, in a conflict, provides the framework for dynamics.

(p.53) Form and Function: A Structural Perspective Propp (1968), in his Morphology of the Folktale, analyzed one hundred folk tales from a structural perspective, identifying thirty-one functions that are performed, in sequence, in a folktale. These functions are the building blocks of folktales (e.g. “absentation”—where a character leaves home, or “wedding”— where the hero arrives at his or her new home), and together comprise the movement of the story. Additionally, he notes that there are eight different kinds of characters, such as the villain, the hero, the false hero, and the helper. This structural analysis is fascinating and provides a lens on narrative form; however, it does not allow us to differentiate one narrative from another, nor does it readily apply to understanding conflict dynamics. Greimas (1971) brings us closer to the analysis of action in conflicts with his description of “actant” analysis. Drawing on Propp, Greimas identified six foundational character roles and conceptualized them as three pairs of roles: subject/object, sender/receiver, helper/opponent. This framework is much more succinct and is pertinent to the analysis of conflict narratives. However, Ricoeur, Collins, and Perron (1989) suggest that Greimas’s efforts to produce what he calls an “algebra of language” cannot contain (i.e., confine and define) the complexity of narrative performance, which is, in all cases, an interaction. However, drawing on Greimas’s notion of “narrative grammar,” it is possible to examine the types of interactional dynamics that are generated by the interaction between two narrative syntaxes. A narrative syntax refers to the internal relation of a particular set of plot, character roles, and moral constructs (Cobb, 2010). Elsewhere, I translated van Lange and Joireman’s (2008) six “social orientations” into a set of six narrative syntactic forms, in an effort to generate a relationship between interaction and narrative form. The six syntactic forms include aggression, individualism, competition, collaboration, equality, and altruism. Each of these categories forecasts a set of “moves” that are made in interaction, on the basis of the particular narrative syntax comprising plots, character roles, and themes. In other words, the interactions between people can be understood in terms of the narrative syntax under use. For example, aggression can be understood as the enactment of a given narrative syntax in which the speaker justifies his violence against an evil Other, in a plot that reveals the Other’s evil intention through the sequence of events. Page 10 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics In a conflict, this syntax may be countered by either a similar (specular) syntax or perhaps by one of individualism, in which the speaker advances a narrative “the ends justify the means” and constructs a world where trickery is required and the Others are easily duped. In other words, two narrative syntactic forms can be in use within a conflict because each party is drawing on a different narrative syntax for the logic of action. In Table 2.1, the six narrative syntaxes are described, across the plot logics, values, and character descriptors. (p.54)

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics

Table 2.1 A Typology of Narrative Syntax Escalatory Syntaxes

Transformative Syntaxes

Aggression Syntax

Individualism Syntax

Competition Syntax

Values Positive Negative

Survival (life/ values)




Plot logic

Characters Other Self

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Collaboration Syntax

Equality Syntax

Altruism Syntax

Strategic winning Problem solving

Symmetry Justice

Self Sacrifice





Forced into Ends justify violence, we fight. means;

Survival of the fittest;

Mutual gain— shared risks;

Rights also imply duties;

Duty to Selfsacrifice




Difficult or Complex

Human beings

Worthy Blessed




Smart / Fair

Human beings

Dutiful Strong

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics (p.55) Each of these syntactic forms fit the given domain or arena in which they are told. For example, the competition syntax “lives” in business settings where the Darwinian logic of “survival of the fittest” both reflects and creates relations in which the speaker intends to “win” and interaction is itself a contest. The individualism syntax fits the outlaw networks of gangs and black marketeers, where practicality is more important than following the rules and self-interest is, in fact, the “rule,” independent of the consequences for others. This is, indeed, an antisocial narrative syntax. The aggression narrative syntax is told by groups that are locked in a deadly conflict and engaged in violence against the Other. The U.S. policies on terrorism reflect this narrative—the terrorists intend evil and we must, to defend our freedoms and survive, capture or kill them.4

The six syntaxes are themselves designated as either escalatory or transformative syntactic forms. The aggression syntax undermines the development of relationships because the pattern of interaction that ensues itself precludes curiosity or the emergence of intimacy. In contrast, a collaboration syntax is one in which the speakers value mutual gain, meeting the interests of both parties, over time. Working together (“co-laboring”), however, is not the same syntax as that of “equality,” in which the discourse of “rights” provides the framework for orienting action and assessing outcomes. This syntax is typical of groups that adopt it to alter the conditions of their marginalization; the feminist movement, the civil rights movement, and even the protest movement in Egypt use this narrative syntax. But this syntax does not necessarily lead to the development of relationship with the Other. A speaker can claim her rights without having a caring relation for the Other—there is little emotional attachment reflected or created by this syntax, in contrast to the syntax of altruism, in which self-sacrifice for the Other is valued and the alternative, selfishness, is decried. In a conflict, the escalatory syntaxes diminish what Dewey (1929, 1992) refers to as “critical intelligence,” that knowledge that comes from reflection on the relationship in context, tied back to the development of practical solutions to problems. Without this reflection, parties become, over time, more certain about their own knowledge, and the narrative syntax reflects this—the evolution toward aggression is notoriously prevalent. However, in transformative syntaxes, interaction with others may lead to the development of critical intelligence, either because the conversation or interaction between the parties continues (i.e., persons stay in a kind of “conversation” over time in which they can “thicken” the context for their interpretation of the Other), or because the syntax itself creates an interactional pattern in which disclosure and revelation are part of the interaction. (p.56) Furthermore, transformation is possible as persons learn to recognize and navigate narrative syntaxes. In The Evolving Self Kegan (1982) has argued that human development is reflected in the development of the capacity to manage conflict. From a narrative syntax perspective, this would amount to persons being able to reflect on the syntax that is speaking through them and alter it in favor of a syntax that de-escalates conflict and promotes learning Page 13 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics about the Other, thus enhancing “critical intelligence.” However, a cursory examination of the narrative syntaxes that populate the deadly conflicts in the world today (the Middle East, Darfur, Afghanistan, Somalia), not to mention the public protests across the world that are intermittently and violently repressed, makes clear that persons and governments remain entrenched in the syntax they are speaking (or are spoken by). To that may be added disheartening evidence of an easy de-volution toward the aggression syntax, that takes place as one party feels the Other is using the individualism or aggression syntax and alters its own syntax toward violence, as it cannot presume that the rules of the game will fit, say, a (fair) competition syntax. Likewise, persons in an equality syntax may realize, as the rebels in Libya have in 2012, that their Other is using an aggression narrative syntax, and they adopt it as well. Although it is very likely that persons within one syntax may adopt another, even moving out of an escalatory syntax toward a transformative syntax, the persistence of conflict suggests the opposite: Escalatory narrative syntaxes have a path dependency of their own, and once they are in motion, they gain strength. And, indeed, the concept of narrative syntax is only useful insofar as it supports the analysis of conflict dynamics and provides a lens to make sense of escalation and transformation. But narrative syntax is only one way that narrative structure can be discussed. It is also typically discussed in terms of genre. Bruner (1991) discusses genre as one of the ten features of narrative; he argues: Narrative genre, in this dispensation, can be thought of not only as a way of constructing human plights but as providing a guide for using mind, insofar as the use of mind is guided by the use of an enabling language. (Bruner, 1991, p. 15) This “mind” is a social mind, one that “lives” in and derives meaning from the social context, a network of relations, within a cultural setting where ways of knowing provide the framework for the hermeneutic work done by listeners to make sense of the narrative. So “genre” refers here to a way of “constructing human plights” but understanding this construction as nestled inside an interpretative system resonant with and constitutive of the social and cultural setting. From this perspective, the form of the narrative is linked to the social context in which it is situated. Thus, in a given setting, the diversity of how “human plights” are formulated is limited—interpreters work to categorize narrative as a type on the basis of the categories they bring. “That is to say, we can (p.57) speak of genre both as a property of a text and as a way of comprehending narrative” (Bruner, 1991, p. 14). At a local level, the “comprehending” that is done is a function, following Bruner, of the relational dynamic—interpretations are delimited by the history of the interaction dynamics of a given relation. In the context of a conflict, the Page 14 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics melodrama, for example, is a distinct narrative genre that often oversimplifies the plot sequence because it links events together to account for rising danger and how the victim is saved, thus restoring the natural order without any transformation of the characters involved. There are, surprisingly, a seemingly limited set of conflict narrative genres (human plights.) They are, by definition, what Gergen and Gergen (1986) have referred to as “regressive narratives,” for they emplot a decline in circumstances. These declines within a conflict narrative are caused by the bad traits and/or intentions of Others. Depending on cultural resources, the nature of the bad intentions or bad traits that are mobilized in a conflict narrative varies. For example, living in Washington D.C., the political capital of the U.S., I am compelled to listen regularly to the conflict narratives told by Democrats and Republicans. In this political culture, “lying,” “misrepresenting,” and “stealing” are often used to negatively position the Other. There seem to be two genres of narrative in Washington: The first is a regressive story that delegitimizes the Other while the Hero (speaker) works against all odds to triumph. This story is a narrative of heroic struggle. However, there is an equally present second narrative that delegitimizes the Other while the speaker positions Self as a victim (of the Other). In this case, there is no struggle against the negative outcome, and the speaker positions himself as simply enduring. In both cases, the regressive narrative dominates—things are getting worse. As a permutation of a regression narrative, the “injustice” narrative lays out the contrast between the moral order of justice and the events that lead to its opposite, injustice. In the context of the Mirador Basin conflict, there were several narrative genres at play. ACOFOP, the organization of forest concessions, told a narrative of injustice, noting that it has the legal and moral right to the forest concessions, having been historically victimized and threatened in the present by corrupt actors who sought to cancel the concessions for their own personal benefit. The international NGO’s narrative, in contrast, had an emplotment that highlighted the increasing danger to the natural environment caused by the fires that people set to clear the forest for grazing, as well as danger to the cultural heritage sites from thieves and vandals who rob and destroy treasures from the Mayan archeological site. The point here is that the nature of the suffering can be used to differentiate emplotments—loss (of the environment/cultural treasures) is different from injustice. One emplotment may be organized around loss and the other around injustice, but they both contain what Lyotard (1988) refers to as “differend,” which is the suffering that results from the victimization related to not being heard. (p.58) Some would argue that, in the context of the Mirador Basin conflict, narratives told by wealthy corporations or NGOs are heard precisely because they often control the sites where the stories are told. For example, I attended a presentation on the Mirador archeological treasures at the National Geographic Page 15 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Society in Washington D.C. The archaeologist who was working on that site elaborated the narrative about its destruction by looters and the destruction of the forest by fires. This event was described in major U.S. newspapers. Although we might imagine that power and access to resources are coterminous with being heard, it is not necessarily the case, for “being heard” involves being able to alter the story of the Other, which the NGOs in this case were not able to do, despite the fact that they mobilized the international press. The narrative of the indigenous people remained intact and impervious to the NGOs’ narrative. In the context of conflict, the differend is present in both narratives, no matter the speaker, as long as the Other interlocutor remains impervious and immune to conversation. It is as if the speaker were not speaking. Despite these differences, the nature of suffering in narrative is also generic; again, drawing on the notion of differend, all parties who speak without having their voice matter to their Others are victimized by their inability to alter the conditions in which they speak. At best, the Other may respond in anger, with hatred, denigrating and delegitimizing the speaker. In this case, each side is caught in its own “punctuation of the sequence of the events” (Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson, 1967), in which each side to the conflict emplots its narrative such that the Other initiated the action that led to the speaker’s action —speakers emplot their narratives so that they are victims of the actions of Others, and, as such, they are only responding, not initiating the cycle of action/ interaction. Conversely, they emplot the Others as victimizers, who are described as either having bad intentions toward the speaker or as having bad traits (stupid, lazy, greedy, crazy), or both. In a conflict scenario, victimizers are almost always positioned as agents in the production of negative consequences via the attribution of bad traits and/or bad intentions (Cobb, 1994). In the Mirador Basin conflict, ACOFOP described the international NGOs as having the intention to colonize the forest in an effort to make money (bad intention); these NGOs were also characterized by ACOFOP as being sneaky and arrogant (bad traits). The NGOs, in turn, characterized ACOFOP as ignoring evidence (willing to remain ignorant, which is a bad trait) and trying to stall “progress” or “development” (bad intention). The negative positioning of the Others consolidates their role as victimizers precisely because they cause, through bad traits and intentions, negative outcomes. The roles of victim and victimizer in conflict narratives are critical to the conflict dynamic. Each party tells a story in which the Other is a victimizer, thus establishing, in the process, their own position as victim. Not only are these roles reciprocal, they are interdependent—each party structures the sequence (p.59) of the events in ways that externalize responsibility for the negative outcomes. This is a critical feature of conflict narratives—speakers punctuate the action or emplot their narrative so that they formulate themselves as victims; Page 16 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics their suffering, independent of their wealth or power, is real in that they are not heard by their Others. So, although there are genres of emplotment, the differend—“the suffering result from not being heard”—is generic to conflict narratives. And the consequences are tragic for each party to the conflict—they are made victims because they are unheard by their Others. Violence is the only recourse when words no longer work (Scarry, 1985.). Indeed, the “tragic” genre of narrative has been explored in terms of its implications for conflict resolution (Cobb, 2006; Hardy, 2008). Hardy (2008) argues, citing Frow (2005), that genre, like Foucault’s notion of discourse, has a colonizing power in that it is a form of: practice(s) [that] carries out an action; [they are] systematic [for] they are relatively coherent in the way they work; and [they are] formative [in that] they build a weight of meaning around the categories that they describe (e.g., whether a particular emotion is “good” or “bad”). (Hardy, 2008, p. 250) In this light, genre is much more than a tool for differentiating or categorizing narrative; it is a window into the way narrative structures both experience and interaction. Hardy describes how “melodrama” is a genre that is not only typical of a conflict dynamic but also constitutive of it, providing a framework for the expression of the hero/heroine’s suffering. Hardy notes that the character roles are flat and stereotyped. The plots accent the actions of the characters with little discussion of their intentions—rather, the focus is on the effects of those actions (Hardy, 2008, p. 255). This makes sense in terms of the conflict dynamic—the subjectivity of the Other is truncated, and their intentions, motivations, or emotional experience is left out of the speaker’s story. The flattening of the Other is a narrative form of dehumanization, for indeed, to be human is to be constructed as having intentions and emotions. This, in turn, contributes to create the differend, the suffering that accompanies not being heard, and the dynamic that is then set in motion is all too familiar—speakers speak but there is no evidence, no trace, of conversation in that speech, and it is as though they did not speak at all. Hardy suggests that it is the absence of the tragic form of narrative that contributes to escalation and that conflict resolution, specifically mediation, should involve the transformation of narrative from melodrama to tragedy. This would, she argues, thicken the characterizations of actors, complicate the plot by providing more context, and add complexity to the moral frameworks used to evaluate the action. And, indeed, tragedy is a narrative genre that, as Carroll (2001) has noted, is revelatory in that the climax reveals a moral coherence to life and (p.60) enables a revision of the past—the events in the beginning and the middle of the story provide context for the climax, thus humanizing the protagonist. The actors are clearly caught in a plot in which they contributed to Page 17 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics the climax, even though they intended to solve or redress—rather than contribute to—the problem/conflict. Carroll, citing Aristotle, notes that the result of this revelation is the creation of, first, pity for the protagonist, and then, fear on the part of the audience, that they too could be destroyed through the very actions they take to avoid that destruction. However, this is a rather instrumental account of how tragedy impacts an audience. Rather, I would suggest that the impact on the audience arises from the experience of irony—the strengths of the protagonists contribute to their downfall, their actions aimed at avoiding trouble contribute to that trouble, and the “evil others” are now never simply evil, but rather frail human beings being human. Irony turns melodrama on its head—the good and the bad are mixed, and the path to righteousness or safety is not clear. From this perspective, tragedy obscures the linear logic of beginnings, middles, and ends in that the meaning of the beginning and the middle, or even the end, for that matter, cannot be known until the end, when the meaning of earlier events is often reversed through the revelation effected by/at the climax of the narrative. It is this instability that is awesome to the audience; it is awesome because it is destabilizing, disorganizing, and upending. And the result is that we not only know the protagonist better, but we also know ourselves less by witnessing how the protagonist was duped, as we are, by the evolution of meaning. We, the audience, like the protagonist, are duped in our own lives, unable to make sense of the meaning of current events until that sense is revealed to us in a climax in which revelation is accompanied by reversals in terms of how we understand given events in the plot and how we morally characterize the protagonists and antagonists (their strengths are frequently linked to serious weaknesses). This is much deeper than the pity/fear response that Aristotle imagined, even though these emotions might indeed be present. Rather, the audience is forced to examine the fickleness of narrative itself—the plot (of life) may not be understood in the present, but may only become knowable through revelation at a later date. The characters that populate our stories, including ourselves, may not be who they appear. The calamity for the audience is not a version of “There but for the grace of God go I” but rather a recognition, even fleeting, that the primordial form of narrative itself cannot be trusted to guide us, as actors in our own life narrative. Yet, because narrative and narrating are central to being human, we are forced to be in narrative, to use it to retrospectively and prospectively make sense of our actions and those of Others. As a narrative genre, tragedy exposes narrative itself as the machinator behind the veil; like Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, we see narrative—“the great and powerful Oz”— for what it is, a system of meaning that does not obediently represent the world, but in fact a process that creates the world. In turn, this upends the entire view of authority (p.61) or authorship—the narratives that we tell contain (i.e., capture) our experience and provide the framework we use to make sense of ourselves. However, if narrative cannot be trusted, if reversals of meaning are Page 18 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics possible, then we cannot be, as we might imagine, the authors of the stories we tell—they will have their own course, their own trajectories, and we cannot know ahead of time how they might proceed. We do not know where we stand, as authors. And thus we have little authority. This is precisely the opposite in the case of conflict narratives. Speakers have no doubts that their narrative represents reality. They are certain that they know the intentions of their Others; they are confident that they can alter the plots in which they find themselves, perhaps not changing the Other, but warding off the worst-case scenarios. There is an assumption in a conflict dynamic that narrative is obedient and that speakers can author their past, present, and future. However, it is precisely this certainty that contributes to generate and maintain conflict. By not reflecting on narrative’s reliability and stability, speakers legitimize Self and, in the process, cast off any flaws—they are perfect. They denigrate the Other, casting off any redeeming qualities or intentions. They externalize responsibility for the action, blaming Others for negative outcomes. They wrap themselves in their victim narratives and the dynamics of the conflict function to ward off reflection, on the second-order level, on the process of narration itself. In other words, it is the form of the narrative content, as well as the interactional pattern that unfolds from this form, that matters. The form of the narrative relates to the nature of the struggle over meaning that is endemic to conflict.

Positioning The struggle over voice, to be heard, is reflected in the way that characters within the story are described, as well as in the way the voice of the speaker positions Self in relation to those characters. Harré and van Langenhove (1999) have argued that speakers position or index Self and Other in and through the storyline they advance in their narratives. In the case of conflict, these positions are positive for Self, legitimizing and justifying the role of the speaker, as characters playing out the story. This impacts the relationship of the speaker with his or her audience as the story unfolds. And, as we know, speakers position their Other as delegitimate, within a range from simply inappropriate to evil. These positions are established in discourse via the elaboration of moral orders or moral constructs that create the moral landscape within which people are located. Harré and van Langenhove (1991) refer to this as “first-order positioning,” which is the performance of the talk that locates a given person or persons within a given storyline. For example, ACOFOP, in the Mirador Basin conflict, creates a storyline about its forest concessions that positions the government (p.62) as historically violent and potentially tricky, if not dangerous, capable of going back on its commitments. And during a mediation session with a contentious couple, it is habitual that each will want to be the one who describes the nature of the problem, so as to establish a first landscape in

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics which self will be defined as victim and Other as perpetrator—a description that will then vigorously contested by the Other. However, as Harré and van Langenhove (1991) note, when persons are delegitimized in first-order positioning, they almost always resist, contest, and otherwise denounce the first-order positions they are “offered,” and their reaction can be understood as a “second-order positioning” process: At this moment a second order positioning occurs in which the first order positioning is questioned and has to be negotiated….The story-line then will shift from its original subject to the story itself. In other words, second order positioning occurs when the first order positioning is not taken for granted by one of the persons involved in the discussion. (Harré and van Langenhove, 1991, p. 396)

Embodiment as Narrative Interpellation Positioning is a political moment reminiscent of what Althusser called “interpellation” (Althusser, 1971), a process in which, persons are “called” as subjects, within a relation of power, and, in this calling, recognize themselves as a subject to that relation of power. Law (2000) notes that although Althusser was presuming an objectified relation of power tied to the production of the state apparatus, we can draw on this concept to understand the dynamics of subject positions without this presumption. Using positioning theory, it is possible to see the discourse itself as the “apparatus” for the production of a given way of being in the world.5 And, like Althusser’s subjects, persons are “called” by positions, recognizing themselves as a subject in the moment of positioning. The structure in and by which they are positioned is narrative. It is narrative that calls out “Hey, you!” only to have us, as the addressee, turn and recognize that we are, indeed, being positioned. We embody the narrative that calls us in the way that we comply, fitting our selves into role, into a moral landscape, into a line of action and a set of characters. But we also comply in and through the resistance we mobilize, trying to walk away, leave the field or protest, complain, deny, or otherwise justify the (p.63) storyline we are advancing in and through our actions and commitments. Either way, whether we comply or resist, we are interpellated by narrative. As Foucault (1995, 2008) has noted, subject positions are embodied positions, and, often, the embodied practice of being in a given subject position precedes, as Law (2000) notes, the recognition of that subject position. For example, in the Mirador Basin conflict, ACOFOP was a “subjectivity,” subjected, as per their selfpositioning, to victimization by the government and interference from North America. This subjectivity was not simply a set of feelings or emotions, but also a material history, written on their bodies. And these bodies, Feldman (1991) argues: are the surface on which meaning is inscribed. In the context of conflict in the Mirador Basin, the bodies were marked with the scars of poverty and hard Page 20 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics work—the men were lean and the women had cracked heels in flip-flops. Despite the signs of wear and tear on their bodies, they live in close-knit communities— the women are in small groups, working or talking, with a gaggle of little children close by, while the men are together in the workshops during the day and then, at night, sitting together outside in the square or in a café. “Community” is alive in the Peten. When members of our group arrived in Carmelita, members of the community were nonchalant, intent instead on their own work, within their own spheres. Our group was introduced to different community members, who listened politely to us describe our project—to make sense of the nature of the conflict in their region. Some of them smiled, and others were interested in sharing with us, with great pride, the fruits of their labors and explaining the process of harvesting the trees and turning them into timber that they sold on an international market. They were, from this perspective, tracking the presence of the Global Heritage Fund’s narrative that the forest concessions were ineffective, too costly to run, disorganized, or unable to adequately protect the forest from those who would set fires to create grazing land or those who would steal archeological treasures. They were, indeed, interpellated by that narrative. Interpellation is not symmetrical. The man on the street does not have the same potential to interpellate the police as the police have to interpellate the man. In the Peten, ACOFOP worked hard at the international level to ensure that the private-sector logging industry did not “win” the contracts for the concessions that were being created. ACOFOP was able to organize the international community to ward off that possibility, telling a story about the community’s rights as locals to run their forests, as “Peteneros” (people of the Peten). They were able to interpellate the logging industry as trying to sideline the people of the region and benefit from the natural resources from their region. But, more recently, a proposal was put forward to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to designate the Mirador Basin a “Cultural Heritage” site (Cronkleton et al., 2008, p. 11). This proposal is based on the narrative, supported by the Global Heritage Fund, that the region is at risk, which in turn delegitimizes ACOFOP’s efforts to conserve its resources, both cultural and natural. ACOFOP has been interpellated by this proposal, (p. 64) which anchors a story that denies its own narrative. In this way, positioning in a storyline is a form of interpellation. As Bakhtin (1981) has noted, positioning operates at two levels—the speaker positions self-as-character (or his proxy) within the story as positive and legitimate; he, in this process, positions himself, through his character or proxy, as positive in relation to his audience. In this way, the Others in the narrative are harnessed to the function, as negative exemplars, of legitimizing the speaker. The speaker uses his voice to build a specific relation with the audience through the construction of the role of the Other(s), in a triangulation with the audience, making what Bakhtin calls “sideways glances” at that Other while in Page 21 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics conversation with the narrative audience. The audience thus plays a central role in story construction, providing the relational terrain for the speaker to materialize Self as legitimate. Bakhtin (1981, 1986) has noted that the voice of the speaker is a political voice. He names two kinds of voice, active and passive, and crosses that with a description of the voice as either singular or double. So a speaker may speak, in either active or passive voice, as either agent (active) or recipient of the actions of Others (passive). However, the speaker can also speak in a singular voice, referring only to herself, her experience, or she can speak with a double voice in which she harnesses the voice of the Other to her own voice, using the voice of the Other to make a point in her own narrative and thus triangulating with her interlocutors. Of the four voices (active single, active double, passive single, passive double), only the active double voice functions to triangulate the voice of the Other with the audience/interlocutors. Bakhtin notes that this has the effect of creating ironic “glances” by the speaker, in front of the audience, toward the Other whose voice she appropriates, thus creating the conditions for the denigration of the Other. However, using Bakhtin’s notion of “double voice,” it is possible that the voice of the Other could also be harnessed by the speaker for reflection, his own reflection, in front of his audience. This creates a very different relationship among speaker, Other, and audience, one in which the speaker opens his own narrative to interrogation using the voice of the Other: “When he said that he thought I was selfish, I was surprised but then I thought more about it and realized that I have indeed been focused on my own issues and likely disattentive to his needs,” or, in the Mirador Basin conflict, “They told us that we were responsible for the fires, and, while we disagree, we do think we can do more by getting training by the Park Police.” I have elsewhere referred to this as “reflective double voice” and argued that it both signals and constructs a new narrative coherence, a new emplotment or “narrative point,” and, in the process, creates new frameworks for judging action advanced by and in the narrative. The evaluative point of a story pivots on the way that characters’ actions are evaluated, what Aristotle called “ethos.” Evaluation requires the third core component of narrative—the moral system, or values that are advanced in (p. 65) the narrative. The evaluative dimension of the narrative is constituted by the opposition of moral values that operate as “constructs” (Kelly, 1963). A “construct” is a set of oppositional terms, in this case, oppositional values.6 In a conflict narrative, the oppositional values are usually unidimensional; there is no shade of gray. The set of narratives that comprise the conflict may each proffer its own moral constructs, legitimizing Self and delegitimizing Other; and these constructs are often not shared by the Others even though they are highly interdependent. The moral constructs used by one party to legitimize Self are structured such that the negative pole in that construct provides the dimension Page 22 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics for the delegitimacy of the Other. As the act of delegitimizing functions as an accusation, the negative positioning within a narrative sets up an interactional dynamic in which each delegitimized Other denies, justifies, or excuses the negative position, and in so doing, launches a counteraccusation that functions to delegitimize the delegitimizer. It becomes interdependent when each of the speakers constructs his own legitimacy on the basis of the delegitimacy of the other. As the accusation-counteraccusation process becomes ingrained in a pattern of interaction, both speakers and their Others are locked in an inescapable pattern. Again, the pathos is obvious and persistent. In the case of the Mirador Basin conflict, the value system within ACOFOP’s narrative advanced the moral construct “justice/liars”—ACOFOP constructed a contrast between those people who promoted justice and those who lie (note that these are not linguistic opposites). There were, additionally, a set of associated values, corollary to these two: People who lie are those with money and self-interest; those who advance justice are industrious and careful with resources. In their narratives, the Others occupied the negative pole of each of these constructs. As these are unfolded in a conversation, so are the politics of the narrative, as the speakers enrolled me, as their interlocutor, in their value system. In other words, the legitimizing work is directed to the audience because, indeed, we are legitimate as speakers not through the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, but through the stories we tell to others about ourselves, stories that can then be elaborated by the interlocutors to materialize and anchor the speaker’s legitimacy. Together, the emplotment, the character roles, and the moral constructs function to create the coherence of the narrative (Genette, 1980). And, given that a narrative is a system (Cobb, 2010), alterations to the plot generate instability in the relations with the character roles and the moral constructs that constitute legitimacy and delegitimacy for Self/Other. For this reason, narratives resist the introduction of new roles or changes to emplotment or moral constructs. Although it can be argued that speakers resist the alterations of their own narratives, in a conflict, this formulation can easily belie the complexity of (p. 66) narrative dynamics. Pragmatic perspectives on language presume that people use language to “do” something and are thus agentically involved in positioning and repositioning Self and Other—becoming masters, as it were, of the narratives they deploy. Although this certainly is part of the story, it is also the case that the narrative logic itself, once established, makes alterations in the narrative system extremely difficult without destabilizing the network of positionings that are tied to a given story. The sense of a narrative, once constituted, can be seen as having a life force of its own, structuring itself to avoid entropic disintegration.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics For example, during the interviews with persons from the forest concessions, I opened a conversation about whether all the people in their community agreed with them regarding their narrative about the proposed eco-tourism project. They admitted that some members of the community were in favor of the project; the introduction of this new “character” began to destabilize the narrative that all local people were fighting to preserve their forest concessions and, sure enough, with probing I learned that these other “characters” had wanted to join the concessionaires but were refused because they came “afterward.” Thus, ACOFOP was, in fact, sitting on a resource that it did not want to share with Others, and this began to destabilize its narrative of “justice”—it was itself contributing to the marginalization of other members of the community. At that point in the conversation, a lot of “work” had to be done to justify the restrictions on participation in the concessions, as well as to make explanations that contextualized the nature of those who were not part of the concession. All of this work can be seen as being done by the speakers in an effort to preserve their legitimacy and avoid being described as unfair to other members of the community. But this is a rather instrumental approach to narrative and presumes that speakers are in control of their own narratives; this account of narrative constructs language as being in service of speakers and fails to account for the complex ways in which, once mobilized, discourse structures what can be said (Foucault, 1972). From this perspective, narratives delimit, police, and regulate themselves, constraining what can be introduced and “marking” what must be excluded or refuted. The consequences of this view of narrative are major, for we may ourselves, as theorists and practitioners, locate “resistance” to change in the narratives themselves and interrogate the way in which speakers are unable to alter the stories that “contain” the very conflicts that are materialized by these stories. Although it is certainly the case that persons are at some level responsible for narration, they use stories pragmatically, as Wittgenstein (1953) described; but they are also used by their stories, set up in no small way as pawns in a given context, bound to reproduce, strengthen, and stabilize the narratives. This is particularly the case in a protracted conflict. Parties to the conflict anchor their Self and their relationships within a narrative that accounts for the conflict; any alteration to the narrative destabilizes identity and relations across (p.67) a network of people on all sides of the conflict. At some level, should one of the parties to a conflict begin to alter its story about the Other or about the situation in a way that unlocks the tight relation among plots, characters, and moral constructs, then all parties to the conflict, even intra-parties, must layer over any ruptures with new explanations that stabilize the narrative, many times at any and all cost.7 If we see this “work” as instrumental behavior on the part of people to preserve their legitimacy, then we fail to see that people are also caught in narratives they did not make by themselves and cannot change by themselves. In other words, conceptualizing narratives as moving to preserve Page 24 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics their coherence is itself a narrative that positions persons as victims of the conflict stories they tell; it permits analysts and practitioners to see how persons are not “free” to tell any story of their choosing, but are, at some level, chosen by the stories they tell.

Narrative Closure Narrative theorists have described narrative as a system of meaning. The plot, characters, and themes that comprise the narrative work in tandem to reinforce each other; plots are understandable as a function of character roles and themes —the fit between the parts internal to narrative, as well as the fit between narratives, constitutes the coherence of a given narrative (Agar and Hobbs, 1982; Blume, Johnson, and Paavola, 2007; Cobb, 2010; Genette, 1980; Polkinghorne, 1988). As we know, narratives unfold over the course of interaction; episodes are strung together, a set of antecedent conditions are provided, and the evaluative point is created. Some of the events episodes in the plot line will be, inevitably, more unstable than others in that the meaning of the event could be more easily contested or reinterpreted by Others in the context of a conflict. And there is much at stake, for if an episode’s meaning is altered, then the narrative system changes and so does its overall meaning. Coherence would, under these circumstances, be weak. Contestation is itself a process by which the speaker provides an alternative frame on a given episode, recontextualizing it. If this new context takes hold (i.e., it is elaborated in a network of people), it de facto alters the meaning of the entire narrative line, as positions are altered as well as the evaluative (p.68) point. It is often the case that the first speaker will then move to recontextualize the recontextualized episode by explaining or justifying, which may function to restabilize the meaning in an event line. For example, in the Mirador Basin conflict, the peace agreement Figure 2.2 Narrative Structuration. itself is one of the events in ACOFOP’s storyline. It has never been challenged by Others (e.g., by stating that it did not occur or that it complicated the composition of the Peten by forcing ex-combatants and displaced persons to live in the same locale). In sharp contrast, the NGOs provide a narrative of the Peten that includes the increasing presence of fires—these fires, as an episode, anchor the evaluative point that the concessions are not effective at protecting the forest. However, ACOFOP and its supporters recontextualize the fire-as-episode, noting that these fires are on the margins, not within the areas encompassed by the concessions. The pro-plan speakers have two choices at this point: They can argue about the placement of the fires and, in the process, de facto incorporate ACOFOP’s Page 25 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics recontextualization and contest it with another recontextualization; or they can simply ignore it. If they do the former, they are really in a negotiation over the meaning of the fires; if they ignore it, they effectively constitute ACOFOP as a nonspeaker and continue their conversation with Others, such as the international press or other plan advocates within Guatemala. These speakers have, for the most part, chosen the latter path, ignoring ACOFOP’s recontextualization. Perhaps one could argue that the lack of engagement effectively constitutes the pro-plan narrative as “stable,” for it is unchanged. But isolation does not constitute stability—rather, this could be termed “static” because there is no engagement of the Other’s narrative. “Stability” instead refers to the way in which a given narrative reconfigures itself when faced with a recontextualization, such that the evaluative point does not change. From this perspective, “stability” requires flexibility, not rigidity, for the recontextualization of Other’s recontextualization blocks changes to its evaluative point, assuming the second-order recontextualization is then adopted by the Others.

Again, Figure 2.28 depicts the two dimensions of narrative coherence. The horizontal axis shows the episodes in the main plot line, and the vertical dimension refers to the contextualizing accounts, frames, or subplots. (p.69) As the conversation unfolds, if the interaction continues, the narrative becomes more complex as new components are added that contribute to the stability of the main narrative line, as long as there is no alteration to the meaning of the episodes in that main line. In other words, the vertical dimension of the narrative is the dimension elaborated, in interaction by the original speaker and all who elaborate that line via contextualizing narratives. To the extent that those elaborations reaffirm and anchor the meaning in the main plot line, the story is made ever more stable. To the extent that the main plot line is altered, the elaborations function to destabilize its meaning, thus reducing its coherence. It is important to note that both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of narrative coherence can be collaboratively constructed, in a conflict context, by speakers and their Others. Using this model of narrative coherence, conflict resolution may be defined as a process of narrative elaboration that involves (a) the development of a main plot line (by one or multiple speakers and/or their Others) and (b) the creation of a scaffold of contextualizing narratives developed and elaborated by all parties, speakers and their Others. This is more than a “collaboration” at a primordial level of the social construction of reality, because, as each contextualizing element is adopted, even if it is contested, the elements critical to the coherence of each of the main storylines told by parties in conflict are woven or braided together. Although this process will be explicitly described in subsequent chapters, at this point, it is sufficient to note that the coherence of the narrative contributes to its closure. The fit between the events in a narrative, stabilized such that these events cannot be destabilized or altered, is the condition of narrative closure.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics As Nelson (2001) has noted in her discussion of “damaged identities,” narrative closure functions to maintain homeostasis in social contexts. Because narratives constitute (build, maintain) the social, institutional, and relational contexts in which they circulate, their homeostasis, as a form of self-regulation, reproduces not only the narratives but also their associated social relations, identities, and institutions. To the extent that these homeostatic narratives remain closed, speakers, as well as their Others, are locked in an interactional pattern that is unlikely to change, as indeed, interaction is a function of narrative. Narrative closure is not only an attribute of the internal coherence of a narrative on both vertical and horizontal structural dimensions, it is also a function of a given narrative nested within a network of narratives (Gergen and Gergen, 1986). Rather than conceptualize narratives as existing at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, they can be conceptualized as circulating from local to global contexts and back again. For example, the recent protests in the Arab world are sets of stories both produced at the local level and embedded within a broader discourse of social justice. This discourse is also anchored within social movements across the Arab world but has its roots in other protest movements in which job security, political corruption, and human rights are at issue (Ibrahim, (p.70) 2011). The history of these protests, and the adoption and spread of them via social media, gives stability to the narratives that circulated in Tahrir Square in Egypt—and, indeed, to the social and political changes that have reverberated throughout the world. So, although we may prefer a more “agentic” perspective on narrative, that is, to believe that narratives are representations of inner conditions and that when the conditions change, the narratives will also, the situation is more complicated. Narrative structure is disciplinary (Foucault, 1972) in that it wards off alternatives to itself. For this reason, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for persons to alter their own conflict narrative from within that narrative. For the international NGOs, the existence of satellite data showing numerous fires in the Mirador Basin was “proof” that their narrative was correct and that ACOFOP was not protecting the forest adequately. They also noted that cultural treasures, sold on the international black market, could be traced back to the Mirador archeological site. These “facts” anchored their narrative and legitimized them as “protectors” of the Mirador region, thus delegitimizing ACOFOP. But this is not surprising: conflict narratives harness “facts” that then become the sites for contestation between groups. In this case, the fires and the treasures became the contested focus of the conflict, with ACOFOP arguing that the fires were outside the domains of the territory they controlled and pointing out that all of the archeological sites in Guatemala were subject to looting and vandalism—they blamed the Guatemala government for failing to police the area, thus folding the absence of the federal government in the region (park police) as yet another sign that the government ignored and abandoned them unless it wanted something. To date, the data that underlie the narratives of those who support the ecoPage 27 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics tourism project have not been able to alter the narratives of ACOCOP and its supporters. Again, neither side is heard by the Other, and, on both sides, the narratives close themselves off to alternatives. This has critically important implications for how we understand conflict resolution itself.

Against Neutrality For those of us on the outside of this conflict, it is easy to see that negative positioning, as a reciprocal process, and the narrative content are disciplined by narrative form (genre or syntax). The structure of the narrative, the form of the content, is bound to its function—positioning dynamics. However, the field of conflict resolution has long presumed that the location of intervention is in the process, as though the process itself would or could alter the content. But this is not the case. “Neutrality” in the field of conflict resolution is a discourse that mandates third parties to not impose their views, opinions, or (cultural) assumptions on the contesting parties. It presumes that mediators can set aside their own (p.71) perspective and interact with the parties without favoring one side over the other.9 To escape this fate, mediation as a field often advocates “co-mediation,” which is really the practice of mediating with another person, someone who can balance (as in “cancel out”) the built-in biases of the mediator. Diversity is the antidote to bias, in this perspective. At the international level, there has been widespread recognition that neutrality in international mediations is not possible, for everyone comes from somewhere and likely has biases and interests that obviate the possibility of their neutrality (Bercovitch and Houston, 1996; Bercovitch and Rubin, 1992). Even the Carter Center and the United Nations (UN) are suspect, depending on the location of the conflict—clearly, the West is no longer presumed to be neutral, and groups with antipathy to the West, to the UN, and to the United States, in particular, will presume bias on the part of Western mediators. Sets of mediators have emerged at the international level that seem to be effective, despite affiliation with the West. George Mitchell, who mediated the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland; Bill Ury, who has mediated many conflicts around the world; John Paul Lederach, who has worked in Africa and elsewhere; and, of course, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. All of these mediators are well known, and all have reputations for being able to work across cultures, not because they leave their identity behind, but because they have the ability to work respectfully and carefully with all parties to a conflict. Although there has been some research that examines the practices of these accomplished mediators (Leary, 2004), it is clear that they engage the parties by altering the content of their stories with them; they might have “convening” power, but they do more than that—they position the parties in new stories by altering not only the form of the conversation, but the content as well, as is clear in Lederach’s descriptions of the process (Lederach, 2005, 2010). He describes the “poetic” Page 28 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics dimension of the practice of conflict resolution and addresses the process of human development in conflict resolution as the emergence of the poetic; his recent publication, sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, is titled The Poetic Unfolding of the Human Spirit and is replete with poems, short plays, and stories he tells about storytelling in conflicts. His practice is clearly one that is anchored in the production of meaning itself. But he is also unique in the field of conflict resolution precisely because he does not espouse a traditional notion of neutrality as a foundation for his practice. Years ago, my colleague Janet Rifkin and I videotaped a set of community mediation sessions and then used a form of discourse analysis to examine how the mediators practiced neutrality.10 Statements were made, consistent with (p. 72) the lore on neutrality at the time, by the mediators that they were in fact “neutral” and that they were present to maintain the process of the mediation. These mediations opened with a public sessions in which the parties talked in turn about what they wanted out of the mediation and explained their version of the definition of the problem. However, when we looked at the transcripts of these sessions, it was clear that the first speaker launched a description, a narrative, that the second speaker tried to refute, deny, or otherwise alter, being that it was a description of the problem in which they, the second speaker, were negatively positioned. However, the mediator, oblivious to the politics of the content, ignored or perhaps took for granted the struggle of the second speaker, serenely assured that if all parties followed the form of the process, both contestants would be able to tell their story to each other and somehow reach a mutually suitable agreement. “Neutrality” was, and still is, a discourse that authorizes third parties to ignore content and focus on maintaining process. And no wonder. The critique of neutrality undermines the core assumptions of conflict resolution. Although the field presumes that resolution-as-agreement is a consensus that arises from shared interests, there is little or no attention paid to the process by which interests are socially constructed. They are presumed to exist extant or prior to the conversation about them. This has tremendous and negative consequences for the practice itself because there is no attention paid, on the part of the third party, to the construction of interests themselves. In fact, there is an assumption that language represents, rather than constructs, a reality. This assumption ignores the paradoxical way in which the process of discussing interests in a conflict resolution process reproduces the conflict rather than transforms it because the parties discuss their “interests” encased in narratives that delegitimize their Others. And the result is more or less a forgone conclusion. From this perspective, the core issue is whether practitioners see their role as participating in the social construction of meaning. If they presume that meaning represents reality, they will work to help the parties find the right words/descriptors to help them describe that reality, which is why “active listening” is so ubiquitous in the field of conflict resolution. Conversely, if they see, as for example Lederach does, that language or meaning Page 29 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics constructs reality, then they would recognize that the process of conflict resolution is one by which all parties, together, evolve meaning on the basis of new descriptions and new narratives about what happened to whom and why. These new narratives do not sprout fully formed from the parties; they emerge through the nature of the interaction, which includes the comments, summaries, and questions that the third party makes. It is only from a representational view of language that this process could be framed as unethical. However, from a constitutive view, it is unethical not to engage the existing narratives in a manner that would support their evolution because parties are stuck in stories they did not make (by themselves) and cannot transform from within. For even if agreements are reached, if the narratives (p.73) have not significantly evolved in the conflict resolution process, then the narratives that underlie the core conflict remain and the accord or the peace is fragile—when parties continue to negatively position each other and the differend remains (i.e., parties speak but are not heard), the conditions of the agreement, as ties that forge a connection, are no match for the power of existing narratives. And the result is, all too often, a broken peace agreement. From a representational view of language, the failure of peace agreements is then attributed to conflict “spoilers” (Newman and Richmond, 2006), persons who have an interest in maintaining either the conflict or poorly constructed peace agreements. Conversely, the durability of a peace agreement has been related to the presence of justice in the agreement. For example, Druckman and Albin (2011) found a positive relationship between the durability of a peace agreements and the presence of distributive justice within it, with “distributive justice” referring to the principle of equality manifest in the peace agreement. This documents, at the level of the narrative embedded in the peace agreement, that justice-as-narrative mitigates against the difficulty or severity of the conflict and correlates with the durability of the peace agreement. However, what this research does not show is how, during the negotiations, the justice narrative— which is inevitably a story about wrongs done to victims (retrospectively) or frameworks for protecting against victimization (prospectively)—incorporates key aspects of parties’ narratives into the peace agreement, ensuring that, at the very least, the victimization that parties experience is addressed therein. This reduces or erases the differend—the speaking without being heard. But this connection between the justice narrative and distributive justice in stable peace agreements is only, at this point, conjecture—it is as yet simply a theoretical explanation, based on narrative, as to why some peace agreements last. Although, clearly, more research needs to be done, by using a narrative framework it may be possible to link the durability and effectiveness of a peace agreement with either (a) changes in parties’ stories over the course of the

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics peace negotiations or (b) the incorporation of parties’ stories into the peace agreements. This kind of research would begin to advance new criteria for assessing peace agreements using a narrative lens. Clearly, the incorporation of given narratives into a peace agreement might be counterproductive if it asymmetrically “uploads” the delegitimacy of one of the parties. Theoretically, it would be possible for narratives of injustice to be symmetrically uploaded into a peace agreement because each party would use its narrative of injustice to anchor, as a warrant, its argument for a given component or feature of the peace agreement. This would, again theoretically, reduce or erase the differend on both sides because their stories of suffering would become the foundational aspects of the agreement. In any case, a narrative analysis of peace agreements would connect the evolution of the content of narrative to sustainable conflict resolution. And this would, hopefully, reduce the stranglehold that neutrality, as a discourse, has on conflict resolution, for, indeed, this discourse is detrimental to sustainable peace (in families, (p.74) organizations, regions, nations, and at the global level) in three ways. First, it affirms a representational view of language in which effectiveness is a function of a given description’s proximity to truth. Under this logic, conflict resolution outcomes depend on accurate representations of issues. As parties’ accounts or stories are anchored in their experience, any alteration of these accounts reduces proximity to truth. So, within this discourse of neutrality, it the job of the mediator or facilitator to ensure that no alterations or deviations are made from the core of the narrative that parties tell. Yet, if that narrative imprisons them and reduces their options, then the mediator has abandoned the parties to the ravages of the differend— they will continue to speak without being heard by their Other.11 Second, the discourse of neutrality functions to force a focus on the future while obviating attention to the past. Because the past is infested by reciprocally delegitimizing narratives, conflict resolution processes must, under this logic, cordon it off via a problem-solving focus on the future.12 (Note that peace agreements that incorporate justice narratives are an exception because those require the presence of the (p.75) past.) The negotiated settlements that do not address the past and only focus on the future are less sustainable and more likely to reignite the violence. Finally, it banishes attention to the moral frameworks that are under development in the process—“neutrality” is the condition that supports “rationality” whereas strong emotions (a sign of irrationality) are seen as detrimental to the conflict resolution process. So the discourse of neutrality sidelines emotions and values alike in favor of rationality. Together, these three conditions—a representational view of language in which “truth” is the goal, a focus on the future, and the banishment of values and emotion—constitute conflict resolution as a process that does not facilitate something in my view essential for conflict resolution, to develop and alter the narratives that generate to speakers’ suffering and that of their Others. What is Page 31 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics needed is the development of a theory of conflict resolution as a form of narrative practice that will support the inclusion of history, emotions, and values and see them as pertinent to the production of narrative transformation and all that this permits (as in the evolution of relationships between parties), restores (the experience of speaking and being heard), and affords (sustainable agreements). Bibliography Bibliography references: Agar, M., and J. R. Hobbs. 1982. “Interpreting Discourse: Coherence and the Analysis of Ethnographic Interviews.” Discourse Processes 5 (1): 1–31. Althusser, L. 1971. Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Essays. London: New Left Books. Aristotle. 1987. The Poetics of Aristotle: Translation and Commentary. Trans. Stephen Halliwell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. University of Texas Press Slavic series no. 1. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bakhtin, M. M. 1986. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. 1st ed. University of Texas Press Slavic series no. 8. Austin: University of Texas Press. Belfiore, E. S. 2000. “Narratological Plots and Aristotle’s Mythos.” Arethusa 33 (1): 37–70. Bercovitch, J. and A. Houston. 1996. “The Study of International Mediation: Theoretical Issues and Empirical Evidence.” In Resolving International Conflicts: The Theory and Practice of Mediation, ed. Jacob Bercovitch, 11–35. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner. Bercovitch, J., and J. Z. Rubin. 1992. Mediation in International Relations: Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management. New York: St. Martin’s Press, in association with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Blume, J. H. S. L. Johnson, and E. C. Paavola, 2007. “Every Juror Wants a Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guilt and the Right to Present a Defense.” American Criminal Law Review 44: 1069–1087. Bruner, Jerome 1991. “The Narrative Construction of Reality.” "Critical Inquiry 18 (1) (October 1): 1–21. Burton, John W., 1996. Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Bush, R.,A. Baruch, and J. P. Folger. 2005. The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict. Rev. ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (p. 76) Chatman, S. B. 1978. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Cobb, S. Laws, D., and C. Sluzki. (Accepted for publication). Modeling Negotiation using ‘Narrative Grammar’: Tracking Changes in the Rules of the Game. Group Decision and Negotiation. Cobb, S., and Rifkin, J. 1991a. “Neutrality as a Discursive Practice: The Construction and Transformation of Narratives in Community Mediation.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 11: 69–91. Cobb, S., and J. Rifkin. 1991b. “Practice and Paradox: Deconstructing Neutrality in Mediation.” Law & Social Inquiry 16(1): 35–62. Cobb, S. 1994. “A Narrative Perspective on Mediation: Toward the Materialization of the ‘Storytelling’ Metaphor.” In New Directions in Mediation: Communication Research and Perspectives, ed. J. P. Folger, and T. S. Jones, 48– 63. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Cobb, S. 1998. The public spectacle of private pain: The social construction of violence and community. Human Systems. 8(3–4):251–274. Cobb, S. 2010. “Stabilizing Violence: Structural Complexity and Moral Transparency in Penalty Phase Narratives.” Narrative Inquiry 20 (2)(July): 296– 324. doi:10.1075/ni.20.2.04cob. Cronkleton, P., P. Taylor, D. Barry, S. Stone-Jovicich, and M. Schmink. 2008. “Environmental Governance and the Emergence of Forest-based Social Movements.” Center for International Forestry Research, Occassional Paper, #49. ISBN: 978–979–1412–43–8. Dewey, J. 1929. The Quest for Certainty. New York: Minton, Balch & Co. Dewey, J. 1992. Theory of the Moral Life. New York: Irvington Publishers. Druckman, D., and C. Albin. 2011. “Distributive Justice and the Durability of Peace Agreements.” Review of International Studies 37 (03): 1137–1168. Dwyer L., and D. Santikarma. 2003. “When the world turns to chaos”: 1965 and its aftermath in Bali, Indonesia. In B. Kierman, and R. Gellately, (Eds.), The Soecter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 289–306.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Feldman, A. 1991. Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland. University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock. Foucault, M. 1995. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. 2nd ed. New York: Vintage Books. Foucault, Michel, 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College De France, 1978–1979. Palgrave Macmillan. Freytag, G. 2008. Freytag’s Technique of the Drama: An Exposition of Dramatic Composition and Art. Charleston, SC: BiblioBazaar. Frow, J. 2005. Genre. New edition. New York: Routledge. Genette, G. 1980. Narrative Discourse. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. pp. 289–306. Gergen, K. J. and Gergen, M. M. 1986. Narrative Form and the Construction of Psychological Science. In Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct, ed. Theodore R Sarbin, 22–44. New York: Praeger. Gómez, I., and E. Méndez, 2007. Association of Forest Communities of Petén, Guatemala: Context, Accomplishments and Challenges. 2nd ed. Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research. http://www.cifor.cgiar.org. Greimas, A. J. 1971. “Narrative Grammar: Units and Levels.” Modern Language Notes 86 (6): 793–806. Hardy, S. 2008. “Mediation and Genre.” Negotiation Journal 24 (July): 247–268. Harré, R., andL. van Langenhove,.1991. “Varieties of Positioning.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 21 (4): 393–407. Harré, R., and L. van Langenhove, eds. 1999. Positioning Theory: Moral Contexts of Intentional Action. Oxford: Blackwell. Hegel, G. 1975. Aesthetics: Lectures in Fine Art. Trans. by T. M. Knox. Vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (p.77) Ibrahim, Nassar. 2011. “Tunisian Revolution: Bread and Dignity.” Alternative Information Center (AIC). http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/ blogs/nassar-ibrahim/3326-tunisian-revolution-bread-and-dignity-. Kegan, R. 1982. The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Page 34 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Kelly, G. 1963. A Theory of Personality; the Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: W. W. Norton. Labov, W., andJ. Waletzky,.2003. “Narrative Analysis: Oral Versions of Personal Experience.” In Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings, ed. Christina Bratt Paulston andG. Richard Tucker, 74–104. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Law, J. 2000. “On the Subject of the Object: Narrative, Technology, and Interpellation.” Configurations 8: 1–29. Leary, K. 2004. “Critical Moments as Relational Moments: The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Conflict in Aceh, Indonesia.” Negotiation Journal 20 (2): 311–338. Lederach, J. P. 2005. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. New York: Oxford University Press. Lederach, J. P. 2010. “The Poetic Unfolding of the Human Spirit.” The Fetzer Institute. http://www.fetzer.org/resources/resource-detail/? resource_id=1000188. Lyotard, J. F. 1988. The Differend: Phrases in Dispute. Theory and History of Literature, vol. 46. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mayer, B. 2004. Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Nan, S. Allen. 2011. “Learning during Georgian-South Ossetian Confidence Building” Seminar Presentation, Point of View, Mason Neck, Virginia. April 15,2011. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Newman, E., and O. Richmond. 2006. “Peace Building and Spoilers—Opinion.” Conflict, Security & Development 6 (1): 101–110. Polkinghorne, Donald E. 1988. Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. Propp, V. 1968. Morphology of the Folktale. Austin: University of Texas Press. Ricoeur, P., F. Collins, and P. Perron. 1989. “Greimas’s Narrative Grammar.” New Literary History 20 (3): 581–608. Rifkin, J.,J. Millen, and S. Cobb. 1991. “Toward a New Discourse for Mediation: A Critique of Neutrality.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly 9 (2): 151–164.

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Scarry, E. 1985. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press. Stillwaggon, D., and S. Cobb. 2006. “The Construction of Legitimate Natural Resource Plans in the Petén, Guatemala.” Journal of Peacebuliding and Development 3 (1): 100–104. van Lange, P., and J. Joireman. 2008. “How We Can Promote Behavior That Serves All of Us in the Future.” Socials Issues and Policy Review 2 (1): 127–157. Watzlawick, P.,J. Beavin Bavelas, and D. D. Jackson,1967. Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. New York: W. W. Norton. White, H. V. 1987. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Wittgenstein, L. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell. Zartman, I. W. 1995. Elusive Peace: Negotiating an End to Civil Wars. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press. Notes:

(1) As an example of the link between the Global Heritage Fund and the National Geographic Society, see http://www.mostlymaya.com/el_mirador.html. This article, it should be noted, supports the “conservation” narrative in this conflict. (2) See Stillwagon and Cobb (2006) for a summary of this assessment. (3) In August 2010, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) held a conference, “Negotiating Across Cultures,” in an effort to learn more about how soldiers in the field, on the ground, could better negotiate across cultures. I presented a narrative model of negotiation and noted that there would be narratives told by locals that would obviate the possibility of negotiating precisely because any negative outcomes were emplotted as inevitable (divine) or normal. In either case, these emplotments are resistant to negotiation. See http://hbr.org/2010/11/extreme-negotiations/ar/1 for a discussion of cross-cultural negotiation that is typical of the literature in the arena of military negotiations. (4) Public diplomacy, as a policy, seeks to “win the hearts and minds” of terrorists or would-be terrorists. See http://www.state.gov/r/ for a description of this work within the U.S. State Department. The narrative is not an “aggression” narrative. But whether it is hearts or minds to be won, it still signals, from a narrative perspective, struggle and opponents. It is, at best, a syntax of

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Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics “competition” and therefore, ironically, not a syntax that can win hearts and minds. (5) Here, I am, like Law (2000), reluctant to use the term “ideology,” which so easily presumes the existence of a “reality” which is then, in a second move, masked by the ideological. Instead, in our postmodern condition, we have worlds that are created through discourse-as-practice, as material, in which persons are located. Whether they struggle or not, or whether they adopt these positions without contestation is a separate question. (6) Kelly (1963) notes that these are not linguistic opposites, but rather values or terms constructed as opposites in the practice of speaking. (7) Zartman (1995) has argued that people open to negotiations when the conflict is “ripe,” when there is a “hurting stalemate.” This view presumes that persons are in charge of their own narratives, and can, at will, alter them. But they only choose to do so when the costs of maintaining their position (narrative) become too high. This “cost–benefit” analysis does not account for why people continue to fight despite high costs, including their death and the deaths of loved ones. Although we might decide that conflict makes people “irrational” and attribute the persistence of conflict to that irrationality, we can also theorize that the narratives that generate conflict endure and harden over time, despite the high costs. (8) This diagram was originally published in Cobb (2010). (9) See Mayer (2004) for a discussion of the assumptions associated with “neutrality.” However, the critique of neutrality that this book offers does not escape the centrifugal force of the discourse of neutrality, which presumes that mediators do not participate in the social construction of reality. (10) See Cobb and Rifkin (1991a); Cobb and Rifkin (1991b); Cobb (1994); Rifkin, Millen, and S. Cobb (1991). (11) Bush and Folger (2005), in their book The Promise of Mediation, argue that active listening, or reflective listening, fosters first the empowerment of the parties as they experience being heard, which then enables that party to recognize the Other. They refer to their model as the “transformative mediation model” because it transforms the relationship between parties. They account for the transformation as resulting from reflective listening. However, in 2007, I had a small project with Baruch Bush, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, to explore the role of narrative in transformation. We discussed the theoretical foundation of both models and looked at videotapes. By the end of our project, I was rather convinced that the transformative model generated changes in the relationship of the person to their own voice, which generated, in turn, the foundation for what I have called “reflective double voice.” See Cobb (1998) for discussion of Page 37 of 38

Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics Bakhtin’s discussion of voice. From this perspective, even though reflective listening, which is the technique at the core of the transformative model, does not itself alter content, it can lead to changes in the speaker’s narrative when and if the speaker can begin to take, as object, their own narrative. This would certainly be an important step toward reflective double voice, where speakers use the voice of the Other for their own learning. (12) Problem-solving workshops, a conflict resolution practice, is a process that allows parties to tell their stories of victimization to the Others, and, in that process, share their suffering. It is intended to support a process of reflection for all parties as they “hear” the suffering of their Other. Thus, this process is not solely focused on the future. It does presume that sharing about the past will catalyze new solutions to the problems in the second portion of the workshop, which is focused on building these solutions (Nan, 2011). Additionally, there are indigenous approaches to conflict resolution, such as the negotiation process in Somalia, which can take months of talking, in which parties review the harm done to them and then negotiate compensation. There is often a third party, an elder, who functions as a mediator. As elders, these mediators are neither “biased” (within the discourse of neutrality) nor are they “neutral”—they are embedded in relations and in the culture of their community, in which they are respected for their wisdom; their knowledge and experience allows them to structure the conversation’s process, as well as its content, in ways that generate solutions. In summary, some conflict resolution processes may retain the discourse of neutrality (such as problem-solving workshops) yet are not future-oriented, and other more traditional forms of conflict resolution, like the above-mentioned one in Somalia, that are problem-solving, addressing both past and future, but doing so without a neutral third party. Both of these are exceptions to the claim I make that the discourse of neutrality functions to cordon off the past from the conflict resolution process.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter provides a theoretical framework for understanding the both conflict escalation as well as conflict transformation in terms of the evolution of conflict narratives. “Escalation” will be defined in terms of stages operant in the “pragmatics of legitimacy” where each stage provides a formula for the conflict narrative. “Transformation” will be defined in terms of both the evolution of the structure, as well as the relational dynamics of narrative, toward “elaborated reciprocal legitimacy.” Nonlinear processes, including turning points and critical moments will be defined, and integrated into the description of escalation and transformation. “Narrative liminality” will be defined as critical to the transformation of conflict narratives; the production of liminality, as a transformative practice, will be described using a case study of a community group, post genocide, in Rwanda, as well as a case study of a family business conflict. Keywords:   hate narratives, dominant and counternarrative, destabilization, attractors, critical moments

Nestled in the rolling hills in Rwanda is a small community of women called Duhozanye; out of the terrible violence between Hutu and Tutsi, this community of women and children emerged from the ashes of genocide. Although there were communities all over Rwanda that came together to heal after the violence, some were more successful than others. Whereas some incorporated people across ethics lines, others remain segregated. Whereas some managed to use available economic and technical support to build and grow their own economic engines, others seemed unable to do more than blame international Page 1 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for failing them in their time of need. Still others were able to address the violence openly, dealing directly with the consequences on particular members in the community; others moved into their future without accounting for or openly grappling with the past. This is a story about one community that managed to create ethnic diversity, economic stability, and address its violent past collectively. It is a remarkable story, for not only does it celebrate the human spirit, but it provides the context for the exploration of the relationship between narrative and healing, meaning making and conflict transformation. This chapter explores these connections, weaving in theoretical frameworks that illuminate these evolutionary processes and accounting for the way in which the women, the heroines of the story, escape the closure of the “hate” narratives and together design a community based on new stories, looking toward a new future.

Conflict Escalation as Narrative Process In Rwanda in the early 1990s, the violence that was to erupt in genocide in 1994 was already putting down roots, what Nelson (2001) called “narrative tendrils,” twisting and entangling around the Hutu community, sowing seeds of hatred for the Tutsi community. The history of relations between these ethnic groups in Rwanda was problematic. Tutsi, who comprised seventeen percent of the population, had been, prior to independence, the ruling group (Kuperman, 2000). Mamdani’s (2001) book When Victims become Killers describes the history of (p.79) Rwandan state formation, making the point that colonial powers instantiated the racial categories that put the Tutsi in power, a condition that was reversed when the Hutu came to power in 1959: Mamdani’s analysis of the Rwandan crisis insists that everywhere the political processes of colonialism, state formation, and global interpolation create and reinforce the categories and conflicts of cultural identity—the categories of domination are the categories of struggle, and vice versa. (Hasty, 2002)1 Much research has already been done to discover the development of this hatred, and we know that many “factors” led to violence: colonialism, which set the Tutsi above the Hutu; “relative deprivation,” which economically marginalized the Hutu; and hate radio (a form of story) all contributed to the genocide. Outside of Rwanda, Samantha Power (2002) and others have described the West’s failure of “moral imagination”—they could neither foresee nor imagine the depth of the hatred that was building or the level of what came to be called “dehumanization” (Haslam, 2006). After the fact, we work to make sense of contributing “factors” as though the dynamics of the process of genocide could be disaggregated. But it is also possible to account for the genocide by tracing the development of the narratives told by the Hutu about the Tutsi, and this narrative historiography Page 2 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives is an escalation of negative positioning, increasingly closed, increasingly violent. It is now widely recognized that hate radio played a critical role in the incitement to violence, denigrating the Tutsi, launching a narrative that held the Tutsi responsible for current problems. It is widely acknowledged that the worst offender was “Radio et Television Libre de Milles Collines (RTLM), the extremist Hutu radio station [which was] founded in July 1993 for the express purpose of fomenting anti-Tutsi violence” (Adhikari, 2008). In 2003, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found three journalists (two radio and one print) guilty of fomenting genocide, arguing, in their decision, that these journalists had incited violence and had also given instructions for specific persons to be killed. Slocum-Bradley (2008) has used narrative analysis to make sense of the storylines that were present in the RTLM broadcasts. Using positioning theory (Harré and Langenhove, 1999), she finds that all of these storylines position the Tutsi as dangerous and intending to victimize the Hutu, who were, in turn, positioned in these stories as trying to ensure the peace and stability of the nation (through murder). This research addresses “social force” or the way in which the (p.80) storyline organizes meaning such that persons oblige the storyline itself to be elaborated as a duty or “work” (Li, 2004). But Straus (2007), reviewing the research on the connection between hate radio and the genocide, has noted that the claim that hate radio, particularly RTLM, contributed to the violence can be problematized.2 However, he offers both a critique of the methods by which the media effects are established and his own qualitative and quantitative analysis, based on both transcripts of the radio programs he obtained from the ICTR and interviews he did with perpetrators. His findings undermine the dominant view: The conceptions of media effects hypothesized here—of catalyzing hard liners, reinforcing messages, and framing public choice—point to real impacts. Hate radio constituted one dimension by which hard liners achieved dominance and were able to persuade individuals to join attacks against Tutsi civilians. But the conceptualized effects are more marginal and conditional than the conventional wisdom would have. More significant was the immediate context of war and the state institutions that facilitated face-to-face mobilization. The effects advanced here also avoid what the article has shown to be the empirically untenable and theoretically doubtful notion that radio media had massive, direct effects on genocide onset and mobilization. Finally, the claims are consistent with cumulative findings in the political communications field, which stress agenda setting, elite persuasion, and marginal media impacts. (Straus, 2007, p. 632)

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives This is interesting from a narrative perspective because he establishes that, although hate radio performed the narratives that anchored hatred and fear (saying that the Tutsi were going to overthrow the government, that they were going (p.81) to take revenge, that they were “cockroaches”), the real impetus for violence, as reported by the perpetrators themselves, was not the radio but face-to-face conversations with bands of roving formal and informal Hutu militias who invited, cajoled, or otherwise pressured them to participate in the violence (Straus, 2007). In these conversations, the individual was confronted by a group, often containing persons of high or higher status (local officials or military leaders, or just tough guys). Although transcripts of these conversations are not available, perpetrators’ descriptions of these conversations reveal that it was these “hardliners” who convinced locals to take up arms: Over time, however, in all areas not yet lost to rebels, hard liners succeeded in undermining moderates, eventually consolidating control. Once they did, those hard liners—usually local elites and violent young men, as we have seen—would mobilize a large number of ordinary Hutu citizens to commit violence. Communities in turn switched from a period of heightened anxiety and confusion because of the president’s assassination and resumption of civil war to a period of participatory and exterminatory violence. War set the immediate context for mass violence, but the primary means of communication and mobilization was face-to-face solicitation. (Straus, 2007, 631–632) From a narrative perspective, it is interesting to consider the nature of a “hard liner”—the term refers to a person-narrative who not only tells but existentially is a narrative that exhibits a very simple storyline. A simple storyline is “simple” across its three dimensions: plot, characters, and themes. The plot functions as a “conditional” in the storyline: It forecasts a dire outcome unless action is to ward off that outcome. It is, from this perspective, a “threat.” Only episodes that are critical to the establishment of the potential negative outcome are included. This is a highly restricted version of “reality” and effectively disciplines history itself. Hard-liner character roles are also restricted, flattened into victims and victimizers. There may even be a subplot within a hard-liner narrative that functions as a cautionary tale against trusting the Others or trying to be moderate. The position of victim would thus be contextualized by this cautionary narrative, ensuring the closure of the hard-line narrative. The values within the hard-liner narrative are binary and simplistic. In Rwanda, it was “good” to be loyal to the slain Hutu President and “bad” to be tricked by the inyenzi (cockroaches), who were everywhere. As one perpetrator said (as reported by Straus, 2007, p. 629): “We were people convinced the Tutsis would kill us.” The hard-liner narrative provides an extremely simplistic and restricted description and functions itself as an “instruction,” in that it mandates compliance and elaboration of the hard-line narrative—deviation from that Page 4 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives narrative, via contestation or recontextualization, would constitute a threat to the addressee. The perpetrators reported that as the gangs of men came (p.82) to enroll them in the genocide, they themselves felt that if they did not participate, they would have been seen by the hard liners as an enemy and their lives would have been in danger (Straus, 2007). Whether on the radio or in person, these hard-line narratives provided the foundation for the violence, not because they contributed to dehumanization (although they certainly did), but because were closed narratives that mandated violence. From this perspective, narrative closure itself functions as a form of violence. Although all narratives function to close off alternatives to themselves via the process of narrative closure, hard-line narratives contain an injunction against recontextualization and a mandate for compliance. Interlocutors cannot alter the narrative by incorporating new information (characters, episodes, or values) because recontextualization is dangerous, it risks the relationship with the speaker—any move other than the adoption of the hard-line narrative positions an interlocutor as “enemy.” Additionally, the hard-line narrative demands compliance through its performance. The perpetrators in Rwanda described that they felt they had no choice. Now, one could argue that interviews with perpetrators will inevitably yield accounts from them that accent the impossibility of resistance in the face of a hard-line narrative—the externalization of responsibility in their narrative (“the hard liners made me do it”) is obvious. It is then easy to construct the perpetrators as themselves victims of hard liners who used their role, in politics and/or the media, to force others to violence. But there is a second possibility— that the hard-liner narratives actually did function to limit the choices of actors in Rwanda. Our collective dismissal of this narrative grows out of the idea that people are responsible for their actions and will, if given an opportunity, avoid taking responsibility for violence. So this argument undermines what we see as the validity of the narrative—people will create a description of an event that benefits them morally. But this notion of responsibility and agency presumes that persons can, if they choose, govern their own actions (Balkin, 1990; Pomerantz, 1978). However, here, I am arguing that the closure of hard-line narratives is a fact, and, given the way it restricted recontextualization and mandated its own performance, it is reasonable to accept as valid the perpetrators’ description of how they came to participate in violence. This does not deny that perpetrators could have done something different (protect Tutsi, as some rescuers did), but it does respect the role of narrative in the construction of what was possible. And it is this respect for hard-line narratives that I am advocating because such narratives played a critically important role in the escalation and enactment of the violence.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Beyond Rwanda, hard-line stories are endemic to conflicts all over the world; in Washington D.C., the “Tea Party” narrative is extremely simple: “We need to reduce the deficit by reducing taxes and reducing spending.” The story is that Obama has increased the debt, grown government, and increased spending (p. 83) commitments (e.g., health care). The history of how the debt was increased is absent or the collapse of the financial markets, is never mentioned, and the relation between the Bush tax cuts and the debt, or the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is never discussed. Like most simple narratives, the Tea Party narrative frames the issues in a manner that restricts the issues; the difference is that this simplicity is accompanied by two things that are particular to a conflict narrative: the denigration of the Other and the injunction against recontextualization. Although the Tea Party narrative is different from the hardliner narrative in pre-genocide Rwanda in that there is no mandate to comply, an effort to recontextualize is met by increasingly vitriolic denigration of the Other. This is clearly present in the hate radio in the United States today; Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck are excellent examples of radio journalists who develop the denigratory discourse of, in this case, President Obama, who Limbaugh has likened to Hitler: “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, ruled by dictate.”3 They tell stories that function as contextualizing narratives or recontextualizing narratives and, in that process, either stabilize their own narrative or destabilize the Other’s narrative by attacking the speaker (“Obama is not a U.S. citizen”). The result is that the political discourse itself functions to violently close itself off by threatening others who might recontextualize it (calling them “unpatriotic”) or by mandating compliance.4 For example, here is Limbaugh on global warming: Why does global warming attract so many people who want to destroy our country? That’s a good way to look at it. Global warming attracts any number of international, United Nations [UN], and domestic leftists who want to destroy this country.5 In this statement, the left, even the UN, is described as wanting to destroy the country. Those interested in scientific findings are framed as intending to harm, at a core level. Although it is not an overt call to kill others, it is extremely polarizing—the foundation of this narrative is the intention to harm. Any effort to contest or refute this statement would place the speaker with those that want to “destroy this country.” Although people can and do recontextualize Limbaugh’s speeches every day, he uses their speech as evidence that they are wrong/bad in the way that Bakhtin describes the use of passive double voice. This, coupled with (p.84) the extreme negative positioning of the “left” creates a discourse in which the elaboration of the Other’s narrative is only done to denigrate them. “Compliance” in this case refers to the elaboration of the speaker’s (Limbaugh’s)

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives narrative—any recontextualization constitutes, performatively, those who refuse to positively elaborate Limbaugh’s narrative as “enemy.”6 Vollhardt et al. (2006) argue, drawing on Staub (1989), that hate speech arises in the presence of unmet human needs and functions to consolidate in-group identity through denigration of the out-group: To summarize, hate speech plays a crucial role in the evolution of violence and the steps leading to destruction. Hate speech entails devaluing, dehumanizing, and scapegoating the target, which is frequently used by leaders to explain difficult life conditions and gain support. Hate speech transports destructive ideologies. For listeners exposed to hate speech on a regular basis, for example through mass media, these destructive ideologies and dehumanizing messages become normal. The habituation allows a gradual increase in the extremity of expressed hatred, preparing for violence that can lead from structural and political exclusion all the way to genocide. (Vollhardt et al., 2006, p. 26) Although this description, anchored on Tajfel and Turner’s (2004) theory of social identity, is pertinent to understanding hard-line narratives, it does little to attend to the dynamics of interaction in that there is little account, other than the notion of “habituation,” for the way in which the discourse operates across groups. To track dynamics, a systems perspective is needed. Sluzki and Ransom (1976) developed the theory of the “double bind” to address the interactional consequences of speech, following Bateson’s (1973) notion that communication functions on two levels: “reports,” which refer to the content of what is spoken, and “command,” which refers to the instruction to others relative to that content. Thus, the “command” operates at a different level than the “report” and is of a different logical type. Sluzki and Ransom (1976) point out that these levels of communication can be in conflict; the “double bind” refers to the presence of communication content (report) that cannot be clarified because of relational rules that forestall discussion. This pathological communication has the following features: • The presence of a negative injunction (instruction) • An injunction that contradicts the first injunction • An injunction against clarification (or metacommunicating) (p.85) • The person wanting to clarify cannot “leave the field” or escape the relationship • Once the pattern is established, it structures and prefigures the communication so that it is reproduced

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives In the case of hard-liner narratives, there is a similar structure: • There is a denigration by a speaker of an Other. • There is an injunction against recontextualizing, in that any attempt to do so constitutes the speaker as an Other. • There is an injunction to elaborate the hard-line narrative. • Once the pattern is established, a spiral of silence is created, in which the more the hard-line narrative circulates, the less likely it will be challenged. A hard-liner narrative, I am arguing, is a narrative genre; as such, it has what Foucault (1977) refers to as “disciplinary power.” It provides the form that structures meaning and interaction (Frow, 2005). It is important to note that hard-liner narrative is a specific genre of narrative; it is possible for narratives to denigrate the Other without an accompanying injunction against recontextualization or a mandate to elaborate. A hard-liner narrative is different from other narratives that denigrate Others in that its closure is protected and ensured through the interaction. An excellent example is found in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. In this decision, the Court upholds a statute that makes it a criminal offense to provide “aid” to foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).7 However, the definition of “aid” includes filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of an FTO; even filing a legal brief in support of one of these organizations is constituted itself as a criminal act.8 Constitutional law experts, along with Noam Chomsky, note that this decision effectively restricts First Amendment rights (i.e., free speech). From this perspective, the United States is advancing a hard-liner narrative: its narrative denigrates and criminalizes the Other; the narrative cannot be recontextualized because there is a law against associating with, working with, or even speaking out for (in the form of an amicus brief) the Other; and the U.S. government mandates compliance through laws against speech itself. This hard-liner narrative in the United States resembles hard-liner narratives in others countries, such as Iran, in which hard-liner narrative uses the power of the state to maintain itself. Any efforts to recontextualize (provide history (p. 86) that might destabilize the state’s narrative, open a channel for dialogue with the West, or question the role of religion in the state) is met with imprisonment. The mandate to comply is, in this case, a mandate to maintain the closure of the state narrative. In contrast, the protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo also had a simple narrative —they wanted Mubarak out. Their story included accounts of corruption, the repression created in and through the state of emergency imposed by Mubarak, and the absence of jobs and fair elections. It was a simple story because they Page 8 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives blamed Mubarak for all of these problems. Victim and victimizer positions were clear, as were the moral frames for evaluating action. Additionally, the protesters did not entertain any recontextualization by Mubarak, who offered to step down before the elections and ensure that his family members did not run for office. The sheer volume of people, thousands and thousands, telling the same story, day after day, and retelling it via social media in addition to face to face, maintained this narrative’s closure.9 However, in contrast to hard liners, the protesters did not mandate compliance in that they did not engage in violence. So, they refused recontextualization through their presence but did not mandate compliance with their narrative. In fact, they often left themselves vulnerable to violence from state agents (police and military). They confronted the narrative of the state, which struggled to maintain closure. Although compliance has been mandated by the state in Syria, Yemen, and Libya, in Egypt, the government opened its own narrative by opening negotiations with the protesters; once its closure was reduced, the protesters had “won.” And, in fact, we can define “winning” itself as maintaining the closure of one’s narrative while opening the other and thus destabilizing it. In summary, hard-liner stories contribute to conflict and set up the conditions for violence. They maintain their closure through their simplicity, their refutation or refusal of any recontextualization, and their threats regarding noncompliance. Hard-liner stories provide the narrative infrastructure for protracted conflict across cultures and across time. In fact, conflict escalation can be understood as itself a process of narrative simplification; over time, through interaction, parties refute and deny the efforts of Others to recontextualize, and, in the process, their own narrative becomes simpler over time. I suggest that the dynamics of a conflict process itself contributes to the simplification of narrative and increases its closure. Conflict reduces narrative complexity and increases narrative closure. This process requires that recontextualization be ineffective, if not outlawed—that the Others elaborate the closed narrative “or else.” Both the narrative content and the narrative dynamics between people contribute to create this escalation. (p.87) The refutation or elaboration of a dominant narrative has been addressed in the research on counternarrative. Bamberg and Andrews (2004) have described the process by which persons contest a dominant narrative through counternarrative, which, by definition, is a narrative that responds to or “orients” to another narrative. Bamberg and Andrews draw on Sack et al.’s note that “orientation” is visible in a conversational turn when a speaker orients or references his speech to prior speech from another person (Sacks, 1992; Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson, 1974). Thus, the counternarrative materializes in conversation as it orients to another narrative. This is an excellent empirical approach to counternarrative, accenting what is done in the conversation as a way to detect and describe the “countering” process. Ranger (2005) provides Page 9 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives another example of “counter” narrative as a response narrative; this study examines asylum applications as narrative and the British Home Office response as counternarrative. However, this study also addresses the role of the postcolonial narrative as a context for this interaction. Again, this view of counternarrative presumes “counter” as a response in an interactional sequence. Other approaches to counternarrative take a more critical view, accenting the way in which speakers are trapped in a master narrative woven together via a set of practices and institutionalized discourses (Giroux, Lankshear, McLaren, and Peters, 1996). “Counter” in this sense refers to the struggle over meaning in a context in which the hegemonic narrative is culturally dominant (Hunt, 1990; Roe and van Eeten, 2004; Segal, 2000). It is this view of counternarrative that provides a lens, at the micro-practice level, on the dynamic of narrative recontextualization. A counternarrative launches itself at the logic, the coherence, and, ultimately, the closure of a dominant narrative, working to upend it. Conversely, contextualization, as a practice, refers to the process of thickening a narrative that is under development. In fact, contextualization often occurs when people elaborate any narrative that is already under formation, thus increasing its closure. Nelson (2001) makes a similar point in her discussion of counternarratives. While noting that identity is formed by and reflected by narrative, Nelson argues that dominant narratives can “damage identity” in that they restrict the capacity of persons captured by those narratives for moral agency—they are unable to design their own identities and are captured in one in which they are denigrated and delegitimized. As such, they are unable, at a fundamental level, to participate as agents in the world. Nelson goes on to address the nature of counternarratives and argues that some counternarratives, as efforts to recontextualize, reproduce the dominant narrative and maintain marginalized identity. Although she provides a compelling description of the nature of those counternarratives that fail to increase the moral agency of a marginalized speaker, she does not offer a rich description of what could succeed, as in processes or patterns that would enable persons to escape damaged identity. In summary, hard-liner narratives, as I have described them, contribute to conflict escalation and reduce the capacity of speakers to redress or restructure (p.88) narratives in which they are negatively positioned. This sets the stage for the persistence of marginalization and possible violence. This escalation is a function of the simplicity of the hard-liner narrative, one that both negatively positions the Other and completes the closure of the narrative itself. And, in fact, one can argue that conflict escalation is inversely related to narrative complexity —the more complex the narrative, the less closed it is, and the more access speakers have to it—they can alter its meaning through their participation.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Conflict Escalation and Restricted Participation: Five Narrative Patterns Speakers’ participation in the production of meaning is limited by the way in which the dominant narrative engages and responds to contestation or recontextualiztion. And there are a limited set of patterns at the narrative level: • First, narrative complexity is reduced by the social network dynamics that accompany conflict. • Second, the claims to legitimacy by speakers are denied and ignored by Others, thus reducing interaction between conflicting parties. • Third, responsibility is externalized, destroying not only the relationship but the capacity of speakers to materialize themselves as human beings. • Fourth, speakers invert the meaning of the Others’ narrative, blocking the Others from materializing themselves as legitimate, maintaining the externalization of responsibility, and, in the process, cementing interactional patterns that increase, rather than reduce, uncertainty; • Fifth, silence itself can be described as a narrative pattern, one in which the presence of the delegitimizing narrative rings, thus opening the space for the only alternative, violence (Scarry, 1985). Together these five narrative patterns, which can, but do not have to occur in the sequence in which I am discussing them, are central to conflict dynamics.

The Reduction of Narrative Complexity and the Increase of Bonding Social Capital Drawing on the theory of social capital (Colletta and Cullen, 2000), there are two dimensions of social capital, bridging and bonding capital, which have import for narrative dynamics. In the case of bonding social capital, which increases the ties within community, the closure of a given narrative would increase because it is elaborated, as in reiterated, within a group in which speakers share a given (p.89) identity construction that is central to a given narrative. Although a given narrative could be under development, in the process of being constructed, it is a process of contextualization and thickening, rather than recontextualization. The relative absence of diversity, coupled with the strong ties in a community bonded by a shared, uncontested identity, increases the narrative closure of stories central to the group, precisely because the core elements of the story are taken for granted (Anderson, 2006; Tilly, 2005). This is particularly true in intra-ethnic conversations (Varshney, 2001). However, even in the case of inter-ethnic interaction, Varshney (2001) points out that everyday engagement is less productive of peace (addressing and managing differences) than what he calls “associational” engagement, in which people are speaking as members of an organization or association, a part of civil society. This is a function of the “strength of weak ties” (Granovetter, 1973); these kinds of ties form bridges between groups, and, although the links themselves are Page 11 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives weak, these links enable connections, bridging social capital, to be made and maintained between groups. From a narrative perspective, this increases the diversity of the speakers and, concomitantly, increases opportunities for recontextualization, thus evolving narrative through elaboration. In this way, narrative closure is reduced as it is opened to new meanings (plots, character roles, and themes). In a conflict, less bridging occurs between groups, or it is altogether absent (Varshney, 2001). Narrative complexity withers. And, as narrative is restricted, so too are the forms of knowledge and the experiences of people, for narrative is constitutive of subjectivity and selfhood (Bruner, 1991). As the narrative closure increases, bonding capital increases, while bridging social capital decreases, creating a spiral that is an all too familiar pattern in conflict. So the escalation of conflict alters the nature of the social capital that can be created, and, in this process, narrative complexity is reduced. This is one of the ways that speakers are delimited in terms of narrative production in the context of conflict escalation.

Ignoring and Denying Claims to Legitimacy In the second narrative pattern in an escalatory context, speakers make claims to legitimacy that are ignored (an imperious pattern) or denied. They make these claims in response to having been delegitimized and/or restricted from participation itself—it is one thing to be negatively positioned, but it is yet another level of delegitimacy to be excluded altogether. This familiar pattern leads to either cycles of accusation and counteraccusation—all too familiar in protracted conflict—or to withdrawal from the interaction or silence from one or both parties. It is critically important to note that delegitimacy is itself not symmetrical in a conflict, even though both parties may be advancing narratives (p.90) that delegitimize their Others; the quality of the delegitimacy is almost never symmetrical. In 1994, in Rwanda, the Hutu government was indeed positioning the Tutsi as delegitimate, immoral, if not inhuman. Hutu citizens elaborated this narrative, and its social force materialized in the genocide. But the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had also been making incursions into northern Rwanda, on the basis of the story that they were reclaiming their country, having fled that section when the Hutu came to power. And the RFP are widely blamed for the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana, who died when his plane was shot down. While the RPF was not fomenting genocide, calling for the murder of Hutu civilians, they were delegitimizing the Hutu government, if not Hutu civilians themselves. Kuperman (2004) provides an interesting history of the RPF’s invasions and incursions into Rwanda; he documents the relationship between their military operations into Rwanda and the retaliatory killings by Hutu within Rwanda and concludes that, in February 1994, the RFP moved forward with their plans knowing that there would be significant retaliatory killings—they were simply Page 12 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives unprepared for the scope. Kuperman’s narrative makes it clear that the Hutu were responding not to their natural hatred for the Tutsi, but to the overriding fear that their government would be overthrown, a fear generated by the RPF over the course of years. Kuperman concludes: A revised history of the Rwandan Patriotic Front reveals how and why these Tutsi refugee rebels, by pursuing an armed challenge against Rwanda’s Hutu regime, provoked a retaliatory genocide against the state’s Tutsi populace. (Kuperman, 2004, p. 21) There is some evidence, perhaps one could say only “whispers” of evidence, that the Hutus’ fears of retaliatory killings were well-founded. In fact, there is evidence that the Rwandan army engaged in widespread and indiscriminate killing post-genocide, in the early months as the Rwandan government was consolidating.10 The Gersony Report, commissioned by UN Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) but never published given its controversial findings, found that the RPF had engaged in a Hutu genocide when they returned to power; internet rumor has it that this report was suppressed because it challenged the victim status of the Tutsi, reducing inevitably the legitimacy of the RPF’s claim to power or its right to follow Hutu into the Congo, where the RPF is said to have massacred thousands of innocents (Kisangani, 2000). Although there are data that conclude that the “double genocide” in Rwanda was not really “double,” there is documented evidence of significant revenge killing post-genocide (Verwimp, 2003). The Tutsi RPF perpetrated indiscriminate violence against civilians in (p.91) Rwanda, as well as against refugees in Congo (Lemarchand, 2005). The RPF had a story in which the Hutu deserved to die. Although it creates unease to have the narrative of the Tutsi challenged by either the “double genocide” narrative or the data on the RFP’s deadly work in Congo—the victimizer cannot also be a victim—I am making the point that the Tutsi government, through either its authorization of the RPF to move into Congo in pursuit of the Interahamwe or the killings it authorized in Rwanda once it came to power post-genocide, delegitimized the Hutu. However, returning to my point, this is not a symmetrical delegitimation. The sheer volume of the violence against the Tutsi, not to mention the broad participation in the genocide by Hutu civilians, would seem to outweigh the violence perpetrated on the Hutu by the Tutsi (unless you are a Hutu mother whose child was killed or child who watched as his grandfather was murdered). I argue that the assessment of the degree of delegitimacy is itself a red herring, brought on by our need and generated by narrative itself to assign “victim” to one side and “victimizer” to another. But, in reality, these distinctions are not so easily made precisely because they depend on the observer, the storyteller, the perspective of the narrator. It is not the accuracy of a delegitimizing claim that Page 13 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives brings it validity or dominance in a conversation; it is the culture itself that mandates what can be told, who can constitute Self as victim, and who can be delegitimized or authorized (Bourdieu, 1999). And, depending on that culture, some stories cannot be told, or once told, cannot be recontextualized or challenged. This became clear within the traditional justice system in Rwanda, where the Gacaca trials were intended to provide a public place for victims to denounce victimizers, get reparation, and move on toward reconciliation. However, the trials have not delivered on that aspiration (Burnet, 2008; Ingelaere, 2009; Thomson and Nagy, 2011). Instead, there is ongoing fear of reprisals following any testimony against perpetrators because both victims and victimizers live in the same communities, side by side (Burnet, 2008). In addition, as Ingelaere (2009) notes, there is a culture of silence in Rwanda that predates the genocide, a reticence to speak in public about relational conflicts. The Gacaca process was traditionally, prior to the genocide, a space where there was less emphasis on “truth-telling” and more on “ubwenge,” which actually refers to the nature of speech that preserved (family) relationships (Ingelaere, 2009); as the Gacaca was appropriated as a form of local justice that required truthtelling, fear and distrust, accompanied by ‘hidden transcripts’ (Ingelaere, 2008, p. 56), contributed to maintain victimization as a “private” matter—it is a topic that can be culturally inappropriate for public settings, but is itself fraught with the possibility of reprisals and rumour. My overall point here is that reciprocal, but not symmetrical, delegitimizing is a second dominant narrative pattern in conflict escalation; although the culture of a given context may dictate what can be said, the delegitimizing narratives materialize, either through revenge killings or through the ongoing absence of (p.92) reconciliation. In the case of Rwanda, the absence of reconciliation makes present the contours of the delegitimizing stories that Tutsi have for Hutu, and vice versa. If these stories could be told, reconciliation would be more present in the communities (Ingelaere, 2009).

Externalization of Responsibility The third narrative pattern that is associated with conflict escalation involves the externalization of responsibility (Cobb, 1994). This is endemic, persistent, and foundational to conflict dynamics. This is a narrative in which agency is located in the Other, and the speaker notes that he is unable to impact the conditions of the conflict and is restricted, by the context and the Others, to reacting to the conflict. And there is much narrative “policing” that goes on in conflicts by which speakers work to ensure that the Others do not recontextualize their narrative by introducing new elements or new frames that would position the speakers as agents in the conflict. In Rwanda, the Hutu hate narrative, which denigrated and delegitimized the Tutsi, mandated murder as a response to the threat that the Tutsi posed to the stability of the Hutu Page 14 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives government. There was clear evidence that the Hutu were concerned that the Tutsi narrative was one that would call for revenge against the Hutu for taking and holding power after the country’s independence in 1959. The history of colonial rule, which favored the Tutsi, laid the groundwork for long-running distrust. And, of course, this was reversed when the Hutu came to power. So there was clearly, for both sides, a dread that the Other would, if given the chance, enact revenge. This in turn obfuscated what each side did to contribute, as agents, to the escalation. Following Feldman (1991), it is important to note that these narratives are not in the heads of individuals, but are material practices—they are written onto bodies, inscribed onto the dead, onto those imprisoned, those who live lives constrained by fear, those who take up arms, and those who murder, as well as onto those who are murdered. The struggle surrounding the allocation of responsibility is a pattern that, over time, reduces the necessity for speaking altogether, as each side cannot bear to have the violence or the conflict attributed to their actions. This pattern no doubt contributes to the solidification of bonding capital—people talk to those who share their narrative and do not talk to their Others. Nelson (2001) has described how the absence of moral agency, the inability to be constructed by Self or Other as having agency, damages identity. Personhood itself, from this perspective, depends on the capacity to speak and be heard, to have the legitimacy attributed to Self elaborated by Other. This is consistent with Arendt’s (1998) concept of “natality,” which refers to the foundation of being human, or being born. Because we are human, she argues, we are worthy of being able to speak and be heard, we are authorized, by the fact of natality, (p.93) to exist as human beings. Rancière (2010) makes a similar argument by defining speech and the capacity to speak and be heard as the foundation of being human. From this perspective, the externalization of responsibility is a narrative pattern in which the struggle for natality, for existence as a human being, is visible. Tragically, it is a pattern in which persons are not able to be heard, in that their narrative will not be elaborated by their Other. It is as though they are not speaking. It is a narrative pattern that produces the “differend” (Lyotard, 1988), or the suffering that accompanies being unable to account for suffering within the discursive regime that is in place. It is not only destructive of moral agency and relationships, it is destructive of natality itself.

Inverting the Speaker’s Meaning The fourth narrative pattern associated with conflict escalation involves a process by which people not only alter or recontextualize the speaker’s meaning, but invert it. For example, “I am innocent” is a statement that itself comes to mean “guilt”: “If you profess innocence, then you are guilty” or “You say you can be trusted, but people will say that to gain trust so they can harm you.” This inversion is present in the Gacaca courts, where the testimonies of innocence are Page 15 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives often interpreted as empty rhetoric; this is so much the case that the court itself has been discredited—people describe it as a place where people lie and misrepresent (Ingelaere, 2009). Inverting the meaning of a narrative recontextualizes the entire narrative, obliterating its legitimacy and hijacking it. This is a frequent condition in negotiations. In the case of the U.S. negotiation with North Korea, for example, anything that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) says about its intentions are interpreted by the United States as a misrepresentation. Thus, the process of speech itself is not only contaminated, it is as though people are not speaking or are speaking for the purposes of dissimulating. When a speaker’s meaning is inverted, he or she ceases to have a voice at all. The speaker’s narrative is not just delegitimated, it is cancelled out. Gi-woong (2002), for example, when describing the process of negotiation with North Korea, advocates a “two-faced” approach in which all speech by negotiators is seen to be directed to the other negotiator, the internal “face” of the negotiator-speaker (i.e., their stakeholders), as well as to the internal face of the Other’s negotiator. Although it may make strategic sense, for indeed stakeholder’s narratives do impact a given negotiation, it creates a circumstance in which nothing that is said has (pun intended) face value! Meanings are inverted, in that the speech of any one negotiator can be framed by the Other as the opposite of what is said (which is the case when North Korea promises to keep its agreements). The inversion of meaning is a critical component of a “realist” negotiation process, and it routinely contributes to the failure of negotiations (De Dreu, 2005). (p.94) However, it can also contribute, on the rare occasion, to the success of a negotiation. Hulse and Sebenius (2003) describe a negotiation process in which Charlene Barshefsky, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, in a negotiation with China, was threatened at a critical point in the negotiation when her Chinese counterpart said “it’s take it [the deal] or leave it!” After a long pause, she said: If the choice is take it or leave it, of course I’ll leave it. But I can’t imagine that’s what you meant. I think what you meant is that you’d like me to think over your last offer and that we can continue tomorrow. I hope you understand that what you’re putting on the table is inadequate, but I am going to be thinking more carefully tonight about what you suggested. (Hulse and Sebenius, 2003, pp. 332–333) It was a brilliant move, and the next morning the parties came back to the negotiation and reached a compromise. It was brilliant because she inverted and thus converted an ultimatum into a request for her careful consideration of the proposal, slipping in the frame “suggestion,” which civilizes the discourse and thus constructs the scenario as one in which both negotiators are working together to solve their jointly owned problem. This kind of inversion led to a

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives conflict de-escalation, essentially reframing the scenario and explicitly inverting the meaning of the Other (who, in this case, was an “Other.”) Moves like this are rare on three counts: First, in the context of a conflict, particularly a protracted conflict, there are already narratives in place that structure understanding and interpretation of the Other over the course of interaction. The United States has a narrative about North Korea that calls it tricky, devious, exclusively self-interested, pompous, and dangerous, part of Bush’s “axis of evil” (Cha, 2002). It contextualizes, in a negative way, any speech by the North Koreans, thus making it difficult for them to say anything that is not inverted by the United States. This is the norm in a conflict dynamics. Second, Barshefsky’s action is rare because it is explicit—it makes the move to reinterpret or invert the meaning (from “this is it” to “you are suggesting that I consider this carefully so we can continue to talk”), and, in so doing, the interpretative process is itself available for scrutiny. And finally, it is rare because it attributes positive intention to the Other. Most of the time, when meaning is inverted, it arises from a narrative in which the intentions of the Other is formulated as “evil” or at least “bad.” In this case, however, Barshefsky was explicitly creating a narrative in which she attributed positive intention to the Chinese negotiator. Because conflicts are structured by a narrative that relies on the negative intentions of the Other, this move to create positive intentions is not only remarkable, but successful in de-escalating the conflict. Sadly, the narrative patterns in conflict escalation most often go in the other direction—toward violence. (p.95)

From Silence to Violence The fifth narrative pattern in conflict escalation is one in of silence. Words stop for three reasons: first, the narratives under development within each group delegitimize the Other(s). Thus, speaking involves speaking from within a delegitimized position. From within this position, we know that it is difficult for speakers to do other than justify, deny, or excuse, as the negative positions to which they respond essentially function as accusation narratives (Cobb and Rifkin, 1991). Speech turns into a rote pattern of accusation and counteraccusation cycles. Second, there is no uptake or elaboration of the speaker’s narrative core, which they provide as a foundation for their legitimacy. So, not only are they delegitimized, but their core values and plot episodes are shunned by the Other. The result is that the life-world, the lived experience of the speakers, is denied and cancelled; their subjectivity is never materialized, and thus they never can constitute themselves as a speaking subject. Which brings us to the third reasons that words stop: Denied existence as a speaking subject, words are no longer a resource. This is not only problematic for the relationships between people in a conflict, it is very problematic for the ongoing construction of self-as-person, for if we cannot speak and be heard, we are excluded from the space in which language matters, where persons can be agents, construing meaning aligned with their life-world (Rancière, 2010). It is Page 17 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives even worse. This exclusion from the space where meaning is produced and negotiated ensures that the meaning system that excludes the unheard speakers will continue to be dominant, reinforcing a terrible and tragic process by which silence participates in the solidification of a narrative that calls for that silence. Those who are excluded, those who are sacrificed to this narrative dynamic, work to materialize themselves through interaction with persons who share their narrative, who will not contest, deny, or recontextualize their narrative. And the result is the production of more bonding social capital within networks defined, in large part, by this shared, uncontested narrative. There is little or no opportunity for “linking” between groups, thus reducing associational ties (Szreter, 2002) and increasing the solidity of the bonding social capital. This leads, in turn, to the simplification of narrative. Narratives cease to grow within a group when experience must be funneled through the thin line of the story that is in service to the delegitimacy of the Other. So, even within the group, a progressive reduction of complexity occurs. As Scarry (1985) has noted, violence becomes the way of communicating when words no longer work, when speech is no longer functional. Indeed, it is a form of writing or inscribing meaning onto bodies and the built environment (Feldman, 1991). Speech itself, the capacity to speak and be heard, is the causality of narrative patterns in which the suffering that is related through speech is denied and/or delegitimized. When this becomes the norm or the rule, violence is the narrative pattern that follows. And there are many forms. (p.96) Checkpoints and walls, suicide bombing, imprisonment, IEDs, airplane hijackings, and murder, in additional to all traditional forms of warfare, materialize a narrative that cannot otherwise be heard and will not be legitimized by the Others. Genocide is, of course, the ultimate step taken to erase a people and their narratives, their capacity to speak, to be a speaking subject. It is an effort to cancel what Arendt calls “natality” itself (Arendt, 1998) or the humanness that is automatically present in and through the fact of a person’s birth. In the case of the Holocaust, it was the humanity of the person that was obliterated (Levi, 1988); in the camps, this absence was made present in and through the Musselman, the person stooped from hunger, pushed beyond the boundaries of his or her physical body, unable to be a speaking subject, subjected, totally and completely. From a narrative perspective, the Nazi regime was aimed at not just the annihilation of the Others, even though their death was administered purposely, by design; it was also aimed at the eradication of their humanity as speaking subjects. In the case of Rwanda, the genocide was in response to the narrative that the Tutsi were presumably telling in which they would return to rule after many years of exile. This violence was directly related to the narrative that the Tutsi were relentlessly intending, if not plotting, to take over (take back) Rwanda.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives The construction of the Other as having evil intentions leaves the speaker of that story will little option except to restrain or kill the Other. “Evil intent” as a construction has three features: first, it presumes that Others want to kill or harm the speaker or their group; second, it presumes that the evil or bad intention is persistent, independent of circumstances or context; and third, it presumes that the Other either will not listen (i.e., speech and talk are not possible), or that they will pretend to listen as part of their strategy to harm. The prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are constructed by the United States as having evil intention, and thus their detention is indefinite. The social construction of a narrative that presumes the Other has evil intentions has consequences beyond the nature of the relationship between the speaker(s) and their Others; it also greatly impacts the relationships of the speakers to their community, for once the Others are constructed in this way, the narrative begins to function as a “hard-line” narrative and any contestations risk the relationships within and across the community where this narrative is told. As an anecdote, I went to dinner with friends this past weekend. The conversation turned to religion, as it was the Easter weekend, and it was not long before there was a contrast made between Christian love and Islamic terrorists. The speaker described the latter as having “evil intentions.” I was quiet for a moment, but, as I was among friends, I suggested that perhaps this was an external formulation and that, if we talked to these people, we might learn something that would help us understand their intentions in a more complete way. My “friend” (p.97) pushed back his chair and said, “Look, there is evil in the world, the real world, not some postmodern world. And in the real world, anybody that professes the need to kill Others is evil. So Sara, maybe ‘evil’ is itself a problem, in that you say it does not exist—well then neither does ‘good.’ If everything is relative, let’s just go home.” Clearly, I had offended my friend, so I agreed with him, and said that I hoped the world would be different, and he said that meanwhile, we had to be prepared to kill these people or indefinitely imprison them. I kept my head down for the rest of the dinner, politely commenting on the food and movies, knowing that if I touched the theme again, my friend would no longer be a friend, and the other people at the dinner table would be uncomfortable. So, in an effort to maintain relationships in the group, I gave up the narrative I was trying to tell and overtly adopted the narrative of my friend. So, the consequences of the “evil intention” narrative, which both populate and generate contexts of violence, are immediate and severe for anyone who would step outside. This is a narrative that itself denies speech. When speech itself is not possible, repression is the result; it can be defined as the injunction against a certain narrative that would describe the acts of the state as immoral and illegal. It forbids the story to be told in the public sphere. This is precisely the condition that Arendt equates with totalitarianism (Arendt, 1973). As speech is a primordial human condition that accompanies our Page 19 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives “natality,” our having been born, its denial or repression is the denial of life as a human being. Speech can be recovered through violence, as was the case in the French Revolution; thousands of people who resisted the new narrative were murdered and imprisoned. Thus, this form of “recovery” is itself repressive and denies speech to its Others. Nonviolence is an alternative (Abu-Nimer, 2000; Kurlansky, 2008). Even though it has not been described as a narrative process, nonviolence can be understood as a process in which a narrative that cannot be spoken is materialized through the persistent present of a speaker in a context in which the narrative, or speech itself, is forbidden. This “speech” can be enacted in a silent march, in which women carry signs with pictures of their disappeared loved ones, as did the Madres de la Playa de Mayo, or it can be enacted by a protest in which the crowd tells their story through their chants, as well as through their physical presence. Nonviolent protest materializes a narrative that is otherwise forbidden while refusing to do so with violence. It is an act of speech, recovering speech itself, as was the case with Gandhi’s now famous “march to the sea,” reported in The Guardian on March 13, 1930: At 6.30 yesterday morning “Mahatma” Gandhi left Ahmadabad on foot at the head of a band of civil resistance volunteers on a 100-mile march to the sea at Jalalpur, on the Gulf of Cambay… Then, when he expects to be at the sea, he will begin to produce salt from brine, and so infringe the Government salt monopoly, defying the (p.98) Government to arrest and punish him. At the same time his supporters everywhere have been incited by him to refuse to pay local taxes.11 Gandhi defied British rule, not just by making salt, but by publicly, in and with the public, enacting a narrative that undermined the state’s official narrative. In such cases, the state has two choices. It can respond with violence, as Syria and Libya did during the Arab protest, although this often requires the state to engage in mass execution, and, in these days of electronic media, there is no way to keep the murders hidden or secret. In and through the violence, the state delegitimizes itself. But the state can also recognize the narrative of the protesters, those engaging in nonviolence, as both the Egyptian Army and Egyptian President Mubarak did during the “Arab Spring.” Nonviolence is an effective way to materialize a forbidden narrative precisely because it creates a context in which the state if forced to engage; if it does so with force, it publicly confirms the narrative that the people are repressed, and if it responds to the people’s demands, it, de facto, listens to the protesters. Either way, the narrative of the protesters is materialized through their persistent presence as speaking subjects. And, in the process, they recover Page 20 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives speech itself. Sadly, nonviolence is an exception to the narrative dynamics that comprise conflict escalation. More frequently, the five narrative patterns discussed in this section constitute conflict escalation, and, in fact, they can be seen as themselves a sequence that defines conflict escalation as a narrative process. First, a narrative gains dominance through the reduction of its complexity; this occurs as bridging social capital is reduced, limiting cross-cutting ties, and bonding social capital is increased, reducing the diversity of perspectives that are reflected in the narrative. A shorthand or caricatured version of the Other emerges. Second, speakers struggle to present themselves as legitimate within a narrative in which they are already delegitimized, only to experience the futility of their efforts—this ironically solidifies their delegitimacy, as well as the discursive regime in and through which that delegitimacy in constructed. Third, in this struggle for legitimacy, speakers on all sides of the conflict externalize responsibility, framing themselves as reacting to, rather than causing, the problem. Most often, the cause of the problem is constructed as a function of the actions of the Others. So, the externalization of responsibility and the delegitimation of the Other are twinned narrative patterns. Fourth, unable to shift the narrative of the Other, speakers invert the meaning of the Other’s narrative in an effort to cancel it out altogether. And, finally, when all else fails, people stop talking altogether and speech itself ceases to be functional. Violence is the final “solution.” Of course, depending on the context, conflict escalation may not proceed in the order I have described, in that the inversion of meaning may not appear in (p. 99) the lead-up to violence or there may be contexts in which there appears to be little or no interaction in the lead-up to violence, so that parties do not seem to engage in denying claims to legitimacy as a narrative pattern. Indeed, the conflict escalation process, based on the narrative patterns that I have described, may not capture the dynamics that lead to violence, given the pertinence of place and context. I am not claiming that the patterns as proposed inevitably lead to violence or that they always follow a given order. I am, however, inviting the reader to consider escalation as a narrative phenomenon. This matters because, if we could refocus our attention on narrative patterns and not find ourselves, as analysts, mired in the game theoretic discourse of “needs” and “interests” or “rights,” we might be able to track the process of conflict escalation as a function of narrative and contribute to the transformation of the conflict narrative, thus interrupting the escalatory process and generating new, less dangerous narrative patterns.

Conflict Transformation as Narrative Destabilization If conflict narratives engender escalations, and if they function as closed systems, which, over the course of the escalation, become more closed as they become more simplified, the antidote to narrative closure and conflict escalation Page 21 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives is the reduction of simplicity, which in turn requires its “destabilization” (Cobb, 2006). In his groundbreaking book, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, Michael White described in detail how narrative contributed to both suffering and its alleviation by connecting Foucault’s (1970) notions of power and knowledge to narrative and then examining how narrative restricts people’s discourse, in general, and more specifically, with regard to problems and conflicts. Although he was writing about therapeutic practices as a practice of narrative transformation, the theoretical foundation he developed, as well as the technical descriptions of the practice, are pertinent to the field of conflict resolution. Narrative transformation involves, first, the destabilization of the existing narrative, disrupting those connections between plot, characters, and themes that comprise its coherence and constitute its “evaluative point.” This is not a process of denying or challenging the existing components of a conflict narrative —indeed, that is exactly what the Others do, paradoxically increasing its coherence. Instead, destabilization, which occurs at any moment in which the narrative components are altered, changing the meaning of the story, reducing, even temporarily, its coherence and closure. If, for example, new episodes are introduced in a conflict narrative, perhaps through recontextualization or simply addition to the main plot line, the “plot thickens,” in that the meaning becomes more complex. As a result, the character roles are altered, if only slightly, and the value systems can become more complicated. Although it is (p.100) possible that new episodes can solidify the existing narrative and increase its closure, it is less likely because complexity increases the interstitial connections in a given narrative, providing new dimensions for contestation and recontextualization—and increasing the “surface area” of the narrative reduces its closure. “Surface area” here refers to the connective lines within the narrative, between plot episodes, characters, and values, as well as the connections that a given narrative makes to other narratives circulating in the culture, or what Nelson (2001) calls “narrative tissue.” The more connections, the less stable the narrative, precisely because each of the connections can itself be recontextualized. Increasing the narrative surface area increases the potential for reconceptualization and decreases stability, assuming that “stability” is itself the potential for a narrative to be opened. For example, in the case of Rwanda, it is only now that the story of the genocide is becoming more complex. Similar to the situation in Germany, where the suffering of the Germans has only more recently been described,12 recent scholarship on Rwanda has challenged the notion that the killing came out of fear heightened by hate radio in the context of a postcolonial struggle. There is now research that also documents the persistent and significant threat the RPF posed to the Hutu government, and, as mentioned earlier, there is even some evidence of reprisal killings once the Tutsi came into power. This destabilizes the Page 22 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives notion that the Tutsi were only victims—they were also victimizers. Their roles are thus complicated, and the entire narrative about the genocide becomes more complex and more unstable as it works to provide a new foundation for its own closure. If narrative transformation is engendered by destabilization, understanding how this practice works would be a significant contribution to conflict resolution. There are three situations in which we can consider this practice. The first involves the presence of a third party or an intervener that facilitates the conversation, the second involves the design of a process in which persons within that process manage their own conversation, and the third involves no intervention from a third party at all. In the context of the field of conflict resolution, there is much to learn from the local or indigenous practices of narrative transformation; these observations, this knowledge can, in turn, open up a field of conflict resolution practice that has been otherwise dominated by game theory and behavioral economics. In the section that follows, I consider all of these three contexts in terms of narrative destabilization and transformation. No surprise: Culture matters. (p.101)

Indigenous Practices: Narrative Destabilization and the Liminal Space Like many other kinds of trauma, healing from genocide is a process of decades. Since the Rwandan genocide, many efforts have been made by international and local organizations to help Rwandans deal with their pain and develop communities’ capacity for reconciliation. Indeed, it requires Rwandans to change their narratives, either as victims who suffered terribly at the hands of the perpetrators or as perpetrators who now must live in proximity to their victims. However, many scholars have noted that the Rwandan culture is one of silence—people do not discuss personal pain in public (Bagilishya, 2000). Buckley-Zistel (2006) notes that identity is constructed not only on what is remembered of the past, but also on what is forgotten; “chosen amnesia” is critical to the maintenance of both Hutu and Tutsi identities in Rwanda. And this amnesia is maintained not only by this culture of silence but by the narratives of the past: This form of chosen amnesia, I shall argue, although now perhaps essential for local coexistence, bears the danger of not challenging the social cleavages that rendered the genocide possible in the first place, and so obstructing their transformation in the future. (Buckley-Zistel, 2006, p. 132) Against the backdrop of this culture of silence, since 1994, many kinds of programs have been developed to enable Rwandans to story their pain in a manner that will build change in the community and in social relationships. Some of these programs involve third-party intervention, either by the state itself or by international NGOs. At the state level, the Rwandan government Page 23 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives created ingando solidarity camps, predominantly for ex-combatants, those who committed genocide, and students where participants are taught a history of Rwanda as context for the genocide (Mgbako, 2005); these camps, part of the decommissioning process, are intended to foster reconciliation. Research has shown, however, that the curriculum promulgates a pro-government frame for reconciliation in which ethnic differences are denied. Mgbako (2005) argues that these camps enable the government to advance its perspective and reduce the likelihood that it will be challenged, effectively silencing opposition through indoctrination rather than punishment. From this perspective, the ingando camps function to stabilize and support the state’s narrative, forestalling any destabilization. Clearly, the state has vested interest in reducing the destabilization of its own narrative.13 (p.102) However, there are other examples of programs run by third parties that are intended to encourage reconciliation through supporting the emergence of new narratives. For example, Blair and Fletcher (2010) describe their program, in which they used theater as a form for enabling Rwandans to communicate with each other. However, not only did “play” run counter to Rwandan culture (it is for children not adults), but the participants noted that theater would only be pertinent for a limited set of the population. So, although participants in this program reported opening up their own narratives and learning about others, they did not recommend it as a tool for community reconciliation. Still other programs, such as UNHCR’s Imagine Coexistence Project, combine income generation with community planning, dialogue, and conflict resolution training. Conceptually, this project aimed to understand how local projects contributed to foster coexistence. Practically, the result of the research did not assess changes to narratives: Even though the project argued that coexistence would require changes in perceptions, it did not assess those changes over time.14 Some third-party programs have done a better job. For example, Paluck (2009) has argued that radio programs, specifically Musekeweya (moo-say-kay-way-ah), or New Dawn, has led to changes in people’s capacity for empathy for the Other, as well as tolerance for open dissent. As radio programs are not “facilitated,” in that people listen (largely in groups) voluntarily, the dynamics of their interaction is not regulated by a third party, making this a good example of a kind of program that sets up a structure in which persons themselves interact and engage, regulating their own participation. Although it may be the case that this third-party intervention (funded by the Dutch) can lead to changes in perceptions, these changes are documented via a survey that cannot, by definition, assess the dynamics of interpersonal or relational processes. We know

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives that people report changes in their perspectives, but we do not know if that results in different interaction across identity groups. However, there are projects and programs in Rwanda that have been very successful in supporting changes in interaction between groups. Duhozanye (“to console each other”) is a community of both Hutu and Tutsi women who came together, first in mourning, and then to problem-solve real and immediate needs for shelter and food for themselves and a large number of orphaned children.15 The relational bonds formed between the women who shared their grief became (p.103) the foundation for their community; they rebuilt their houses at night to manage the taboos against being on a ladder in a skirt or wearing pants in public. They started an agricultural co-op, a school for orphaned children, and a sewing or craft center. They built a granary and began selling seed to other communities. They wrote grants and obtained funding to build their offices. They grew in numbers from about 300 women in 1994 to approximately 4,000 in 2009. Several of the women who were leaders in the community went on to run for and be elected to parliament. By all measures, they have been extremely successful. Given the devastating experience of the genocide—all of the women lost family members, and many of the women had been raped and then had borne children of men who had killed their families—these women have not only transformed their experience of victimization but, via collective mourning, they have developed and anchored, through their collaboration, a narrative that reconciles Hutu to Tutsi because their group is composed of both identity groups. This indigenous, bottom-up, mode for narrative transformation provides an important clue to the mystery of narrative destabilization. For a narrative to change, its closure must be reduced. This can occur in what van Gennep (1960) refers to as a “liminal space”—a space in which identity is disrupted and not yet reformulated. Although van Gennep described it as a function of a ritual process, it can be seen to function in a variety of settings that may include therapy, theater, or the occasion of a death or a birth. Although one could argue that each of these are also ritual processes, the point here is that the liminal space is one in which the narrative of the Self and the narrative of relationship to Other are disrupted and destabilized (Cobb, 2002).16 It is a space of what Turner called “betwixt and between,” in which people are marginal, inferior, and set apart from the existing social structures. It is a place where identity can be reinvented and communitas itself is formed (Turner, 1986). Building on van Gennep’s work, three features of a liminal process are each pertinent to the creation of a space in which narrative is destabilized: stripping, inverting, and paradoxical meaning. Stripping involves taking away aspects of identity that are critical to a given role. In the case of the women of Duhozanye, they became more than mothers or wives; in a context in which they were Page 25 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives completely dependent on men for shelter and sustenance, their dependency on men was stripped away as they negotiated with local leaders, wrote grants, ran for office, and managed economic projects. Inverting was also present—they literally took on the roles of men, as they donned pants, climbed ladders, and built houses, all activities circumscribed to men. There were also many paradoxical meanings created as well; for example, the women found life (together) through loss, through death and destruction of their community. In their mourning together, they created this “betwixt and between” space in which new relationships were formed that cut (p.104) across the Hutu and Tutsi divisions, and a new gendered identity was born—one that relied on their experience as women, but one which did not depend on men for that definition. And they knew themselves anew. In my view, it is not accident that these women have been so successful—their health arises from being outside of the system (of meaning) that led to genocide. The liminal space allowed these women to narrative themselves as women, rather than as Hutu or Tutsi women. The liminal space is pertinent to any process of narrative transformation in that it allows persons to unhook from their roles and the markers associated with those roles. As narratives are tied to these markers, their absence or inversion disorganizes the coherence of a given narrative. And it is precisely because the liminal space is a production of narrative destabilization that people prefer not to stray into a liminal space. I once served as consultant to a large family business in which one of the principals was a downhill skier; terribly burned as a child, it had been predicted that he would never walk. Not only did he walk, he became a competitive skier. However, in this family, he was predominately known for overspending and careless financial management. In my conversations with other principals, I began to legitimize him by referring to him as the “downhill bomber”—someone who only knew how to do things (like spend money) fast as a direct result of being unable to sit still, a trait that saved him from a wheelchair. Linking the positive with the negative, the Others were no longer able to delegitimize him, and he described accepting a part of himself that he had been rejecting (his spendthrift ways). As this description of him began to take hold in the group, he began to question himself, his ways, and his role in the family. The narrative of himself began to unravel or destabilize as Others began to speak of his fortitude and inner strength. Although he never did become a “saver,” he did begin to make financial decisions that were more responsible and his requests for “fundage” from the other owners abated. Although this example is certainly more mundane, it demonstrates the dynamics of the relation between the liminal space and narrative transformation. What is core to both instances is the process of “reciprocal elaboration of legitimacy.”

Reciprocal Elaboration of Legitimacy If indeed legitimacy (of speakers) is the domain for and the reason for the struggle over meaning, then speakers suffer in cycles of conflict with Others as they struggle to formulate their own legitimacy, which only matters if it Page 26 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives materializes in the narratives about them told by their Others. It is only in the elaboration by Other speakers (those with whom we are in conflict) that legitimacy is constituted—speakers cannot legitimize themselves by themselves.17 If we (p.105) understand legitimacy itself as the condition on which belonging and sociality are possible, delegitimacy is a form of narrative banishment, a excising of the person as a speaking subject. In Duhozanye, the women were engaged in a process of reciprocal legitimation, framing all women as in need of consoling, as indeed loss was ubiquitous, even though some lost more than others. It was a narrative that refused to differentiate on the basis of ethnic identity or even on the nature or number of wounds. It was a narrative that honored each woman for her grief, her ability to take control of her own life, and her contribution to the collective. It was a legitimizing narrative for all. It is no wonder that they were able to effectively collaborate, plan, and support each other. This narrative led to the development of community itself. I interviewed some of these women in the early phase of the Imagine Coexistence Project in 2000.18 They explained to me how, in the initial meetings, they came together to cry, as Tutsi women. But then one of the mourners had a sister-in-law who was Hutu, and she had lost her husband in the genocide; she asked and was granted permission by the other mourners to invite her sister-inlaw, and she did. It was, she explained, an important moment in that everyone was worried about how the Hutu woman would fit in. However, they soon relaxed as the Hutu woman shared the story of her pain. Although it was different in some respects from their own, it was nonetheless a story of suffering, and her grief was real. She was included and then other Hutu women joined the community. The women kept coming together to console each other, so that mourning together was not incidental to their community, but rather a weekly event. During these events, different women would share their stories of pain; in some cases, they had lost all of their children and they told the story of their deaths. In other cases, they were raped and had given birth to a child of their rapist. In still other cases, they had no home, no shelter, and no food, as only the males in the family had property rights. These stories were different, but in the telling, all of the speakers were legitimized by the other women in the group. Reciprocal legitimation is precisely what is evaded in protracted conflict. And it is precisely what is needed for reconciliation. In fact, we can define reconciliation itself as a process by which parties begin to reciprocally legitimize each other. The terms on which legitimacy is founded obviously vary from situation to situation, from context to context. In the case of Duhozanye, it was legitimate to grieve and mourn one’s losses, regardless of ethnic identity. The pain of loss (p. 106) does not require, necessarily, the “cause” of the pain (i.e., the victimization Page 27 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives by the Other). It is sufficient to accent the texture and nature of the suffering itself. “Loss” is an example of a narrative that can be used in many contexts, given that suffering as a human being is the focus (Spelman, 1998). Indeed, these narratives of loss have been the focus of programs in the Middle East, where Israeli and Palestinian parents come together to mourn the loss of their children.19 Collective mourning was also a component of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as the stories of suffering were opened for display in national and international media. Clearly, narratives of suffering are one way to create a liminal space in which identity itself is unhinged and new ways of speaking and being, through community, are created. But this description belies the complexity of these processes. Narrative transformation is not itself a linear process or one that can be necessarily engineered. In fact, the suffering displayed in the “theater” of many of the reconciliation programs that trot out grieving parents as a way to foster reconciliation are drained of their power precisely because they no longer have any liminality—the rote nature of the storytelling undermines its impact. The liminal is, as I have noted, a “betwixt and between place” where identity itself is at least temporarily “unhinged” from how people have understood themselves and their roles, a place where they are not yet who they are going to be, in a new narrative of Self, which will inevitably involve, given narrative interdependence, a new narrative of the Other as well. Narrative destabilization creates a liminal space from which a new narrative can emerge. Given that this book is not only about narratives of violent conflict, but rather about conflict narratives, I describe nonlinear narrative transformation through the story of a large and very wealthy South American family who emerged with new identities.

Narrative Emergence: A Nonlinear Process In his book The Social Animal, Brooks (2011) writes that identity is a set of social, cultural, and neural pathways that activate ways of being. Narrative provides the connections that solidify and materialize these ways of being, building connections between Self and context. Transformation of a given identity requires a new setting, new interactions, and new neural connections. He describes the effort of two educators to start a new school, one that could ensure that poor children would eventually graduate from high school and attend college. And, indeed, the school made the difference. But we cannot alter conflict narratives by creating a new setting for those who are locked in conflict, even though many development organizations, such (p. 107) as USAID, presume that they can reduce the conflict by addressing human needs (all too often identified by the development organizations themselves). As a field, we need to imagine how narrative transformation functions so that we might design and/or participate in the evolution of narrative and the identities that accompany them. For, indeed, the widows of Duhozanye were able, in the liminal space after genocide, to alter their stories about Self and Other. But, as I Page 28 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives have noted, narrative coherence and closure function to ensure that narratives are not altered, that they persist and even increase in their simplicity over time. The emergence of a new narrative can be facilitated, even though it may not be designed, on the basis of what we know about narrative emergence. Emergence itself has been described as a nonlinear process that defies positivistic efforts to account for change. Dynamical processes in social systems exhibit chaotic and episodic oscillations that can lead to step jumps and bifurcations, processes that can push a system far from equilibrium (Gleick, 2008; Masterpasqua and Perna, 1997; Prigogine, 1997; Strogatz, 2004). In the field of conflict resolution, Coleman, Vallacher, Nowak, and Bui-Wrzosinska (2007) appropriate chaos theory to describe conflict dynamics, arguing that a conflict system is organized around a set of “attractors” that maintain the equilibrium and polarities of the conflict. Altering the conflict involves building a new “attractor landscape” (p. 38). From a narrative perspective, the “attractor landscape” is organized around the moral frameworks that speakers use to constitute their own legitimacy and the delegitimacy of their others because the politics of conflict narratives involve the struggle over legitimacy, as I have noted. Changing the attractor landscape involves, as Coleman et al. note, “tipping points” (Gladwell, 2002) that alter the set of relations within the narrative. These can be understood as “critical moments” in which the relationships are altered (for better or worse) (Leary, 2004). I have defined critical moments as (Cobb, 2006) a point in interaction in which the legitimacy and/or delegitimacy of one of the parties is altered, either by Self or by Other. For example, when a Tutsi widow argued to women in the Duhozanye group that Hutu women also were in mourning, this constituted a shift in the relations between Hutu and Tutsi women, and the group expanded to include Hutu women. However, critical moments can also occur when a speaker opens up the “attractor landscape” with a new dimension of delegitimacy for the Other. For example, in Rwanda, in a coop I visited as part of the early phase of the Imagine Coexistence project, people were trying to grow sunflowers to press for oil to sell. They understood that UNHCR intended to give them the press, and when it was delayed (as UNHCR staff had to locate a funder to donate it), the group accused UNHCR of being too “bureaucratic.” However, a critical moment is different from a turning point—the former is the construction of a change in the attractor landscape, whereas the latter involves its uptake, its elaboration by others (or Others). This elaboration effectively instantiates the proffered “attractor” or moral judgment in and through interaction. (p.108) Conflict escalation and de-escalation can be framed, from this perspective, in terms of a sequence of critical moments and turning points; critical moments can occur as negative or positive positions for Self/Other are Page 29 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives offered. When, for example, one woman proposed to the group of widows that they could include Hutu women in their group of mourners, that was a critical moment. A positive position was being offered about the Hutu women—they too had suffered and been victimized and needed the company of other widows. To have that story elaborated by the Tutsi mourners was a turning point. Likewise, to have the radio tell a negative story about the Tutsi, that they were “cockroaches” and wanted to overthrow the government, constituted a critical moment. To have this story elaborated by Hutus in the form of killing was a turning point. Escalation and de-escalation are not simply symmetrical reversals of each other —we cannot practice conflict resolution by reversing the escalation. Rather, the emergent nature of conflict dynamics creates feedback loops that fundamentally change the narrative system over time, reducing its complexity. For this reason, the turning points that lead to the devolution of relationships over time and increase conflict are not the same as those that lead toward positive evolution. In the first place, conflict resolution is not equivalent to conflict de-escalation. Elsewhere, I have argued that conflict resolution requires the development of a new narrative, one that leads to increased narrative complexity. I have outlined a set of turning points that are productive of this complexity, and I offer this model later in this book. For now, I am making the point that the turning points that generate narrative complexity and lead toward conflict resolution are not equivalent to those that might simply de-escalate a conflict. In the latter case, the turning point might involve the elaboration of a narrative in which the Other is still “evil” but simply less dangerous; for example, this turning point occurred as the genocide ended and the Hutu perpetrators (and the Interhamwe) either went into the bush, left Rwanda, or hid in refugee camps among their victims. They were not likely to commit murder imminently, but they were still “evil” perpetrators. Conflict de-escalation is therefore not equivalent to conflict resolution (Mitchell, 1991). Additionally, the progression of turning points that support conflict resolution are not only different from those that may lead to conflict de-escalation, but are not the reversal of those that escalate conflict. Using the Rwanda case as an example, the Hutu narrative that led to the genocide may have taken generations to build, but it was consolidated and materialized in the genocide itself over just a few short weeks. There was a viral nature to the narrative that denigrated the Tutsi—and in fact, Power (2002) and others have argued that the West could not imagine nor predict the speed with which the genocide unfolded. These turning points, toward resolution or toward violence, are nonlinear processes, but they both have characteristic features that can be described. Later in this book, I provide a model for a sequence of turning points associated with conflict resolution. But before that, in Part II, I describe how conflict (p. 109) escalation contributes to the radicalization of conflict narratives, providing Page 30 of 39

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives a new framework for understanding extremism and offering a foundation for critical narrative theory connecting power and subjectivity to narrative processes. In turn, this will set the stage for my discussion of the relation between aesthetics and narrative transformation, offering a new theory for conflict resolution as narrative process on this basis. Essentially, in Part II, I will be working to link critical theory to narrative dynamics, address the nature of conflict escalation as the erasure of subjectivity, and offer an aesthetics for conflict transformation, which, I argue, is so much more complicated than deescalation. By the end of Part II, I hope to have provided a framework for a narrative lens on conflict analysis and transformation that can begin to populate not only scholarly conversations, but diplomatic and development conversations as well. Bibliography Bibliography references: Abu-Nimer, M. 2000. “Framework for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islam.” Journal of Law and Religion 15 (1–2): 217–265. Adhikari, M. 2008. “Review: Allan Thompson (ed.), The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. London: Pluto Press.” European Journal of Communication 23 (1): 89– 92. Anderson, B. 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. New edition. New York: Verso. Arendt, H. 1973. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ———. 1998. The Human Condition. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Avtgis, T. A. and A. S. Rancer. 2010. Arguments, Aggression, and Conflict: New Directions in Theory and Research. New York: Routledge. Bagilishya, D. 2000. “Mourning and Recovery from Trauma: In Rwanda, Tears Flow Within.” Transcultural Psychiatry 37 (3): 337–353. Balkin, J. M. 1990. “The Rhetoric of Responsibility.” Virginia Law Review 76 (2): 197–263. Bamberg, M. G. W. and M. Andrews. 2004. Considering Counter Narratives: Narrating, Resisting, Making Sense. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins. Bateson, G. 1973. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. 2nd printing August 1973. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. Page 31 of 39

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Lyotard, J. F. 1988. The Differend: Phrases in Dispute. Theory and History of Literature vol. 46. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mamdani, M. 2001. When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Masterpasqua, F., and P. A. Perna. 1997. The Psychological Meaning of Chaos: Translating Theory into Practice. 1st ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Mgbako, C. 2005. “Ingando Solidarity Camps: Reconciliation and Political Indoctrination in Post-Genocide Rwanda.” Harvard Human Rights Journal 18: 201–224. Mitchell, C. R. 1991. “Classifying Conflicts: Asymmetry and Resolution.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 518 (1): 23–38. Moore, J., and W. Slater. 2007. The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream of Absolute Power. 1st ed. New York: Three Rivers Press. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Paluck, E. L. 2009. “Reducing Intergroup Prejudice and Conflict Using the Media: A Field Experiment in Rwanda.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96 (3): 574–587. Paluck, E. L. and Green, D. 2009. “Deference, Dissent, and Dispute Resolution: An Experimental Intervention Using Mass Media to Change Norms and Behavior in Rwanda.” American Political Science Review 103 (04): 622–644. Pomerantz, A. 1978. “Attributions of Responsibility: Blamings.” Sociology 12 (1): 115–120. Power, S. 2002. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Basic Books. Prigogine, I. 1997. The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature. 1st ed. New York: Free Press. Rancière, J., 2010. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. New York: Continuum. Ranger, T. 2005. “The Narratives and Counter-Narratives of Zimbabwean Asylum: Female Voices.” Third World Quarterly 26 (3): 405–421. Roe, E., and van Eeten, M. J. G 2004. “Three-Not Two-Major Environmental Counternarratives to Globalization.” Global Environmental Politics 4 (4): 36–53.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Ryan, S., and A. Balocating. 2010. “‘We Snuck up on the Roof …’ the Widows of Duhozanye Rebuild Their Community.” Social Justice Wisdom Series 1: 1–8. Sacks, H. 1992. Lectures on Conversation. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Sacks, H., E.A Schegloff, and G. Jefferson. 1974. “A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation.” Language 50 (4): 696–735. Scarry, E. 1985. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press. Segal, M. D. 2000. The American Indian Movement: The Potential of a CounterNarrative. University of Pennsylvania. Dissertations available from ProQuest.Paper AAI9976474. http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/ AAI9976474. Slocum-Bradley, N.R. 2008. “Discursive Production of Conflict in Rwanda.” In Global Conflict Resolution Through Positioning Analysis, ed. Moghaddam, F., M. Moghaddam, R. Harré, and N. Lee, 207–226. New York: Springer. (p.112) Sluzki, C. E. and D. C. Ransom. 1976. Double Bind: The Foundation of the Communicational Approach to the Family. New York: Grune & Stratton. Spelman, E. V. 1997. Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering. Boston: Beacon Press. Staub, E. 1989. The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Straus, S. 2007. “What Is the Relationship between Hate Radio and Violence? Rethinking Rwanda’s ‘Radio Machete.’” Politics & Society 35 (4): 609–637. Strogatz, S. H. 2004. Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life. New York: Hyperion. Szreter, S. 2002. “The State of Social Capital: Bringing Back in Power, Politics, and History.” Theory and Society 31 (5): 573–621. Tajfel, H., and J. C. Turner. 2004. “The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior.” In Political Psychology: Key readings, ed. J. T. Jost, andJ. Sidanius, 276–293. New York: Psychology Press. Thomson, S., and R. Nagy. 2011. “Law, Power and Justice: What Legalism Fails to Address in the Functioning of Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 5 (1): 11–30. Tilly, C. 2005. Identities, Boundaries, and Social Ties. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives Turner, V. 1986. “Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage.” In The Forest of Symbols, ed. Turner, V., 93–111. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Varshney, A. 2001. “Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond.” World Politics 53 (3): 362–398. Verwimp, P. 2003. “Testing the Double-Genocide Thesis for Central and Southern Rwanda.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 47 (4): 423–442. Vollhardt, J., M. Coutin,E. Staub, G. Weiss, and J. Deflander. 2006. “Deconstructing Hate Speech in the DRC: A Psychological Media Sensitization Campaign.” Journal of Hate Studies 5 (1): 15–35. Watzlawick, P.,J. Beavin Bavelas, and D. D. Jackson. 2011. Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes. New York: W. W. Norton. Notes:

(1) See Hasty, J. 2002. “When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and the Genocide in Rwanda (review).” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 3 (1). http://muse.jhu.edu.mutex.gmu.edu/journals/ journal_of_colonialism_and_colonial_history/v003/3.1hasty.html (2) In recent years, the role of “hate radio” in fomenting genocide has been questioned, not only by Straus, but by others. See Kellow and Steeves (1998), Paluck (2009), Paluck and Green (2009). These authors explore the relationship between media and radio messaging in an effort to determine the impact of hate radio on the production of genocide. Kellow and Steeves (1998) found that in the community in which there was total radio coverage (where it was not blocked by the hills) there was a high participation in the genocide. They further noted that the “narratives” within the programs (frames that created victim/victimizer sets) seemed to be the most salient factor in producing hate. But Li (2004) critiques the more positivist approaches to the study of hate radio and argues that people were not passive receptacles, but active in the way they discussed and disagreed about the radio program, and, in this process, constituted themselves as subjects: “If the subject is permeable to mediated discourses, firmly embedded in an ever-shifting set of forces, structures, and meanings, it may be that choices are shaped by and made in the spaces and tensions between these currents” (p. 24). It is not my purpose to establish here the validity of claims that hate radio either caused or contributed to the genocide. I am rather trying here to consider the role of narrative in the production of the genocide, and, whereas radio played an important role, there were other influences that were critically important, such as the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives (3) See a report on this at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/limbaughadolf-hitler-lik_n_253412.html. (4) There has been much written on Karl Rove who worked to ensure that there was no dissent internal to the Republican Party. From this perspective, he was working to ensure, like other hard liners, that the narrative remained closed. I want to, of course, note that people were not imprisoned, even though some federal prosecutor who failed to “toe the line” were fired. Clearly, basic rights in the United States do not permit that a hard-line narrative mandates compliance “or else” as was done in Rwanda. See Israel (2011) and Moore and Slater (2007) for discussions of Rove’s process. (5) See http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_041911/content/ 01125106.guest.html. (6) See Avtgis and Rancer (2010) for discussion of “aggressive communication.” They argue that this is typical of political contexts—denigrating the Other is par for the course. However, they do not track, as Bakhtin does, the performative consequences of extreme polarization. (7) See http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/08– 1498.htm for information on the case. (8) To view several videos on this topic in which legal experts review the nature of the decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, see http:// blogs.law.harvard.edu/adr2011/category/2011-symposium/. (9) For example, see http://www.cbsnews.com/8301–503544_162–20030611– 503544.html. See also a discussion of the possibility that social media can promote social change at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/67325/malcolmgladwell-and-clay-shirky/from-innovation-to-revolution. (10) See http://rwandinfo.com/eng/unearthed-the-un-%E2%80%9Cgersonyreport%E2%80%9D-on-rwandan-rpf-rpa-mass-killings-in-1994/. (11) See http://century.guardian.co.uk/1930–1939/Story/0,,128140,00.html. (12) See http://www.forward.com/articles/8245/ for an excellent article that describes the evolution, within Germany, of the narrative about World War II, in which the story of German suffering emerges. Because this evolution shakes the foundation of the victim/victimizer frame, which puts Germany only in the victimizer role, it destabilizes our understanding of its role in the war. It is important to note that this destabilization does not cancel out the description of Germany’s role as victimizer.

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives (13) The Gacaca courts, seen through this lens, are seemingly doomed to failure because they become spaces in which the “official story” must be told and retold. This would, and some have argued, has, reduced their capacity to promote community reconciliation. See Burnet (2008) for a discussion of the limitations of Gacaca courts. (14) See fletcher.tufts.edu/chrcr/pdfs/imagine.pdf for a report on the Imagine Coexistence Project; the method used to assess the programs that were studied (i.e., process tracing) was neither described, nor did it seem to structure the findings. This could account for the fact that the projects were not assessed in terms of how they contributed to reconciliation in divided societies, beyond antecdotal evidence. (15) See their website at http://www.duhozanye.org/webfiles/duhozanye/ index.cfm for additional information. Much has been written about this group of women, but there is little formal research on the impact that they have had on reconciliation. See Ryan and Balocating (2010), Frogner (2011), and Bundy (1997) for articles describing this group and their history. (16) An English version of this paper is available at http:// www.mediadoresenred.org.ar/larevista/espaciosliminales.html (17) Although it is the case that self-affirmation may be an important component for self-reconciliation, unless and until the narrative of the Other changes, relational reconciliation is unlikely. However, it could be the case that the alteration in the interaction brought about when one party begins to affirm its own legitimacy and ceases to struggle to have the Others legitimize it may well support the emergence of a new pattern of interaction. See Watzlawick, Bavelas, and Jackson (2011) for an interactional approach to conflict dynamics. (18) My affiliation to the project ceased when I took a new position at George Mason University, in 2001. (19) See http://www.theparentscircle.com/about.asp as an example of one such program, which aims to promote reconciliation through mourning.

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Radicalized Narratives

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Radicalized Narratives Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter offers a theoretical framework for understanding the destructive power of “radicalized narratives.” Drawing on Arendt’s notion of “radical evil” the radicalized narratives that emerged in the conflict over immigration policy, in Prince William, VA., will be examined in terms of the production of a totalitarian discursive regime and the emergence of a “contaminated” Other. The paradoxical role of the Police Chief, who protected the Others via humanizing narratives, is explored. Given the ubiquitous availability of “security” discourse, at global and national levels, this case study also addresses the circulation of radicalized narratives across institutional and political boundaries, obviating the utility of the “levels” approach to conflict analysis, which differentiates micro, mezzo and macro contexts. Instead, this case study documents the interconnectivity of security discourse. Keywords:   radicalized narrative, reflective judgment, natality, perpetrator, totalitarianism, power

The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world. ( Arendt, 1969)1 September 11, 2001 changed the world. Thousands of innocent people died horrible deaths while those who survived wept and vowed revenge. And a new enemy emerged, independent from a given nation, without location, one that promised continued violence against innocents. In retaliation, two wars were launched, against Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result, millions of innocent people have died, suffered physical injuries, or been displaced. These wars have led to civil wars and new fractures within these states. And, although one could argue Page 1 of 30

Radicalized Narratives that there have been some positive outcomes, the justifications for more violence continue to unfurl as fractals of the violence itself. Each justification comes with a set of unintended consequences that, as Arendt notes, quoting Henry Steele Commager, “If we subvert world order and destroy world peace we must inevitably subvert and destroy our own political institutions first” (Arendt, 1970, p. 54). And indeed, the post-9/11 United States has gone on to suspend habeas corpus, practice torture, and reduce the civil liberties of its citizens in favor of “homeland security.” Arendt offers the beginning of an explanation, one that will have import for understanding the role of narrative in the production of violence, which is the focus of this chapter. She notes that there is an inverse relation between power and violence. Power, she notes, is an essence of government, of institutionalized regulations. It arises as a force to compel actions in and through the fact of its presence in a group, which she invokes as the “civitas” that brings forth the laws, the covenant, of itself, to itself. She argues: Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group (p.116) and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together. (Arendt, 1970, p. 44) Although this collective power to authorize certain actions relies on legitimacy, which may or may not be present, it is reliant on violence. And, in fact, she argues that violence and power are inversely related—the less power governments or institutionalized systems have (which can result from reduced legitimacy), the more violent they must become in an effort to preserve power. Violence, on the other hand, is “distinguished by its instrumental character” and the “implements of violence that…multiply…natural strength” (Arendt, 1970, p. 46). In a post-9/11 environment, where the United States clearly has no power over terrorists, violence is inevitably disproportionate—the “implements” include cluster bombs, drone bombing, and house invasions. But because they extend the natural strength to compel or block the actions of the others, they also are testimony to the weakness of the United States. The “extreme form of power…All against One” (Arendt, 1970, p. 42) is evidenced through the laser-like focus on the murder of Osama bin Laden, killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan; the “extreme form of violence…as…One against All” (Arendt, 1970, p. 42) will continue as the radicalization of Islamic terrorists continues. This process of radicalization is not only critically important to the dynamics of terrorism but to all forms of violence. I will argue in this chapter that it is a form of narrative that functions as the prospective justification for violence. Mobilized and institutionalized, it acts as a form of power, generating an “all against one” phenomenon and fueling aggression and violence. Radicalization as a narrative Page 2 of 30

Radicalized Narratives process has become the companion of the governance system in the United States (and perhaps in Europe), where modern state bureaucracies, faceless yet inexorable in their violence, are in direct contrast to the particular, personal, and localized actors that become the face of the Other. Radicalized narratives, I will argue, both enslave the speakers as well as marginalize the Others. This process, ubiquitous in U.S. policy and politics, both materializes and exacerbates the violence of the state while reducing, as Arendt was forecasting, its legitimacy. Legitimacy is not reduced because people stop voting or because elections cease; it reduces the scope of meaning and action that people have and thus requires them to participate in radicalized narratives. This chapter is my effort to describe and address these processes and discuss their implication for public deliberation and democracy itself. But rather than focus on terrorism as a context for a study of radicalization, I will examine this process via a focus on immigration policy in the United States. Because other Western countries are experiencing similar issues surrounding immigration, this analysis will hopefully address the relation between violence and narrative in a domain area that crosses national borders and speaks to the conditions of the state system in general. (p.117)

“This Is an Invasion!” In 2007, in Prince William County, Virginia, the County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution (hereafter The Resolution) that authorized the county police to question the immigration status of anyone they arrested or suspected of criminal activity; the bill became law in the spring of 2008.2 It has since become the blueprint for immigration legislation passed in several other states, notably Arizona. This policy ressonates with the emergence of immigration policies in the United States and abroad, and it is all too often the public discourse that surrounds the debates and deliberation around these policies that fractures and polarizes communities. In the case of Prince William County, Virginia, the issue of immigration emerged in force when the Hispanic population rose to about twenty percent. Prior to the late 1990s, Prince William County had been a bedroom community of Washington D.C. It was a rural area where people built and owned their own homes—many were built in the 1950s. The population was predominately white and Christian. English was the norm. Then, as Northern Virginia began to grow significantly, cheap(er) housing and the presence of construction jobs attracted a large and growing community of immigrants, predominately Hispanic. New churches were opened, English as a Second Language became an ever more important component of the educational system, and day laborer sites emerged. These laborer sites (places where laborers in search of a daily job would congregate and where contractors would go whenever they needed to hire a worker) caused considerable comment in the community; one group wanted to build a special location for the day laborers but that was strongly opposed by others who argued that the city had no obligation to day laborers. The center Page 3 of 30

Radicalized Narratives was never constructed, and the laborers continued to congregate in the parking lot of the local 7-Eleven store, to the great consternation of the (white) community. I developed a research project on this conflict, in an effort to try and understand the nature and dynamics of the narratives that were in circulation in this community. In collaboration with student researchers, I conducted interviews with a variety of local leaders; I also read blog postings and given that the public (p.118) hearings associated to the vote on The Resolution are located on the Internet, I had access to real time data on the nature of the narratives in motion. While I was not able to access some key leaders, I was able to get a large and interesting set of data that revealed how the narratives for and against The Resolution were formulated, as well as how they were interacting with each other, in the community. As the conflict began to escalate, before Councilman John Stirrup created The Resolution,3 there was a growing concern in the community about how it was “changing.” Discussions with councilmen, again, prior to The Resolution, revealed that they were being “deluged” with calls from constituents. When I asked about the nature of these concerns, they reported that people were very concerned that their community was changing. When I pressed for details, they told mini-stories about people who had complained because their neighbors were planting corn and raising chickens in their backyards, in sharp dissonance with their own decorative garden; other complaints centered in how people were parking their cars on their front lawns instead of in their driveways. Many complaints were about houses having too many people living in them, which led to overcrowding in local schools and to excess cars parked in the streets. And other complaints were about Latino music that was too loud, and about people drinking beer on their front porch. Finally, there were calls to supervisors about the sense of loss of security and fears that locals had about their own safety— there were more reports of robberies and a general sense that people no longer knew their neighbors. The result was that the supervisors felt pressured to address the concerns of the white community. Concomitantly, a new community organization called Help Save Manassas4 emerged in support of local legislation to reduce illegal immigration and redress what was considered the negative impact of illegal immigrants on the community. Led by Greg Letiecq, the group spearheaded local meetings supporting the passage of The Resolution and engaged in local activities like “trash clean-up” and “graffiti removal” that reminded local residents that immigrants are a threat to the well-being and security of the community. For example, their website5 reports:

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Radicalized Narratives Help Save Manassas in partnership with the Clean Community Council and the county’s Litter Crew removed accumulated trash from the vacant Altmed building on Route 234 that is in close proximity to the Coverstone day laborer site this summer. The Community Action Program removed (p. 119) several truckloads of trash, including beer cans, discarded clothes, and even soiled diapers. It appears that day laborers at the nearby 7Eleven used the vacant property as a campsite and trash dump, which then encouraged a tremendous amount of gang graffiti. Here’s a look at what the site looked like before this place got cleaned up. The photo displayed on the website6 anchors their narrative that illegal immigrants are beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, graffiti-writing threats to the community. “Cleaning” is, in this context, an important moral framework that has resonance with immigration reform—getting rid of “dirt.” It is a narrative that delegitimizes immigrants in general; it supports a plot line that illegal immigrants are living in the community but outside of the law and social norms, looking for work but unable to live by local standards. In this narrative, immigrants hide out, living in the shadows of normal social life, breaking the law. The threat they pose is, in part, represented in the semiotics of the photograph. This narrative was repeatedly elaborated in public hearings where The Resolution was discussed. When The Resolution was proposed, the Council called for public hearings. In July 2007, hundreds of people showed up requesting to speak at the public hearing, and, indeed, more than 100 people did speak. Additionally, hundreds of people (largely Latino) demonstrated outside of the building where the public hearing was taking place.7 In these hearings, the narrative of the “invasion” of illegal immigrants was a dominant theme. There were narratives that described illegal immigrants as using their “anchor babies” to gain permission to stay in the United States; there were narratives that built connections between the invasion of terrorists and the invasion of illegal immigrants. Like terrorists, these immigrants intended to harm—they wanted to impose on the community their culture, their language, and their values, which, according to speakers, were in direct contrast to the traditional “Christian values” on which the locale had been historically based. One speaker described, tearfully, how her mother, who had lived and worked in the area, was now afraid to sit on her front porch in the afternoon because the house next door had been rented to a large group of Hispanics who sat on their front porch drinking beer and playing loud music. The speaker built a sharp contrast between her hardworking mother who deserved, in her old age, to relax in the security of her home and the illegal immigrants who threatened that peace and security. There were other stories from speakers who described how their families had immigrated to the United States lawfully and had worked to learn English and integrate into the culture, in contrast to these illegal Page 5 of 30

Radicalized Narratives immigrants who continued to speak Spanish and did not integrate. One speaker noted that her native tongue was Norwegian, and she could never imagine being entitled to speak her (p.120) native tongue or having to “Press one for English and two for Norwegian.” There were still other stories about the high cost of providing services to illegal immigrants, particularly English as a Second Language, and the unfairness to taxpayers required to pay for those services. One of these stories was told by a speaker who noted that Hispanics were able to earn money and buy new cars, something that she could not do because she was not able to avoid paying taxes. Some of the stories were about concerns for gang activity and increases in crime rates, attributing both to the presence of illegal immigrants. Other stories were nostalgic, talking about the changing community—the speaker contrasted the community where he had grown up with the current community, which was less secure and more “foreign”—there were signs in Spanish and special businesses that catered to the Hispanic population. Overall, most of the speakers at the hearing were in favor of The Resolution. But there were also stories from speakers who were against The Resolution. They spoke about the values of diversity and tolerance and likened The Resolution to a form of racism. Other speakers talked about their own or their family’s immigration and offered the notion that the United States should be a sanctuary for people escaping oppression or economic hardship; these speakers also noted that illegal immigrants do work and pay taxes. Another speaker noted that immigrants have defended the country through their military service and so deserved our regard. Some speakers wept while connecting their Christian values to their oposition on The Resolution, their religion being the foundation of their belief that illegal immigrants should not be “targeted.” Some speakers referred to the demonstrators outside who were afraid to come to the public hearing, noting that “rule of law” should treat all people equally and arguing that The Resolution would function as a form of racial or ethnic profiling, which was against the U.S. Constitution and the nation’s perceived values. Many of these speakers accused those who supported The Resolution of racism. This led, predictably, to efforts by subsequent speakers to refute that charge. They did so by claiming that they were not against a particular group, but were against illegality, arguing that it was the way the people came into the country and continued to break the law through their presence that was the problem. Some Hispanic people testified on behalf of the illegal immigrants, noting that they themselves were legal. It came as no surprise that no persons spoke up as illegal immigrants, describing their experience or representing the issues of or for that population. Their particular brand of suffering was not made present. Their stories went untold. They were indeed the object of the other narratives, characters who populated those stories, but they were themselves absent.

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Radicalized Narratives Although the voices of illegal immigrants were not present at the hearing, they were made present in a series of documentaries done by 9500 Liberty, a group that conducted interviews and filmed many of the local events surrounding the controversy, including, for example, interviews surrounding the construction (p. 121) of a billboard. This billboard was put up by those opposed to the immigration reform that became The Resolution. The text from this sign was: PWC (Prince William County) and Manassas County: The National Capitol of Intolerance European Americans exterminated millions of Native Americans in order to steal America. They were the first illegal aliens. European Americans have a 500 year history of rape, theft, murder, slavery, artificial borders, Jim Crow laws and deportations of Native Americans. Since then the KKK rode at night to torture, lynch and kill blacks, Native Americans and other people of color. Today the actions of PWC and Manassas City Council are similar to collaboration between local governments and the KKK in the 1900s. On 2.25.08, Manassas City Mayor Douglas S. Waldron said, “I am proud that finally we came to agreement with PWC to implement 287g….(a law) because we care about our community. What community?! 287g is an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and question Native Americans by police officers at their discretion. PWC and Manassas City persecute us with our own tax dollars because European Americans would rather have a ghost town than live among Native Americans. They ignore our voices, they ignore our civil and constitutional rights, and there is no democracy. Stop the persecution. We demand equality and justice for all. We will not be your slaves of the 21st century.8 This narrative situates immigration reform within a history of genocide and racism in the United States. Clearly, those concerned about The Resolution described it as a form of racism and contrasted it with attitudes of tolerance and support for diversity. From the AntiBVBL9 blog, which was against The Resolution: It targets EVERY immigrant that might be undocumented by asking all county employees to check immigration status. Well, who do you think will have their status checked? A white looking person with no accent? You know that’s not the case. This is why The Resolution is inherently (p.122) racist and so are the people who pushed it through. Using the law to remove and intimidate minorities IS racism.10 The sequence of events surrounding The Resolution was interesting. It was passed in July 2007, after public hearings. However, after it was passed, concern grew over how it could be implemented: Could people be denied services? Could the police enforce The Resolution without opening themselves to lawsuits? A Page 7 of 30

Radicalized Narratives study was commissioned across government services to examine costs and policy implications. When the study came back, it was clear that The Resolution, as passed, was not only going to be difficult to implement, it was going to be costly. Specifically, Police Chief Deane made a presentation to the Council that argued that it was not only too expensive, but that it would reduce the effectiveness of the police department’s community policing efforts.11 As a result of these studies, The Resolution was amended in spring of 2008; the amended form reinstated “probable cause” and ensured that police checked the immigration status only of those who were arrested for a crime. I interviewed Chief Deane about his role in the evolution of The Resolution. He described that he was responsible for the safety and security of the entire community, regardless of their immigration status. And it was often the case that illegal immigrants were the victims of crimes—criminals knew who to target, who would be carrying cash rather than credit cards, who would be less likely to report crimes. To ensure that the Hispanic community understood the amended Resolution, and to ensure his community policing programs remained effective, Chief Deane began an outreach program to local churches, Spanish-language media, and other venues where he knew he could reach Hispanic populations. He told me that his purpose was to reduce the fear that immigrants had about being deported; he thought that education and awareness about the law, coupled with his description of how the police would implement it, would promote continued good relations between the police and the community. He was particularly concerned that a deterioration of that relation would decrease his community’s crime reporting, which would make segments of the population, such as women and children, more vulnerable to violence. It was an incredible irony to me that the person I thought would be most in favor of apprehending and arresting illegal immigrants was the most thoughtful, careful, and engaged member of the government.12 Although councilmen who were in favor of The Resolution were outraged by the Chief’s public position, he was professional and substantive in his responses, noting that his job was (p. 123) to promote the security of all people in the county. At another level, it makes perfect sense that it was the police chief who advocated law enforcement that required a broader view of the law-in-action, not just the law on the books. The Resolution is interesting as a case study because it became a bellwether for immigration debates across the United States in which the same kinds of stories, pro–immigration policy reform and antireform, circulated in communities. And, indeed, The Resolution became a framework that led to “copycat” legislative bills across many states. To date, three states (Arizona, Georgia, and Utah) have passed immigration reform legislation; The Resolution from Prince William County is widely acknowledged to have provided the blueprint on which these reforms are based.13 All three of these states have had their new immigration laws challenged in court. Sections of Arizona’s SB 1070 were blocked by a Page 8 of 30

Radicalized Narratives District Court; the governor has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. In Utah, the law was blocked by a federal judge who found it unconstitutional. In Georgia, HB 87 finally took effect December 2012, after being challenged in court, as was the bill in Utah fourteen hours after passage. Across the country, twenty-four states have proposed copycat legislation and have had those bills rejected. Although it is clearly the case that since 2008 the U.S. recession has played a role in the emergence of anti-immigrant legislation, it is also the case that The Resolution has played a critically important role in framing the issues, in anchoring the narrative that illegal immigration needs to be regulated.14 The point, not to lose it here in the midst of these interesting details, is that The Resolution-as-narrative was replicated across contexts within the United States.15 This brand of Othering, this story about the dirty and dangerous Other, is a narrative that has also captured discourse in Europe. In the context of the Netherlands, the Other is the Moroccan youth, who may contribute to local crime, but could also become terrorists. Since the assassination of the film director Theo van Gogh by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim in 2004 because of van Gogh’s criticism of the treatment of women in Islam, the Dutch government has worked to “integrate” immigrants into Dutch life, passing legislation that requires all immigrants to learn Dutch and to take a course on “Dutch values.” Through (p.124) integration, the government hopes to ensure the continuation of Dutch (white and Christian) culture—assimilation is the goal.16 Additionally, there have been many other signs of antipathy for immigrants, as, for example, restrictions that forbid the wearing of the hijab in public schools.17 In short, immigration reforms in the United States, as well as many of the reform legislations in Europe, actually contribute, paradoxically, to curtail the integration of the immigrant into the host country and increase the “us” versus “them” discourse. It is this discourse that I want to explore, using Arendt’s notion of “radical evil.” Furthermore, I want to do this in support of a central claim, namely, that some narratives function to generate conflict. But this formulation appears to be more benign than it really is as, in fact, some narratives deny the existence of the other. Those narratives shut down the public sphere altogether and, in so doing, reduce the quality, if not the viability of democracy itself. It is this link between deliberation, democracy, and narrative that I will explore, tracing the nature of narratives that reduce our collective capacity to talk with each other in a manner that would, over time, reduce marginalization and increase learning.

Radicalized Narratives Public spaces are sacred spaces, not because they are sites for religious ritual, but because they are places in which the public “imagines” together and makes meaning together. Public spaces are intersubjective, as Lara (2007), drawing on Kant (2009), has noted; but it is not just that people make sense together, as in Page 9 of 30

Radicalized Narratives communitas, but that they do so in a manner that allows them to know themselves anew, morally. From this perspective, the public sphere is critical to what Habermas (2001), cited in Fine (2006), has called “learning from catastrophe”: Learning from catastrophe means confronting the fact that the twentieth century “generated more victims, more dead soldiers, more murdered civilians, more displaced minorities, more torture, more dead from cold, from hunger, from maltreatment, more political prisoners and refugees, than could ever have been imagined.” (Habermas, 2001, p. 45, cited in Fine, 2006, p. 50) The temporal landscape of such a project is vast—the Holocaust overshadows all violence, but the genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, and Rwanda, as (p. 125) well as Stalin’s purges and South Africa’s apartheid, are all particular examples of violence that should be met with attention to context and a focus on specifics and locales; the victims of all of this violence should not be lumped into one category—they are different, they are singular. When considering learning from catastrophe it is important to do so in specific contexts, over specific acts of violence, toward the emergence of moral judgments within a given population. From this perspective the “public” is never generic, but always specific, local, and the “public sphere” in which the public imagines itself anew, where it learns, is always particular. It is not a generic group (such as the youth involved in the Arab Spring of 2011, for these protesters spanned many countries, each with its own history and forms of violence and violation). Just as we would not lump all victims under the same category, which would effectively reduce their particularity and inevitably their humanity, we would not presume that the public sphere is generic either. Catastrophes are particular. This is critically important to the creation of what Maria Pia Lara (2007), drawing on Kant, has called “reflective judgments”; in contrast to injustice, Lara argues that reflective judgments constitute the framework in which morality itself emerges, one that can assess moral, as opposed to legal, wrongs: …human cruelty needs an autonomous sphere of morality. The moral filter then makes it possible for us to interpret what is at stake when we find a connection between a specific violation for the integrity of a human being and a powerful way of describing it through disclosive (i.e. expressive) means. These I call “reflective judgments.” (Lara, 2007, p. 10) We can imagine many contexts in which reflective judgments in the public sphere can lead to learning which, in turn, improves policy. Thus, this process is not only useful in helping communities return from violence. Precisely because moral judgments are foundational to any public policy, they are a critically

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Radicalized Narratives important component to its formation—we should not, in my view, create legislation or public policy that is not based on moral judgments. It is evident that some policy is based on pragmatic solutions to social problems, as though the “harm” being redressed by the policy is only practical and without a moral dimension. But this is never the case—all practical problems have a moral dimension (Dewey, 1992)—that is, they function as a story about the damage done to persons, either as individuals or as members of a group. A policy is a remedy to a problem narrative, to the extent that problems are often either associated with the presence of a marginalized population (single-parent mothers, for example) or formulated as caused by a marginalized population (gangs or immigrants, for example). Here it is pertinent to recall Althusser’s (1984) concept of “interpellation,” which refers to the way in which subjects of state power are constituted as such in and through ideology that “calls” to (p. 126) subjects and, as they respond, they effectively function to recognize their role as ideological subjects. Similarly, policy narratives constitute the subjectivity of those who are the object of the policy. However, as in the Prince William County case, those who are the object of the policy, particularly when they are framed as the cause of the problem, become the kind of juridical subjects that, as Arendt notes, constitute the first step toward their dehumanization, a first and necessary step toward their annihilation. This first step functions to deny not only citizenship or juridical legitimacy (legitimacy in terms of legality or legal standing), but also what Arendt refers to as “natality”—the fact that people are born, or that their life begins with birth (Arendt, 1998). She embraces natality as a foundation for the human condition and uses this idea as a foundation for her critique of the state as a location for rights, for politics; neither a set of man-made rights nor the political apparatus of a state can be the foundation for that which constitutes humanness. Presuming that natality, the facticity of birth is the foundation for freedom, Arendt embraces the singularity, the particular, as the location for that freedom. Each person, singularly, is born and does not need to be part of a group or a state to be entitled to freedom; this entitlement accompanies and arises naturally from birth itself. For Arendt, we need little other than the biological fact of birth to ground life as sacred and worthy of life. Vatter (2006) notes that Arendt was clearly moving toward creating protections for individuals-asindividual, from the state itself. For indeed, after World War II, it was clear that a state could become totalitarian and deny rights, and life, to its subjects. From this perspective, Arendt worked to create the ground for life for individuals, and she was wise, in my view, to tie it to the permanently undeniable fact of birth itself. There is a permanence to birth; its fact remains present in the being of the living person. And, as long as that person lives, he or she is entitled to freedom, to create plans, to initiate, to respond in his or her own particular way to his or

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Radicalized Narratives her life conditions. This is the quintessential condition for agency itself; Arendt founds agency on natality. Vatter (2006) describes three features of Arendt’s view of freedom that have import for understanding her theory of natality. First, freedom is “worldly and not private” (p. 154 of the internet paper). In this sense, freedom is not an individual attribute, but something that pertains to the capacity for action in the world. So, it is less about the inert or kinetic potential of an individual and more about acting on the world, engaging it. Second, freedom is conditioned on natality: If freedom were unconditioned…, [or ubiquitous and permanent], it would be the freedom of humanity, but never the freedom of human beings, of singulars. (Vatter, 2006, p. 155) Arendt was working to ensure that freedom, like natality, is located with the singular person and is not an abstraction attributed to generic people or humankind. (p.127) In this way, as Vatter notes, she sets herself apart from both Aristotle, who based his concept of freedom on a concept of “human nature,” and from Kant’s idea of “human dignity.” Both of these are generic artifacts of being human and are thus, in some terribly fateful way, able to be severed from the singular individual through a totalitarian process. Third, freedom, which is conditioned on natality, arises from divine creation; this does not imply that God controls the conditions for freedom, thus effectively undermining it, but rather that divinity sets in motion the act (natality) that in turn makes freedom possible. Natality, the condition of human freedom, is itself conditioned by an act of divine creation. But does this mean that freedom comes to life from a sphere that lies outside of biological life itself?…God completes His creation and withdraws His providence from life precisely at the threshold constituted by the possibility of a free life. (Vatter, 2006, pp. 146–147) Natality, as the condition for freedom, can be used as a foundation for defining, as Lara (2007) notes, for making moral judgments about policy and about politics in general. That which promotes natality, the singular and particular person-ness that is the well-spring of freedom, is life-affirming. That which destroys or harms natality is evil. Following Arendt, we can use natality as a framework for differentiating good from evil and, in the process, define “radical evil” as that which destroys or undermines natality. Arendt connects the affirmation of natality with that which reduces (the tendency toward) totalitarianism. Given that Arendt explicitly builds the connection between the well-being of the public sphere, the public space for speaking and deliberation as the antithesis to totalitarianism, then that which promotes the well-being of the public sphere and ensures its vitality also is Page 12 of 30

Radicalized Narratives aligned with and supports natality. Perhaps reaching beyond her own writing, but following her logic, the public sphere is the space for enacting freedom, to thrust oneself, as an individual, into public discourse, into discourse with others. Speaking can thus be seen as the materialization of freedom. Although one could argue that some public spaces are more public than others, the issue is not the size or the transparency of the public, but the capacity of people to speak and be heard (Rancière, 1999). From this perspective, the quality of deliberation depends less on the size of the deliberative group, or even the outcome, and is more related to whether a speaker is treated as though she has a voice—that her speaking is elaborated, even if it is contested.18 While “we” Westerners certainly believe that it (p.128) is critically important to speak (spill) the stories about victimization, to ward off pathology, and to forestall trauma and promote “healing,” storytelling in the absence of elaboration, as an individual rather than interactive process, does not enable speakers to materialize their natality. As Habermas (1984) has noted, the quality of the deliberative space is best assessed not in terms of outcomes, but in terms of its emancipatory quality, or the way in which the speaking itself can open up learning and new relationships, unhinging the existing power network and relations.19 In this sense, the emancipation from an existing way of speaking or interacting is mimetic to the emancipation of people from relations in which they are marginalized. However, different from Habermas,20 who argues that emancipation is a function of producing the ideal speech situation, Rancière conceptualizes speaking and being heard as the condition of politics, of being human. Like Arendt, Rancière defines being human because we are born, and the fact of birth is enacted in speaking and being heard. Note that this manifestation of being human is not just speaking or being heard; it involves a process of what Rancière calls “subjectification,” which he differentiates from “identification,” as Biesta (2010) notes: Identification is about taking up an existing identity, that is, a way of being and speaking and of being identifiable and visible that is already possible within the existing order—or, to use Rancière’s phrases, within the existing “perceptual field” or “sensible world” (PHP, 226). Subjectification, on the other hand, is always “disidentification, removal from the naturalness of a place” (OSP, 36). (Biesta, 2010, pp. 46–47)21 Using this lens, we can see that, in many public speaking spaces, it is identification, not subjectification, that is taking place, in that people are reproducing, through their speech, the Self that is known to themselves and to Others within (p.129) a discourse, or as Rancière calls it, a “distribution of sensibility” that is not only recognizable but is part of the existing (police) order.

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Radicalized Narratives What he calls “police” is the management of human passions and the building of types of society and modes of life: it produces consensus. Politics is a dissensual form of human action, the way by which some people try to be heard even if (actually, precisely because) they have no legitimacy for speaking. Police is in charge of the social configuration of what is called the partage du sensible: the French partage can have two almost opposite meanings, the first is “to share, to have in common,” the second, “to divide, to share out.” The affirmation of something in common is at the same time the repartition of authorized positions. Configuring consensus implies also figuring social perspectives (hierarchies). Police, as power practices and social life styles, builds inequalities, but such a construction must appear natural. Politics is a precarious momentum when a few illegitimate people affirm their fundamental equality with others. (Mechoulan, 2004, pp. 3–4) There is little chance, within the police order, to be heard, as speech itself is simply part of the fabric of this existing set of relations. However, it is possible for something that is dissonant or disruptive to that order to emerge through speech and, in this process, people—and the world—are made anew through speech. This requires a new “distribution of the sensible” (Rancière, 2010), and it is coterminous with politics, as he defines it. Politics are moments or episodes when the contradiction within the given order can appear, where the marginal can make their marginality visible, thus exposing the way the police order both advocates equality and generates inequality. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is clearly an example of that—this was a political moment in which the inequality that was normalized by the existing order was shown in sharp contradiction to the values espoused by that same order. Within Rancière’s framework, we can see that many deliberative processes, as currently practiced, reproduce identification and the police order. Even conflict resolution processes intended to generate win/win outcomes or consensus are, from this perspective, reenactments of the existing distribution of sensibility or ways of making sense, a given “aesthetic,” as Rancière calls it. Within the police order, natality or the particular experience cannot emerge because discussions are most often about general categories (“mankind”) rather than about the specifics of a given kind of suffering, from a given locale, told by a person who has not been able to be a subject, not in Althusser’s sense, as captured and disappeared by ideology, but in Arendt’s sense, as in the visibility of natality. Materializing natality is the function of the public sphere; problem-solving and legislating are typically reproductive of the existing order, delimiting the (p. 130) discursive field and the existing library of narrative resources. This is not a library in the sense of an archive of all the possible narratives that have been used, that could be used; rather, it is a database of the network of narratives Page 14 of 30

Radicalized Narratives that could be mobilized within a given aesthetic for the description of suffering. The more complex the narrative resources, the more potential for materializing natality. However, when the public sphere is legislated, or restricted by formats which exclude reflective judgements, the narrative resources are reduced, as is the possibility of materializing natality. Tying back to Lara, the public sphere is a place in which the history of a given suffering is made present, available, for the public. This is in keeping with Girard’s (1977) discussion of the victim as the location for the emergence of law and community; gathering around (the body of) the victim, drawn mimetically to the site of violence, the public, as witnesses, struggle to make sense of what happened. This can be seen as essentially a narrative process in which speakers create the moral frameworks for making sense of right and wrong. They make moral judgments. Lara (2007) has noted that determinant judgments, the categorical kind described by Kant, function to obviate the presence of reflective judgments that create new moral frameworks via the use of “disclosive” language, “shocking us into new meanings and stimulate us to reorient us to new thinking” (p. 10). She notes that “certain narratives can disclose hidden dimensions about the cruelty between humans,”—the public sphere does not bother to make moral judgments of events unrelated to human action.22 If the public sphere is indeed the location for stories of suffering, a place where the work of the public is to make the kinds of moral judgments (reflective judgments) that open up a new aesthetic, a new sensibility within which a new kind of suffering can and does appear, then the question is how to do that in a manner that does not simply reproduce the police order. The question before us, in terms of the practice of conflict resolution, is how we can design processes that can generate a new set of narratives that can, in and of themselves, expose the “contradiction” of inequality that Rancière describes, namely that the system advocates and celebrates equality while generating, and ignoring, inequality; for this to occur, new meaning has to emerge. How would we, as participant observers differentiate those speaking moments in which something new emerges from those in which it does not? Drawing on the contributions discussed in the previous paragraphs, I argue that we can differentiate these spaces on the basis of the nature of the narratives that populate those spaces and how they are picked up and elaborated. I suggest (p.131) that radicalized narratives reduce the possibility for reflective judgments and obviate the possibility of a political moment; although this frame does not describe the narrative conditions (process and content) that could generate subjectification or reflective judgments, it does create a theoretical link between the nature of narrative and the critical dynamics in the public sphere. This frame, radicalized narratives, is intended to provide a normative foundation Page 15 of 30

Radicalized Narratives of making moral judgments about narratives themselves; by implication, in subsequent chapters, I will offer an affirmative framework for narrative ethics, one that will allow us to differentiate narratives that enact reflective judgment from those that contribute to the instantiation and growth of “police.” It is this latter condition that I explore in the notion of radicalized narrative, instanciated by the immigration debate in Prince William County, Virginia. The pro-Resolution narratives functioned to close off reflective judgment and, in the process, hijack language. In the public hearings, the pro-Resolution narratives had several characteristics that contributed to reduce reflective judgment: first, the plots of these pro-Resolution narratives were interesting in that there was in all cases a negative outcome (high cost of services for the illegals, which reduced services for legitimate citizens; higher crime rates; gang violence; overcrowded housing; “Press two for Spanish”; high costs associated to English as a Second Language programs in the schools, reducing resources for other children; changing culture in the community; day-laborers loitering and throwing garbage, etc.). These negative narrative outcomes were tied back to causal sequences in which the “illegals” (easily broadened to “Hispanics”) were responsible for the harm. In some cases, they were attributed bad intention and in some cases bad traits. As Flores (2003) has described, Hispanic migrant workers have often been described as animals, mindless and dirty. So, even when they were not attributed bad intention, they were seen as having characteristics that made them uncivilized. The first characteristic of radicalized narratives is that these stories advance a description of a negative outcome and then locate responsibility for that outcome in the intentions or generic characteristics of the targeted group. Second, the description of the Hispanic people was never about a particular person, but about a generic category of person. They were dirty and dangerous and already living outside of the law (“illegals”). In fact, The Resolution was a legislative tool that could ensure that the juridical status of these people could in fact be established as beyond the law. No longer could they hide in and among the regular populace. The Resolution was an effort to ensure a special juridical category constituted them as “outsiders.” Radicalized narrative itself is tied to the construction of a juridical category that establishes the legality of a group’s exclusion. In this case, The Resolution gave the police authority to circumvent “probable cause,” which effectively allowed them to question the immigration status of anyone at anytime. The radicalized narrative thus provided the rationale for the construction of exclusion. (p.132) This, in turn, fit the disclosive, expressive language of “invasion,” as it appeared in that debate. Complicating Lara’s claim that disclosive language can foster reflective judgments by creating new frames and metaphors for experience, it can also be used to accelerate radicalization. In this case, “invasion” became a storyline, a shorthand, for describing immigration itself. Page 16 of 30

Radicalized Narratives This language not only erases the distinction between immigrants who come to the United States legally and those who come illegally, but invokes the security of the nation: Those who enter (legally or otherwise,) who would change our culture or damage our society, need to be stopped. Through “invasion, the narrative of illegal immigration becomes also one about the legality and right of a nation-state to defend itself from outsiders. This twinning, this two-sided meaning, closed any space in which immigration could be explored in terms of the benefits of multiculturalism. Even though some speakers juxtaposed the “invasion” narrative with the “multiculturalism” narrative, this was not picked up nor elaborated by the “invasion” speakers. Third, these narratives are not often frontally contested by those who would be excluded. In addition to multiple possible historic contexts, from the internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor to most of the Jewsih population under the Nazi regime, this was certainly the case in Prince William County. The Hispanic community put up the “Freedom Wall” (a billboard), and demonstrated in front of the public hearings building, but the fact that they remained physically outside of the edifice was and is evidence that they were already excluded, or at least so experienced themselves. As I mentioned earlier, there were no “illegals” speaking at the public hearing. Those who were the object of exclusion, did not, could not, participate in the public discourse. Their voice, their stories, their suffering, were absent; even the anti-Resolution narratives did little to present the natality of those who were excluded. Some people told stories about how the immigrant population was itself struggling to make ends meet, to send money home, to raise their children in a place where those children would have more opportunity. But these were stories about the “illegals” and, as such, there was a distance made possible between the experience of the immigrants who did not have legal status to be in the country and the experience of the population in the room at the hearing. The suffering of these immigrants was not present, was not made real, it did not materialize. They remained a category of people (“illegals”), while the specificity of their pain was absent. Fourth, the moral judgments that formed the foundation of the stories told in the public hearings were in no way reflective; the construction of Self, by speakers, was such that they positively positioned themselves. There was no question, no interrogation by speakers of any issues in their own logic, any deficit of knowledge or experience. And, in fact, they predictably resisted any description of themselves as racists. In their own discourse, they were innocent, acting within the law and reasonable, in addition to being moral (wanting to preserve and conserve their community; consider, for instance, the group’s name: “Help (p.133) Save Manassas”). So, the construction of Self was not only positive, and it was reinforced by the “legality” that was attributed to Self.

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Radicalized Narratives Fifth, and finally, the narratives told by pro-Resolution were legitimized and unquestioned precisely because they emerged, in the context of the public hearing, as “the voice of the people.” In other words, the institutional practice of deliberation itself legitimized the existing distribution of sensibility and authorized, quite literally, the police state. Ironically, it was democracy-as-usual that prevented these narratives from themselves becoming the objects of interrogation. Democracy, from this perspective, can appear to be a free-for-all in which public opinions can be diverse and freedom of speech is foundational, but it also authorizes the presence of narratives that delegitimize and exclude Others. As MacKinnon (1994) notes, “free speech” is more complicated than we think. In Prince William County, democracy and law join forces to legitimize radicalized narratives. I have described the characteristics of the content of radicalized narratives, but they also have distinctive processual features. First, they engender a “pile-on.” More than a hundred people spoke at this public hearing, and most of these stories were versions of the “invasion” narrative—“these people have come from outside and threaten the integrity of ‘our’ way of life.” The “our” stood for the nation, as well as the local community, and, in this process, the particularity of the community itself was obliterated. This “invasion” narrative was infectious, and indeed it was not only picked up by many in the public hearing, but also picked up across many of the states that later created copy-cat legislation. It is a story that not only authorizes itself, justifying itself through a description of the invasion, generating the conditions for its own closure, but it works on the basis of what Lara calls ‘determinant judgments’ that rely on formal rules and principles, established extant to those that are suffering in a situation. When speakers make determinant judgments they never call into question their incomplete or erroneous knowledge or experience; so these judgements protect speakers from reflection and, in the process, imperfection. It is comfortable, easy, and affirming to tell a radicalized narrative; it feels good, as we all know. Second, the social momentum of a radicalized narrative, its adoption and circulation, censures Others who would challenge it or speak differently about the issues. In the community, and indeed in the nation today, efforts to advocate for undocumented immigrants (note the shift in language) boomerang back to disqualify the speaker: What kind of person advocates for “illegality”? In this boomerang, the speaker is excluded, marked as dangerous or immoral. As the juridical process for excluding the Others gains momentum, speaking against it can become dangerous, socially and legally. Third, the dynamics of interaction of radicalized narratives simplify the narrative and solidify the determinant judgments in the public discourse. As Coleman et al. (2007) have noted, the dynamics center around “attractors” and, (p.134) in Page 18 of 30

Radicalized Narratives the case of radicalized narratives, these attractors become the disclosive language that marks the Other for exclusion (“illegal,” “criminal”) and the problem (“invasion”) as in need of corrective action. As these attractors become ever more central and singular, they reduce the possibility of alternative meanings, which then authorizes these attractors even further, and so on. Radicalized narratives are not static; they gain strength, like a narrative hurricane, and wipe out alternatives to themselves as they go. Although it is the case that there are legal challenges (alternative narratives) in each of the states where copy-cat legislation has been passed, it remains to be seen whether these legal arguments will provide the foundation for alternative stories that could challenge or transform the radicalized narratives already so dominant. To summarize, radicalized narratives (think of McCarthyism) are pernicious; they authorize the expulsion of a given population who, given the way they are constituted in those narratives, are not only legally excluded but also expelled from the speaking places that are, in turn, the only spaces in which they could present themselves as human beings. Although one could argue that the courts are spaces in which alternatives could be told, the way narratives are developed in courts often perpetuates the attractors that are dominant in the radicalized narratives. And law itself is violent and not a space for reflective judgments (Minow, Ryan, and Sarat, 1992). The violence of radicalized narratives is not only done to those who are expelled, but it is also a terrible violence to the public sphere, to the space in which deliberation is supposed to lead to learning, to reflection, to the materialization of natality. From this perspective, radicalized narratives are aptly named. Drawing on Arendt’s notion of “radical evil,” these narratives destroy the public sphere, reduce the possibility of reflective judgments, and harness disclosive language to the emergence of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism and radicalized narratives are intertwined: the state’s expulsion and annihilation of Others depends on stories about who the expelled are and why they must be (legally or physically) annihilated. These narratives are destructive of the public space in which alternatives could appear. This destruction, as I have pointed out, is right before our faces; it is part of daily life, woven into the micro-practices that materialize “sovereign power” (Agamben, 1998). But, this power relies on a fine web of customary conventions, reciprocal obligations and the like— in a word, a moral economy whose complexity and scope far exceeds the extravagant displays of the sovereign. Sovereign power is at one and the same time an element in this moral economy and an attempt to master it. (Rabinow and Rose, 2006, p. 202) And, in a democracy, policing (a la Rancière) this moral economy, although certainly affected through micro-procedures and micro-practice, is largely accomplished through the narratives that uphold and “police” the social and (p. Page 19 of 30

Radicalized Narratives 135) deliberative spaces whence new narratives could emerge. This view of power deaccents the role of the state and highlights instead the role of “storylines” (Hajer, 1995) that lay down the footpaths of sense making within and across communities. These storylines not only create and legitimize institutional processes and practices that are critical to the workings of this moral economy, but also police the narrative space itself, ensuring that alternative meanings are absorbed, refuted, or simply never show up. I have argued in earlier chapters that this is “business as usual” for narrative. It polices the space of meaning; it operates to maintain its closure. However, in the context of this discussion on radicalized narratives, I am suggesting that these narratives create the “state of exception” that accelerates sovereign power by shutting down the public sphere. This is done not by abridging freedom of speech, but paradoxically by using the public sphere to create the conditions for the expulsion of the Other. Since 9/11, the radicalized narrative as a genre has become widespread; the events of and reaction to 9/11 exemplify the characteristics and dynamics of a radicalized narrative. First, the Other is characterized in a manner that is singular, drawing on generic intentions or traits (“dangerous” and “radical”). There is a plot line that terminates in a negative outcome (death from terrorists or destruction of our way of life), and the terrorists are responsible for this negative outcome. Second, there is a juridical category (“terrorist”) created and authorized in and by this narrative that excludes them even from the law itself (i.e., the suspension or habeas corpus or the use of torture for interrogation). Third, there are no stories of suffering that materialize the natality of the Other; what stories do leak out of Guantanamo Bay are often framed in the media as lies. We know little of these people, having already imagined them in the generic way that Arendt associates with totalitarianism. Bin Laden’s death only consolidated this narrative by celebrating his permanent “exclusion” from life; there were few challenges to the legitimacy of his murder that could have arisen from the details of his life, his family, his home. All of these details were harnessed back to the radicalized narrative—he was “hiding” because he knew he was a “wanted man”—wanted for murder. The U.S. government used its sovereign power to murder him. Again, he was beyond the law itself. Fourth, the speakers who tell this story position themselves as legitimate and moral. The U.S. intelligence community defines itself as “protecting” Americans, preserving freedom, and justified by a “long” (and irregular) war on terror. There is little space for reflective judgments, for learning, for growth. The fact that the Obama administration was not able, even though it tried, to shut down Guantanamo Bay is evidence of the banishment of reflective judgment; the deliberative space is totally hijacked in service to the narrative of the evil Other—it is impossible to make reflective judgments without becoming oneself an object of derision and expulsion. The recent Supreme Court decision on Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project makes it a criminal offense to provide any aid to a foreign terrorist Page 20 of 30

Radicalized Narratives organization (FTO)…and this includes, (p.136) for instance, human rights training! Thus, conversations with Others are forbidden; in addition, developing their natality, stories of their suffering, would generate the exclusion of any speaker who told this story. The political moment (a la Rancière) that could alter the distribution of sensibility or the aesthetic surrounding terrorism is not possible—speakers would be delegitimized. And, as such, the quality of our public sphere is damaged, diminished—totalitarianism threatens. It is a final irony, too terrible to imagine, that the construction of “radical” is itself a radicalizing and radicalized narrative that functions, as Arendt prophesied, to cause more damage to the storyteller and his world than to the Other who is being expelled in that story. The narratives that surround terrorism are clearly excellent examples of radicalized narratives—they have not only cost many lives, but they have damaged our collective capacity to imagine the Other and, in the process, ourselves as human beings. It is not only the excluded Other’s natality that is banished, it is our own as well. However, there is an alternative, one that is suggested by the inclusion of the Other.

Recovering Natality in the Public Sphere: The Role of the Perpetrator Human rights, as a discourse, provides a foundation for constructing excluded Others as human beings and, as such, invested with rights that cannot be denied or abridged (Drinan, 1999; Glendon, 1999). In fact, conflict resolution is often understood as the return of human rights (Bell, 2000; Kaufman and Bisharat, 2002), as a foundation for sustainable social and legal relations between warring or conflicting groups. Although this may indeed support the development of the natality of victims, it does the opposite for perpetrators—they are expelled in and through the narratives of suffering that they cause for victims. In fact, “truth and reconciliation” is founded on the notion that relationships can improve only after we are able to name the nature of the victimization and the specific crimes of the perpetrators. From this perspective, we trade one expulsion for another—as we expel those that have expelled/harmed Other, we expel the victimizers. Using a narrative lens, there is no way to tell a story about the crimes of a perpetrator and the suffering it caused to his victims23 without delegitimizing the perpetrator unless we excuse, justify, or deny the violence itself. While many, such as Eichmann, Pinochet, Kony, and Bashir have certainly done this, in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), admission of guilt (p.137) was a precondition for participation; and perpetrators were framed by their victims and the general public as immoral. One of those indicted by that Commission, Jeffrey Benzien, testified that he had tortured and killed people,24 and at one point he got up from the chair where he was responding to questions and got down on the floor to demonstrate to the Commision his technique for water boarding. He explained where he sat and how he did it. It was horrible to see and yet he expressed no sorrow or other Page 21 of 30

Radicalized Narratives human response to his own inhuman treatment of others. But rather than presume that he was inhuman and incapable of these feelings, it is possible that the context was one in which he was not invited to account for his actions, to explore his feelings (although he does say that “if” he caused anyone pain, he regrets it); he does not engage in any reflective judgments. One could see that people who are accused but not convicted of crimes would not make reflective judgments because it would constitute an admission of guilt. But, in the TRC, Benzien had already documented the violence he had done. The absence of any reflective judgments on his part is more a reflection on the speaking context and the nature of the questions that were asked of him. The questions asked of him were factual in nature. There were no requests for reflective judgments. Elsewhere (Cobb and Wasunna, 2000), I have argued that it is critically important to transitional justice to create speaking contexts in which perpetrators can engage in reflection and generate reflective judgments or new moral frameworks for assessing their own actions. Perpetrators are the location of information about the emergence of a culture of violence; they could, should they be asked, describe when and how they noticed the institutionalization of violence: When did the “rules” change so that it was acceptable, and even expected, to be brutally violent toward others? Was there ever a time when these rules were at odds, even for a moment, with their own moral codes? Where did they learn this code—who had the most influence over them? What would this influential person say to learn now of how that moral code was transgressed? What was the first sign to him (the perpetrator) that he had transgressed his own code? Did he talk to anyone about these moral misgivings? Did he “forget” his own moral code altogether and, if so, what contributed to help him in this process? Did he lie to his loved ones about his actions? Did he discuss with others at his “job” any moral issues? Did anyone else express moral misgivings? What happened to people who did discuss their misgivings? Eventually, the perpetrator became able to commit terrible acts of brutality. How does he say he got to that point, where he was able to do that, and what helped him get there? Was there a point at which he could have “gotten out” and, if so, why did he not make a move to do so? What would he tell his grandmother and his children about what he did? What lessons would he like his children to learn from his own experience? (p.138) Although it would be important to not presume that these reflective judgments would in any way enable perpetrators to escape guilt or mitigate against their punishment, answers to those questions would thicken the collective understanding about the emergence of the culture of violence—where it came from, how it developed, and how it was able to suppress the natural humanity of people. The perspective of those perpetrators, from the front lines as it were, provides invaluable information about how totalitarianism triumphed.

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Radicalized Narratives These questions, as one can see, are more complicated than simply asking perpetrators to “share their feelings”—indeed this project of tracing the etiology of violence is much more complicated than simply including the perpetrator’s emotions. These questions call for relational knowledge (Leary, 2004; Smith, 2008), which addresses questions about the nature of relationships and how they function. Because we locate evil at/with perpetrators, we equate their guilt with our knowledge of the violence. However, these are two different things—we can ensure that the violence is known in and through the testimony that provides the foundation for a guilty verdict in a court. But that testimony is about the facticity of the crimes and does not include relational knowledge or reflective judgments. And we still do not know “how it could have happened.” We punish the guilty and presume that violence can be explained through the presence of evil people and that we are protected from totalitarianism in and through their conviction. But we are not. We still do not know how the culture of violence was developed and how it became its own justification for more violence. Totalitarianism grows in and through radicalized narratives or stories about the Others and about the situations that call for their violent expulsion. Ironically, it is the perpetrators who could redeem us by helping trace the emergence of the rules and micro-processes that enabled them to commit or participate in brutality. In either case, they are elaborating a radicalized narrative—where it came from, how it grew, and the rules that generated its closure and legitimacy would indeed enable us to look into the face of evil and know it, not as a person, for indeed that is simply trading one expulsion for another, but as a set of stories that together justified violence. Without reflective, as opposed to simply determinant, judgments, we leave ourselves, collectively, open to yet another round of violence. For, indeed, the only thing that can destabilize a radicalized narrative is reflective judgments that would explore its consequences on perpetrators and victims alike. Although it is nonetheless imperative to hold onto the distinction between perpetrators and victims and not succumb to any argument to equate the two (such as “perpetrators are victims too”), we can distinguish between different kinds of victims—for, indeed, they are not all the same—as well as different kinds of perpetrators, as Borer (2003) has suggested. And, in this process, we would recuperate the public sphere: it could become again a place in which reflective judgments could be made. And, if there is any natality that must be recovered in the public discourse, it is in the stories of the particular (p.139) nature of the suffering of all “categories” of people, victims and perpetrators alike. Indeed, de-radicalizing narratives would ensure that the tidy categories of “us” and “them” fall away while still retaining punishment to the perpetrators. This could be the stake through the heart of totalitarianism, and would remake society anew.

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Radicalized Narratives Bibliography Bibliography references: Agamben, G. 1998. Homo Sacer. Meridian. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Althusser, L. 1984. Essays on Ideology. London: Verso. Arendt, H. 1969. “A Special Supplement: Reflections on Violence.” The New York Review of Books, (February 27 Issue). http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/ 1969/feb/27/a-special-supplement-reflections-on-violence/?pagination=false. Arendt, H. 1970. On Violence. New York: Harcourt. Arendt, H. 1998. The Human Condition. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bell, C. 2000. Peace Agreements and Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press. Biesta, G. 2010. “A New Logic of Emancipation: The Methodology of Jacques Rancière.” Educational Theory 60 (1): 39–59. Borer, Tristan A. 2003. “A Taxonomy of Victims and Perpetrators: Human Rights and Reconciliation in South Africa.” Human Rights Quarterly 25 (4): 1088–1116. Button, M., and K. Mattson. 1999. “Deliberative Democracy in Practice: Challenges and Prospects for Civic Deliberation.” Polity 31 (4): 609–637. Carpenter, R. C. 2002. “Review: Gender Theory in World Politics: Contributions of a Nonfeminist Standpoint?” International Studies Review 4 (3) (October 1): 153–165. Cobb, S., and A. Wassuna. 2000. “Humanizing Human Rights: Transitional Justice as Moral Discussion.” Presented to Law & Society Annual Association Meeting. Miami, Florida. Cobb, S., D. Laws, and S. Sluzki. Forthcoming 2013. “Modelling Negotiation Using ‘Narrative Grammar:’ Exploring the Evolution of Meaning in a Simulated Negotiation.” Group Decision and Negotiation. Cohen, J. (1997). “Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy.” In J. Bohman and W. Rehg, ed. Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reason and Politics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp.67–92. Coleman, P. T. R. Vallacher, A. Nowak, and L. Bui-Wrzosinska,.2007. “Intractable Conflict as an Attractor: Presenting a Dynamical Model of Conflict, Escalation, and Intractability.” American Behavioral Scientist 50 (11): 1454–1475. Page 24 of 30

Radicalized Narratives Deitelhoff, N., and H. Müller. 2005. “Theoretical Paradise—Empirically Lost? Arguing with Habermas.” Review of International Studies 31 (01): 167–179. Dewey, J. 1992. Theory of the Moral Life. New York: Irvington. Drinan, R. F. 1999. “Human Rights: The World’s Moral Bond in the Next Century.” Ohio Northern University Law Review 25 (3): 321–330. Esposito, J. L. and F. Burgat. 2003. Modernizing Islam: religion in the public sphere in the Middle East and Europe. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Fine, R. 2006. “Cosmopolitanism and Violence: Difficulties of Judgment.” The British Journal of Sociology 57 (1): 49–67. Flores, L. A. 2003. “Constructing Rhetorical Borders: Peons, Illegal Aliens, and Competing Narratives of Immigration.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 20 (4): 362–387. Forester, J. 1989. Planning in the Face of Power. Berkeley: University of California Press. ———. 2011. “On the Fieldwork in a Habermasian Way: Critical Ethnography the Extraordinary Character of Ordinary Professional Work.” In Critical Management Studies, ed.M. Alvesson, and H. Willmott, 46–91. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Girard, R. 1977. Violence and the Sacred. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. (p.140) Glendon, M. A. 1999. “Foundations of Human Rights: the Unfinished Business.” American Journal of Jurisprudence 44: 1–14. Goodin, R. E. 2000. “Democratic Deliberation Within.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (1): 81–109. Habermas, J. 1984. The Theory of Communicative Action: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Boston: Beacon Press. Habermas, J. 2001. The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hajer, M. A. 1995. The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process. New York: Oxford University Press. Hajer, M. A. and H. Wagenaar. 2003. Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Radicalized Narratives Kant, I. 2009. Critique of Judgement. Revised. New York: Oxford University Press. (originally published in 1892) Kaufman, E., and I. Bisharat. 2002. “Introducing Human Rights into Conflict Resolution: The Relevance for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.” Journal of Human Rights 1 (1): 71–91. Knight, J., and J. Johnson. 1994. “Aggregation and Deliberation: On the Possibility of Democratic Legitimacy.” Political Theory 22 (2): 277–296. Lara, M. P. 2007. Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment. New York: Columbia University Press. Laws, D. 1996. “The Practice of Fairness.” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 16 (2): 65–70. ———. 2001. “Enacting Deliberation: Speech and the Micro-Foundations of Deliberative Democracy.” In Paper presented at the EPCR Joint Sessions, Workshop 9. Grenoble, France. Leary, K. 2004. “Critical Moments as Relational Moments: The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Conflict in Aceh, Indonesia.” Negotiation Journal 20 (2): 311–338. MacKinnon, C. A. 1994. Only Words. 1st ed. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press. Mechoulan, E. 2004. “Introduction: On the Edges of Jacques Ranciere.” SubStance 33 (1): 3–9. Minow, M., M. Ryan, and A. Sarat. 1992. Narrative, Violence, and the Law: The Essays of Robert Cover. Law, Meaning, and Violence series. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Nisbet, M. 2009. “Communicating Climate Change: Why Frames Matter for Public Engagement.” Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 51 (2): 12–23. Pelletier, D., V. Kraak, C. McCullum, and R. Rich. 1999. “The Shaping of Collective Values through Deliberative Democracy: An Empirical Study from New York’s North Country.” Policy Sciences 32 (2): 103–131. Rabinow, P., and N. Rose. 2006. “Biopower Today.” BioSocieties 1 (02): 195–217. Rancière, J. 1999. Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ———. 2010. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. New York: Continuum. Page 26 of 30

Radicalized Narratives Roe, E. 2000. “Poverty, Defense, and the Environment: How Policy Optics, Policy Incompleteness, fastthinking.com, Equivalency Paradox, Deliberation Trap, Mailbox Dilemma, The Urban Ecosystem, and the End of Problem Solving Recast Difficult Policy Issues.” Administration and Society 31 (6): 687–726. Ryfe, D. M. 2002. “The Practice of Deliberative Democracy: A Study of 16 Deliberative Organizations.” Political Communication 19 (3): 359–377. Schmeidl, S., and E. Piza-Lopez., 2002. Gender and Conflict Early Warning: A Framework for Action. International Alert. http://reliefweb.int/node/21830. Scholten, P., and R. Holzhacker. 2009. “Bonding, Bridging and Ethnic Minorities in the Netherlands: Changing Discourses in a Changing Nation.” Nations and Nationalism 15 (1): 81–100. www.utwente.nl/mb/polmt/staff/…/ bonding_bridging_and_ethnic_mi.PDF. Smith, A. R. 2008. “Dialogue in Agony: The Problem of Communication in Authoritarian Regimes.” Communication Theory 18 (1): 160–185. Squires, J. 2008. “Deliberation, Domination and Decision-Making.” Theoria 55 (117): 104–133. Vatter, M. 2006. “Natality and the Biopolitics of Hannah Arendt.” Revista de Cienca Polita 26 (2): 137–159. Notes:

(1) This quote appears in The New York Review of Books, February 27, 1969, in an article by Hannah Arendt entitled, “A Special Supplement: Reflections on Violence” at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1969/feb/27/a-specialsupplement-reflections-on-violence/?pagination=false. (2) See a description of how this policy was implemented, before and after it was amended, at http://www.pwcgov.org/default.aspx?topic=040074003460004636. There had been a proposal to check immigration status prior to access to any services, such as public education, health care, or Department of Motor Vehicle services. This was eventually withdrawn from the proposed legislation but not before engendering a huge outcry. Also, the legislation had included a suspension of probable cause that would have allowed police to stop anyone, regardless of whether they had probable cause to believe a crime was in progress. This portion of the legislation was repealed some weeks later. See http://vagovernmentmatters.org/primary-sources/63 and http:// www.helpsavemanassas.org/index.php/rule-of-law-resolution for accounts of The Resolution and the process that led to its passage. It has since become the object a video project entitled “9500 Liberty: Aftermath of Immigration

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Radicalized Narratives Resolution in Prince William County.” See the blog at http://9500liberty.com/ blog/page/2/. (3) See http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2010/nov/16/study-prince-williampolicy-drove-away-illegal-imm-ar-657169/ for a description of the impact that The Resolution has had on the local community. (4) See http://www.helpsavemanassas.org/. (5) See http://www.helpsavemanassas.org/index.php/community-action. (6) Permission to use the photo for publication in this book was sought and denied. (7) See for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pay3VltJSfw. (8) See this text at http://www.antibvbl.net/index.php/2008/03/25/9500-liberty/. (9) This is a blog started in response to Greg Letiecq’s blog “Black Velvet Bruce Li”; Mr. Letiecq was also the leader of Help Save Manassas. Here is the statement of history from AntiBVBL: “AntiBVBL.net was formed late February 2008, as a counter blog to bvbl.net(Black Velvet Bruce Li), which is run by the current President of both Help Save Manassas and Save the Old Dominion organizations. We are a group of Prince William & Manassas citizens who attempted to participate in the discussion but who were repeatedly denied the opportunity to participate. We categorically reject the tactics used by Greg Letiecq and his organizations in attempting to influence local, state or national immigration related policies” (http://www.antibvbl.net/index.php/about/). (10) This text is from http://www.antibvbl.net/index.php/2008/04/17/immigrationresolution-review/. (11) See a video of his report at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uyl23– 0LMy4. (12) For insight into the role Chief Deane has played nationally with police chiefs, see http://article.wn.com/view/2011/03/04/ Police_Chiefs_Wary_of_Immigration_Role_i/. (13) The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) organization helped design The Resolution, and they have also helped design the legislation in other states. For a description of this organization see http://www.fairus.org/ site/PageServer. (14) It is interesting to note that immigrants who came to this country without documentation were not criminalized until the Great Depression. See Flores

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Radicalized Narratives (2003) for a historical analysis of the emergence of “criminal” as a frame for immigrants. (15) At the time of this writing, the United State Congress is drafting immigration law intending to provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country today. I would argue that many of the narratives about immigrants have not changed; what has changed is the “color of America” and the Republican party, having just lost the Presidential election, is eager to repair and build relations with the Hispanic and Asian community who they so thoroughly alienated during prior years. (16) See Scholten and Holzhacker (2009) for an excellent discussion of the relation between “bridging” and “bonding” as two competing goals represented in the history of Dutch immigration policy. They show how, in the context of the “clash of civilizations,” the Dutch policies are intended to reduce bonding within ethic groups and increase bridging between individual immigrants and Dutch society, (17) See Esposito and Burgat (2003) for a discussion of the complexities of these regulations for Islamic women as these laws increase the polarization between Islamic communities and “host” cultures. (18) Much of deliberative theory ties the quality of democracy to a deliberative process that resembles a form of negotiation; parties share their interests and look for “shared interested” on which to build consensus. See Knight and Johnson (1994), Cohen (1997) Button and Mattson (1999), Squires (2008), Goodin (2000), Ryfe (2002), and Pelletier et al. (1999) for this view of deliberation. However, there are other perspectives that examine the quality of the interaction in the deliberation in terms of the evoluotion of frames, “storylines,” or narratives. These perpectives are less focused on interest-based negotiation and reveal their epistemological commitments to social construction. See Laws (1996, 2001); Roe (2000); Hajer and Wagenaar (2003); and Cobb, Laws, and Sluzki (forthcoming). (19) See Forester (1989, 2011) for an elaboration of Habermas’s theory of communicative action in the context of deliberative planning processes. (20) I appreciate the argument that Deitelhoff and Müller (2005) made in their analysis of international multiparty negotiations. They note that their empirical data cannot be “forced” into the ideal that Habermas describes in his theory of communicative action. I would further argue that the “ideal” as category is exactly and precisely what Arendt was arguing against, in founding action on natality. She was presuming that ideals become the objects against which the

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Radicalized Narratives particular is compared and found always less than. Deitelhoff and Muller conclude that the particular is lost when it is compared to the ideal. (21) Biesta (2010) is here using “PHP” to refer to Rancière’s (2004) Philosopher and His Poor and “OSP” to refer to Rancière’s (2007) On the Shores of Politics. (22) Interestingly, the debate about climate change is often side-stepped in and through the argument that global warming is “natural” and not human caused. If it is the former, then there is little point in moral judgments that would inevitably lead to policies intended to guide and regulate human action. See Nisbet (2009). (23) We are taught to denote gender neutrality by writing “his or her” “or s/he,” but in the case of serious violence and victimization, particularly in the context of conflicts, the perpetrators are almost always men. So I refuse gender neutrality and use the male pronoun. See Schmeidl and Piza-Lopez (2002) and Carpenter (2002) for excellent discussions of gender, as a social construction, as a lens for understanding international conflicts. (24) See the complete transcript of his testimony at http://trc.law.yale.edu/smil/ wendybijal/face2face_websites.htm.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Toward a Critical Narrative Theory Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter lays out a theory of conflict narrative that is grounded on critical theory, providing an account of the connection between power and conflict narratives. Beginning with a critique of existing approaches to conflict resolution which fail to address the dynamics of power as discursive practice or provide a normative framework for “participation” or “engagement” or even “emancipation,” “critical narrative theory” is offered as a framework that addresses narrative domination, marginalization and colonization. This framework, in turn, has import for understanding the relation the role of counter narratives in the context of asymmetric conflicts. Keywords:   critical theory, contradiction, inequality, marginalization, moral Agency

The field of narrative studies has contributed to the construction of a lens for conflict analysis and intervention by recognizing that meaning is itself organized by narrative and that meaning mobilizes violence and its opposite, the development of sustainable relationships. But this recognition takes us to a rather apolitical “social constructionism” that does little to help us know what kinds of narratives to foster, how to participate in a way that preserves the public sphere, or how to engage in a conflict (narrative) system in ways that would be productive of health, of wholeness (White and Epston, 1990).

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives In the early, heady days of social constructionism, the project was to create a contrast between the epistemology of discovery, associated with logical positivism, and the epistemology of invention, toward a (devastating) critique of logical positivism across social sciences.1 Not only did the discourses of truth, objectivity, and rationality cease to be commanding rhetorics, but also their claimants seemed guilty of either ignorance (lack of reflection on implicit ideology) or exploitation (masking self-serving ideology in the cloak of neutrality). The constructionist assault, then, led to a slow deterioration of authority, with the simultaneous liberation of politically and morally invested inquiry. If one’s professional work is inevitably political, as constructionists reason, then the academician is furnished a new and inspiring telos. Rather than generating knowledge that may or may not be used by those making decisions for the society—as the pure scientists envisioned their goal—the knowledge generating process becomes itself a means of creating the good society. (Gergen, 1996, pp. 14–15) (p.142) Bernstein (1983), in his seminal work, charts a course for social construction that avoids the pitfalls of either objectivism or relativism. And the pitfalls have dire consequences in the context of conflict resolution—objectivism orients the observer (funder, intervener, policy maker) toward the singularity of “truth” and the possibility of knowing it—good intervention/analysis/policy must then be measured against traditional validity claims. However, in the context of a conflict, there are multiple “truths” and the goal is less about which one is “authentic” or “right” but rather how we might create an understanding, through interaction that would alter the pattern of engagement and interrupt cycles of violence. In the context of conflict, “understanding” and “analysis” can have dire material consequences, perpetuating violence and deepening fractures in social bonds. Getting it “right” is thus not about “validity” but more about learning how others are making sense and that is, as we have learned from all manner of practitioners, a function of how we, as analysts, policy makers, and interveners, engage. However, the field of conflict resolution has long been mired, in my view, in logical positivism; Jabri (1996) notes this in her book Discourse on Violence, and things have only recently begun to change. The main journals2 have been grinding out studies of negotiation, peace agreements, ripeness conditions, protracted social conflicts, and ethnic conflicts as identity conflicts using analysis of variance, regression, multidimensional scaling, and process tracing. Although these methods are indeed quantitative, in my view, it is the assumptions that undergird these methods that have been the problem, focusing as they do on prediction and control, presuming a stable and objective reality that is independent of the process of knowing, as though statistics about

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives conflicts and their resolution could help us understand the experience of people or intervene in a manner that would be both effective (sustainable) and ethical. The influence of logical positivism is apparent in the Interagency Conflict Analysis Framework (ICAF), which has been developed and adopted by U.S. government agencies in an effort to coordinate the analysis of conflicts across multiple agencies. This tool calls for the examination of “drivers” and “mitigators” of conflict, as though these factors could be identified without reflexive attention to the cultural lens that the analyst brings to the process of making sense of conflict. The cultural lens is distinctly First World, advancing the language of “interests” that perpetuates the notion that conflicts can be negotiated, rather than presuming that conflicts arise from moral differences that, in turn, anchor a narrative of Self that structures history and identity. Finally, the ICAF requires (p.143) analysts to account for “perceptions”—both “grievances” and “resilience” (drivers and mitigators) are defined in terms of perceptions; yet the analytic process does not itself account for the interpretative process for making sense of these perceptions. Given that the ICAF is intended to provide a framework for a whole-government approach to failed and failing states, it is frightening to contemplate how the analysis rests on interpretations that are not framed as interpretations. Predominantly, the notion of power that has been operant in the field of conflict resolution has been consistent with the presumptions of logical positivism— power has been understood as the ability of a person (group) to compel the actions of the Other(s) against their will (i.e., coercion)—a Weberian notion of power.3 Thus, there is much discussion of “powerful” parties with little attention paid to the other dimensions of power that, for example, Lukes (1974) describes. He defines power as both the potential to suppress conflict and the power to define the terms in which the conflict takes place. Yet the more Weberian, limited view of power is overly present in the notion of “asymmetric conflicts”— one party has “high power” and the other “low power” (Coleman, 2000). The higher the power, the more capacity to compel the actions of the Other. Mitchell (1991; Mitchell, Zartman, and Kremenyuk, 1995) develops a typology of asymmetries, but all of them continue to enhance or decrease the capacity of parties to coerce the Other. Although this work is certainly pertinent to understanding the different dimensions along which parties can be unequal, it does not change the underlying assumption that power is the ability to coerce others or suppress conflict altogether. Thankfully, there is a growing body of theory and research methods grounded on the assumptions arising from social constructionism,4 which is itself founded on the linguistic or discursive turn that focused attention on the dynamic, intersubjective processes by which meaning was produced and then institutionalized (Pearce, 2007; Rorty, 1992; Partner, 2008; Sanders, 1990). More recently, the tide of research on narrative, positioning theory, discourse, and Page 3 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives even some of the work on identity (e.g., Tilly, 2005), coming out of diverse fields such as philosophy, language and discourse studies, international relations, development studies, memory and trauma studies, and even economics is changing the way we understand conflict and its resolution. We know now that meaning matters, that knowledge is an intersubjective phenomenon, that narratives are both productive of conflict and a resource for its resolution. (p.144) But knowing that conflicts are socially constructed does not help us design for transformation or sort out an ethical foundation for (narrative) practice. Indeed, the other member of this Scylla and Charybdis, as described by Bernstein, is relativism. There are many competing stories in any field of conflict. Are we to simply to relax into the knowledge that all stakeholders will have a narrative in a field of conflict? What is there, in social construction theory, that would help us with differentiating the role that different kinds of narrative play in a given conflict? Does “multiculturalism” provide the foundation for practice as we work to ensure that the diversity of narratives is present? Given the place that “neutrality” occupies in the field of conflict resolution, enjoining practitioners against judging or evaluating the content of people’s positions, are practitioners ethically required to simply accept the stories that parties tell, no matter the content? Does social constructionism doom the field of conflict resolution to relativism? On what basis could practitioners make judgments about the narratives that conflicting groups are telling? The answers to these questions lay in the other branch of social constructionism, one that is grounded in critical theory. A wide and deep river of research and theory addresses the question of how to judge the meanings that are under production in a given social setting. In the section that follows, I examine the connections between critical theory and conflict resolution in an effort to build on those theories that help us judge or evaluate the production of meaning in conflict resolution. This will provide a foundation for a description of the critical narrative theory framework I derive from critical theory, but as applied to narrative. Critical narrative theory will provide a foundation for identifying and evolving narrative content and processes that contribute to what Rancière (1999) refers to as “police”—the “distribution of sensibility” that hides or then justifies the way its denies voice to those who (would) complain of inequality or marginalization. In so doing, it creates the emergence of what Rancière calls the “contradiction,” in which inequality is made visible, material. In turn, this destabilizes the existing distribution of sensibility and new meaning emerges. This theory will be a foundation for an ethics of practice, to be discussed in a subsequent chapter; critical narrative theory will provide a much-needed way to build on social constructionism for the field of conflict resolution, ensuring that we avoid the relativism that lurks within both. To do this, we need to expand the limitations of our theory and practice of participation, which, at present, is Page 4 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives equated with speaking itself, not with “being heard” (Rosenfeld, 2011).5 Critical narrative theory will provide a foundation for not only identifying when and how people are not heard, but also for redressing the absence of voice in and (p. 145) through the emergence of the contradiction, which destabilizes meaning structures (the aesthetic) and is generative of new meaning.

“Participation”: An Adamantine Chain for Conflict Resolution Conflict resolution has long held that speaking as sharing one’s perspective, telling one’s story, or stating one’s interests, is critical to the conflict resolution process. Speaking is understood to be core to negotiation, mediation, deliberation, problem solving, and strategic planning because these are all processes in which different viewpoints are presumed. Speakers are entitled to their viewpoint, and the conflict resolution process is structured, supposedly, to allow all parties to share their perspectives. It is the role of the third party (if there is one) to ensure that all stakeholders can express their views. However, the students engaged in 1968 the protest movement in Paris recognized that participation itself was not a guarantee of change; they had a poster depicting a series of verb conjugations: “I participate; you participate; he participates; we participate; you participate….They profit” (Arnstein, 1969, p. 216). Arnstein continues: The poster highlights the fundamental point that participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the power holders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit. It maintains the status quo. (Arnstein, 1969, p. 216) However, it seems that this practical and political perspective on participation was lost in the fever of developing the field of conflict resolution. For example, John Burton’s theory of conflict resolution was based on the idea that conflict was a function of unmet needs; he then trusts in the capacity of practitioners to know who has unmet needs and that those same people will be able, when asked, to describe their needs in the first stage of the problem-solving process (Burton, 1996; Burton and F. Dukes, 1990). Unmet needs were in turn conceptualized within a center-periphery framework resonant with Galtung’s (1971) structural theory of imperialism. The theory here is that imperialism is a function of the way the system maintains power within the center. Here, the center harvests any assets generated by the system, maintaining the periphery as a resource for consumption. This theory, coming out of peace research, undergirds the field’s concern for marginalization and its interest in participation, as though participation would be the remedy for marginalization. But there are many problems with the center-periphery formulation that have been, in the past forty years, explored. First, the perspective that (p.146) could examine and describe the center–periphery Page 5 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives function is itself omnipresent and Archimedean; this has been massively critiqued in the research that has explored the epistemology of knowledge, particularly in and through the hermeneutic tradition.6 Second, the center– periphery frame paradoxically attributes the same “ends” to the periphery as to the center, yet we know that subaltern voices at the edges of dominant culture are often about alternative projects, ones that the center could not recognize.7 Third, as Derrida notes: Thus it has always been thought that the center, which is by definition unique, constituted that very thing within a structure which governs the structure, while escaping (its own) structurality…the center is paradoxically within the structure and outside it….The center is not the center. (Derrida, 2007, p. 248) Derrida undermines and indeed collapses the viability of the center as a center because it cannot escape the structurality that it generates. It is the item in the class and the class itself. At the very least, it is a paradox. At the most, we can no longer rely on the center to “hold”—it becomes unstable and, in this moment, the periphery also flickers in and out of existence. As this happens, the critique of marginality itself begins to fade—it is not possible if there is no center. So, for these three reasons, the center–periphery as a construct does not, and indeed cannot, provide a framework for the critical assessment of conflict or its resolution. However, it has continued, like some ray of light shot into space, to penetrate the discourse of conflict resolution, framing the critical problem as “marginalization,” the solution to which is “participation.” The concern for marginalization is foundational to Burton’s definition of conflict as a function of unmet needs. And, of course, there is an assumption that those with unmet needs are most likely to already be unheard. Thus, in this approach, the humanity of the marginalized, as being a site where human needs exist and are unmet, anchors conflict resolution as a political process, upending any status quo. There is here, however, some interesting unexplored resonance between Burton’s concern for unmet needs and Rancière’s concern for speaking and being heard, for clearly Burton imagined that people, when given an opportunity, could and would speak their minds and identify their needs and interests. And therein lies the rub, or perhaps several rubs. First, those without voice, unable to speak, are by definition not part of the public sphere, or, if they are, they are there in order to be actively excluded, as were the African Americans in the South or the Blacks in South Africa; in both cases, their presence was an ongoing topic for discussion in the public sphere. However, they were also actively excluded from speaking in public places. So, (p.147) it is difficult to imagine a process whereby the marginalized can be not only included, but also included as legitimate voices in any conflict resolution process. However, Burton’s problem-solving processes presume equality or Page 6 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives symmetry, an assumption that Rouhana (2004) has very articulately challenged. He notes that the Israeli and Palestinian problem-solving workshops,8 touted by the field of conflict resolution as a format for resolving protracted conflicts, masks the inequality of the two sides and contributes to support the Israeli perspective that denies the injustice of their occupation of Palestine. He is complaining that participation in this format actually reproduces the status quo. Second, there is a core assumption in conflict resolution that parties know and can describe their own interests. In the case of the marginal, having not had the experience of speaking, much less of being heard, they may not know their interests, or their interests or needs may not be developed. In my view, people need to rehearse descriptions of their problems, and their needs must be formulated rhetorically to gain traction within the context in which they will be spoken. Otherwise, the grievances or “differend” comes into the public space in a manner that undermines its capacity to make any difference or is ill-prepared to ward off colonization through reframing or agenda setting (Woodly, 2007). Negotiation theory in general makes the same mistake, in my view. First, the theory suggests that people will know and be able to articulate their interests— this is the core of Fisher et al.’s concept of “principled negotiation” (Fisher, Ury, and Patton, 2011), which became known as “interest-based negotiation.”9 Mediation, as described in the seminal work of Moore (2003), also presumes that parties will be able to know and articulate their interests; given that mediators are required to be neutral, the ethics of practice requires them to avoid any alteration of content. However, there is a mandate in the ethics of the practice to represent the interests of parties whose needs are not represented in the mediation process (e.g., children, women who are afraid of speaking out, or people who speak English as a second language). With this mandate, there is a glimmer of attention being paid to the complexity of constructing interests, but this is not followed, neither in the practice of the theory nor by any theory of practice that would guide practitioners in this process. With my colleague Janet Rifkin, we developed the first theoretical links between critical theory and mediation; we videotaped community mediation sessions and then did a discourse analysis of the transcripts to describe the practice of neutrality by mediators (Cobb and Rifkin, 1991). One of the core findings was (p.148) that the second speaker had to build a description of his or her “interests” on the discourse that was laid down by the first speaker in the session. But rather than describe their interests, as mediation theory would have them do, these second speakers defended themselves from the accusations that were made about them by the first party. In Rancière’s view, there was an aesthetic established in the session, a narrative that organizes causality, roles, and a moral order, and the second speaker had no or little voice. There was no “participation” in the sense that the second party’s talk was colonized by the first party. Following the discursive turn in social science, this research Page 7 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives exemplified work that had been done at a broader level about the relationship between discourse and law, and, indeed, critical legal theory has much to offer to the analysis and resolution of conflicts. Within conflict resolution, the “contact hypothesis” (Allport, 1979) developed out of social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 2004). This was an important “folk” assumption within conflict resolution, one that presumed that contact alone would decrease prejudice and conflict. More recent work has shown that not to be the case (Brewer and Miller, 1984; Hewstone and Brown, 1986). However, the critique of the contact hypothesis does not provide a normative foundation about the nature of the contact that would enhance the development of relationships between conflicting parties. So, throughout conflict resolution, there has been an assumption that parties will be able to participate through knowing and stating their interests. Thus, despite the fact that marginalization is recognized as the absence of voice by some critical perspectives within conflict resolution (a la Burton), there is as yet little theory that would enable practitioners to differentiate the nature of participation that could lead to the alternation of the “aesthetics” (the discursive structure that forestalls, regulates, or denies the appearance of the contradiction) from participation where there is no change in the narrative. Deliberative theory and practice has been the location of a groundswell of work that theorizes the importance of talk, of exchanging ideas. The “deliberative turn” enables a focus to be placed not on voting as the practice to materialize a strong democracy, but on the nature of the engagement that citizens have with each other (Cohen, 1997). This perspective is, in turn, grounded on discourse theory and presumes that deliberation is itself a discursive process. The deliberative turn has pitted, in political and legal theory, those who see democracy as a function of a set of individual choices, expressed through voting and protected by rights, against those who argue in favor of communitarian processes by which people enact democracy through engaging in conversations about moral frameworks and value systems (Glendon, 1993). Deliberative theory and practice presumes that the legitimacy of democracy depends on the capacity for exchange and consensus, if not conflict resolution, in a multicultural society. Habermas provides a normative foundation for practicing deliberation (Habermas, 1992; 1996; Huspek, 2007). He has argued that the quality of the discourse in the public sphere impacts directly on the quality of democracy. In (p.149) his earlier work, he developed a theory of communicative action (Habermas, 1985a; 1985b) in an effort to connect features of communication or discursive processes to his critical project, “emancipation,” which in turn rests on his distinction between communicative and strategic action:

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives For Habermas, communicative actions provides agents with a normative bedrock of “inescapable presuppositions” whereby communicative participants expect that validity claims may be openly advanced, questioned, and redeemed within rational discourse. As communicative action provides a necessary basis for discursive movement toward consensus-oriented goals and collective action, so it is fundamental to deliberative democracy. (Huspek, 2007, pp. 357–358) Habermas trusts in the possibility that persons can share arguments and the rationale for their arguments in a move toward consensus. Essentially, this is his theory of conflict resolution. Furthermore, in later work, he goes on to elaborate “communicative power,” which is work that discourse does as arguments and accounts (discourses) generated by the people circulate (through media) to legislative and legal domains where they can be institutionalized. Despite his view in “de-centered” politics (Habermas, 1985a—his recognition that the state is not the center of politics but rather the multitudinous diversity of local conversations, wherein communicative action is practiced—problems remain, in my view, at the heart of his view of communicative power. These problems have less to do with decentralization and more to do with the idea that people are going to provide valid arguments toward the development of consensus. Not only is the ideal speech situation, just that—ideal—but it is pernicious in that the communicative power of discourse, of speech, can either generate or enact radicalized narratives (as I have shown) or just as easily flow from law to colonize those sites where popular sovereignty is supposed to reside, as was the case with Jim Crow laws or even the Patriot Act. In either case, Habermas’s efforts to anchor a theory for ensuring the health of the public sphere fall short of doing so; narrative provides a lens to track not only the development of those narratives in the public sphere that are indeed “distorted” or distorting, but to trace their elaboration and uptake, in and across other institutionalized settings or vice versa—we can track distortion empirically, and, indeed, I have done that in my analysis of radicalized narratives. Finally, Habermas hopes that law will become the domain that both reflects and supports the reasoned will of the people (Habermas, 1996); if this were the case, the law would function not only in an imperial way, as it does, but it would also function paideically, as Resnick (2005) has noted (i.e., it would grow out of the stories that are living within personal relationships and interaction, within communities, recognizing and supporting the nomos that emerges from diverse communities). However, law does not function that way—it is imperial, in that it kills off those narratives that (p.150) challenge it or are not pertinent to it. It maintains its own nomos, its own narrative, its own norms. Cover’s argument is a plea for the paideic function to be permitted to grow and flourish. As Cover himself said of law, “We ought to stop circumscribing the nomos; we ought to invite new worlds” (Cover, 1983, p. 68). Like Cover, I do not have faith in the law to elaborate or affirm those narratives that emerge from the everyday interactions that constitute Page 9 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives connection. And, conversely, I do not have faith that the imperial power of law, as Cover describes it, will reflect the will of the people. We are much more likely to have, as Richard Pryor, a famous African-American comedian, noted when he defined “justice”—“just us.”10 The imperial nomos, which inevitably kills off local ways of knowing, will be much more likely to retain the nomos of the elite while ignoring the nomos of Others. So, although Habermas makes what I think is an important effort to provide a normative framework for ensuring the legitimacy of the public space for speaking, neither the speaking (the communicative action that presumes we can avoid “distorted speech”) nor power (the communicative power that circulates through the media and becomes institutionalized in law) protects the public sphere from totalitarianism, from the damage that can be done by radicalized narratives. So, the critical lens that Habermas offers to conflict resolution does not, in the end, ward off marginalization nor proscribe a form of participation that is possible, or likely, given the dynamics of narrative as I have described them. However, he does anchor, along with Foucault and other critical theorists, a discursive view of power, in contrast to Weber’s notion that power is the ability to force someone to do something against his or her will (Weber, 1978). This discursive view presumes that knowing and action are a function of the discourse in use, and that this discourse is, in turn, structured by the people using it as well as by the institutions, procedures, and apparatus that require that discourse to sustain its own legitimacy. Power is thus a discursive practice. Now Foucault has been roundly critiqued for his attention to structure, to power as practice that is located not in individual agents but in the systems that reproduce that discourse. And, indeed, power without agency is not only totalizing but separates, ontologically, discourse from the subjectivity of its users, the speakers. It is clearly the case that we, as speakers, are interpellated (Althusser, 1984)—we are caught in narratives we did not make and we cannot control. We are spoken by the narratives of the state, by law and administrative procedures that we cannot escape or remake. Clearly, discursive practices are not “controlled” by the speakers, even as they mobilize that same discourse. But if we leave it there, there is no possibility of natality, of speaking and being heard, of subjectivity. We need both agency and structure. Jabri, who drew on Giddens’s theory of structuration (Giddens, 1979), presumed that people are capable of describing and accounting for their needs, even when they are marginalized; she was working within this framework to ensure (p. 151) that agency of individuals coexists alongside discursive power. She presumes that institutionalized discourses have the power to shape beliefs and actions (note the vestige of Cartenianism here), which is why she is so concerned with the “discourse on violence” that legitimates war. Agency, as an antidote to structure, arises, for Jabri, as an ontological fact of identity: Identity always implies positionality and difference. It incorporates intersubjectivity and dialogue. It also involves transience and provisionality

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives and as such it is always a place of selection and contestation. (Jabri, 1996, p. 183) For Jabri, the process of the social construction and the inevitable contestation of identity provides the conditions through which agency persists in the face of discursive power (Jabri, 1998). This is a reprise of the Self and society division in which the individual (identity) and the state (society) intersect; conflict becomes, from this perspective, an ontological condition of identity, its expression and enactment. As a core feature of this discourse of agency, which is replete in the field of conflict resolution, the notion of the Self as a site for beliefs, ideas, and experiences that can be known to the Self through reflection survives the onslaught of postmodernism, even if the Self that Jabri imagines is a socially constructed Self, as opposed to an autonomous Self: Identity is constructed through a social process involving subjective representation and intersubjective recognition….It is always multiple and varied….These are always social positions emerging through a multiplicity of locations and reflecting different modes of representation. (Jabri, 1996, p. 183) Because Jabri anchors agency in the production and negotiation of identity, she is then able to avoid the kinds of critiques that have been so pervasive with regard to Foucault’s perspective on power—that it is totalizing, that there is little room for agency. Subjectivity created through interaction emerges and can only emerge within the very discourse that reaffirms that same discourse. “Disciplinary power” refers to the way in which selves/bodies are constrained to become what the institutions and procedures would have them become. This is, as Dore (2010) has noted, “intentional”: In other words, power relations are intentional to the extent that there is some kind of planning, coordination, and purposive decision making that goes with the exercise of every power. (Dore, 2010, p. 740) But any intentionality itself erupts within a discursive framework and then folds back into it. Foucault’s genealogical method is an effort to show how to trace (p. 152) the transformation of these discourses, not by tracing decisions that individuals make (as though power could be revealed through intentions), but in and through the regulation of subjectivity itself (Cobb, 1997). Agency, within Foucault’s perspective on power, can do little to escape the micro-practices that populate a given institutional setting (which includes not only governmentality, but also clans, tribes, and neighborhood gatherings).11 White (2007) elaborates the way that normalizing judgments, drawn from the social norms that literally govern (and discipline) people’s stories about themselves, police the possibilities for the evolution of identity and restrict development or evolution.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Foucault’s concept of discursive power and the constraints it imposes on subjectivity itself calls into question Jabri’s (and the broader field of conflict resolution’s) assumptions about the possibility of agency located in the production of subjectivity or the social construction of identity; Jabri, drawing on Habermas, argues that conflict itself is the site in which the social construction of identity, coterminous with agency, is enacted. But if subjectivity itself is captured by power/knowledge, then there is little way in which we could expect the identities that are constructed to be sites for agency—they are also sites of power and subjugation. If there is then no agency-as-identity, if there is only identity as some particularized manifestation of power, then there can be, paradoxically, no need for conflict resolution. If discursive structure is totalizing and impermeable, if intentional action can never escape the constraints of micro-practices, then there would be no conditions under which persons could renegotiate identity, much less express their needs and interests. I am suggesting that conflict resolution, without agency, is not a possibility. Without it, we resign ourselves to the persistence of cycles of violence, of a pattern of contestation, of a process in which persons struggle to appear themselves as legitimate and appropriate. But rather than see conflict as the productive site in which valid reasons are reciprocally created and recognized by speakers (a la Habermas), we can imagine conflict as a space in which identity is contested. Using this lens, we can see both the struggle over positionality and the effort to constitute the Self as legitimate, and, in the process, we see the work done to remake the moral judgments that are themselves the framework for assessing and therefore planning action. But this requires a relational view of identity construction, one that is present in the general theory of social constructionism but also moves beyond it by connecting it to voice, to the capacity for speaking and being heard. (p.153)

The Narrative Construction of Subjectivity: A Relational View of Agency Relational theory presumes that the Self exists in and through interactions with others—ontologically, the Self is fundamentally social (Gergen, 2009). The Self cannot create the Self, by itself. It can do this only in relation to others (Mead, 1967). Going back to Jabri’s (and Habermas’s efforts) to locate agency in the Self- as-actor, which is, as I have noted, a fundamental assumption of conflict resolution, the Self requires the Other in this process of social construction. The Self–Other interaction is always one in which there is an ongoing production of attributions or descriptions about the Self, at times made by Self, at times made by the Other, and in all cases and at all times under negotiation. There is stability in the construction of Self when there is a routine in the elaboration of the Self with the Other. From this perspective, agency is not produced because the Self pronounces itself; it can be produced only relationally because the Self advances descriptions of itself that are adopted, contested, and elaborated by Page 12 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives the Others. Depending on the nature of the relationship, these interactions are constitutive of relationships in which there is reciprocal affirmation and legitimation, or asymmetrical legitimation or reciprocal delegitimation. In the latter case, there may not be symmetry even though there is reciprocity, for one “delegitimized” Self may have access to legislative power and be able to create, as Arendt imagines, the juridical exclusion of the Other. Benhabib (1987) provides an excellent lens for understanding the construction of the Self; she notes that the work of a communicative practice, in her ethical framework, is to materialize the Concrete Other (Benhabib, 1992, 1996; Benhabib, Shapiro, and Petranovich, 2007). Like Arendt’s notion of natality, the Concrete Other is the particular person who has a given history and a specific location in the space; it is a narrative that de facto establishes the speaker as having particulity and as having spoken. Additionally, the “differend” (Lyotard, 1988), the space of the suffering that cannot be described in the current idioms available to the Self, can appear only in the construction of the Concrete Other as the interlocutor works with the Other to emerge the particular brand of suffering that accompanies being “divested of the means to argue” (Lyotard, 1988, p. 9) and, in that process, becomes a victim. In this way, victimization is not only a function of the particular way in which people have suffered by the hands of natural or human events, but it also is a function of the extent to which their experience cannot be put into language or, even if it is, will not be heard. And it is the being heard that is critical to relational agency, to the production of the Concrete Other. Rancière argues that speaking and being heard is the condition due to all people, the condition of being human: [Politics]…has consisted in making what was unseen visible; in getting what was only audible as noise to be heard as speech; in demonstrating (p.154) to be a feeling of shared “good” or “evil” what had appeared merely as an expression of pleasure or pain. (Rancière, 2001)12 Speaking and being heard is critical to the production of agency, which is why Lyotard was so concerned about the differend, the victimization that comes from not being able to account for the particular pain, either because it cannot be put into words or because the only words available are the words of the Other; to speak about the pain requires positioning Self within the very discourse that excludes the Self as a Self. In the context of a conflict, the irony is both considerable and tragic: At the core of self-as-agent, in the process of materializing the Concrete Other, speakers must use the very discourses that exclude, deny, or otherwise delegitimize themselves.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives From a narrative perspective, the politics of subjectivity is visibly present in contestation, in which speakers advance a narrative that establishes themselves as moral actors, as legitimate; it is also visible in storylines: Actors use simple storylines as “short hand” in discussions, assuming that the other will understand what they mean. The assumption of mutual understanding, however widespread, is often false, concealing discursive complexity. Even when actors share a specific set of storylines, they might interpret the meaning of these storylines rather differently. (Hajer and Versteeg, 2005, p. 177) These differences are embedded in storylines that are adopted institutionally, in planning documents, in public hearings, and in legislation. Within institutionalized storylines, one group of people is either absent (as in documents that addressed resource allocation by states without mention of the historical presence or rights of native peoples) or labeled as illegal (immigrants) or immoral (criminals). In the former case, there may be open contestation; in the latter, only the differend is visible. In all of these cases, it is the construction of Self, as agent and as a human being with the capacity for action, being able to speak and be heard, that is lost, harmed, or otherwise damaged. Here at the intersection of critical theory and conflict resolution, Foucault would help us understand how subjectivities are constrained by the discourse that, in turn, mobilizes micro-practices that delimit, if not colonize, the nature of the Self they can produce with Other. This, however, does not help us remedy the problem. There is no emancipation. There is only governmentality. Habermas has called us to imagine that we can create the spaces for speaking that can reduce distortion and support “ideal speech,” but he relies on notions of speaking subjects and the possibility of speech itself that Rancière and Lyotard (p.155) question. If we are to be able to assess meaning, critically, as a foundation or precursor for a theory of conflict intervention, we need a lens to track the development of narrative as a process anchored on speaking and being heard.

“Speaking and Being Heard”: A Foundation for Critical Narrative Theory The critical issue in conflict resolution, the issue that calls for a normative theory, is not an end to violence, which indeed cannot be effected through more effective policing or consensual agreement, as though the end of conflict would be the beginning of collaboration, learning, and the development of new ways of being. Rather, the critical issue in conflict resolution is the evolution of meaning, such that speaking and being heard is possible. “Speaking” is a human activity, but not all speech is “speaking”; in some cases it is noise from the “nether world of inarticulate sounds” (Rancière, 2007, p. 50). In this nether world, people speak but not in a language that can be heard. Although some would say the solution to this problem is “cosmopolitan communication” (Norris and Inglehart, Page 14 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives 2009), Rancière points out that speaking is the process of being constructed by the Other as a human being, and this has to do not only with hearing, but with legitimizing the voice of the speaker. And Rancière would argue that this is done by describing the “wrong” which is, as Lyotard has noted, the account of a suffering. But this wrong is not just any suffering: It is the wrong of inequality, which, through its presentation, enacts equality, “making visible what had no business being seen and mak[ing] heard a discourse where once there was only a place for noise” (Rancière, 2004, p. 30). This, he argues, requires the speaker to rupture the existing “aesthetics” in which social and economic relations exist, the relations that are both constituted in and regulated by the “police order”; this rupture requires the speaker to construct and make present the contradiction between the police order that espouses equality and the inequality of their position. This is, according to Rancière, politics—it is the political moment, the only political moment in which the police order is (momentarily) ruptured and a new aesthetic, a new set of meanings, emerges. Although Rancière provides some examples of this, there is much to learn, to contemplate and explore relative to how those people who before could only make noise begin to speak as human beings and create a new order in which they are heard. Starting with the negative, we can consider what does not work; a wrong is not a complaint (“I am marginalized”), nor it is a storyline of victimization (“I have suffered and you/they are to blame”). This speaking folds back into the existing aesthetic order, the existing “distribution of sensibility” and it is only noise. (p.156) What makes an act political is when it stages the contradiction between the logic of the police order and the logic of equality, that is, when it brings into a relation these two unconnected, heterogeneous, and incommensurable worlds. This is why dissensus lies at the heart of political acts. (Biesta, 2010, p. 57) Rancière is clear that the political is the moment when speaking occurs from within the logic of being entitled to the privileges of those who can already speak and be heard. This means starting from the point of view of equality, asserting equality, assuming equality as a given, working out from equality….By contrast, anyone who starts out from distrust, who assumes inequality and proposes to reduce it, can only succeed in setting up a hierarchy of inequalities, a hierarchy of priorities, a hierarchy of intelligences—and will reproduce inequality ad infinitum. (Rancière, 2007, pp. 51–52) Further, contrary to the literature on “empowerment” in conflict resolution, as giving power to the oppressed, Rancière argues that those who are struggling to

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives be emancipated within the existing police order cannot be given emancipation by others. This is the definition of a struggle for equality that can never be merely a demand upon the other, nor a pressure put upon him, but always simultaneously a proof given to oneself. This is what “emancipation” means. It means escaping from a minority. But nobody escapes from the social minority save by their own efforts. The emancipation of the workers in not a matter of making labor the founding principle of the new society, but rather of the workers emerging from their minority status and proving that they truly belong to the society, that they truly communicate with all in a common space; that they are not merely creatures of need, of complaint and protest, but creatures of discourse and reason, that they are capable of opposing reason with reason and of giving their action a demonstrative form….Self-emancipation is no secession, but selfaffirmation as a joint-sharer in a common world, with the assumption, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, that one can play the same (language) game as the adversary. (Rancière, 2007, pp. 48–49) “Empowerment” in conflict resolution is understood as a practice of the third party to give power to those in marginalized positions; it is an effort to balance power. Lederach (1995) sees empowerment within what he calls an “elicitive model” of peacebuilding in which the third party works to help emerge the knowledge and cultural resources for peace that are already within the conflict (p.157) context. This is more in line with Rancière’s notion that there are resources within the minority that they can use to develop their own voice. But Rancière, does little to describe the production of the speech that would enable, encourage, minority groups to “perform” their equality. It is difficult to imagine how this is done when Rancière is clear that protest and complaints do not accomplish “speaking” but only noise. Nelson (2001) provides a lens to begin to understand this performance of equality. In her book Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair, she agues that marginalized persons have damaged narratives. The experience of Self, along with the narrative practices that populate the life of the marginalized, the minority, restricts the nature of the stories that are or could be told by Self about Self or by Others about Self. And the result of this restriction is damage to the “moral agency” of the person who is marginalized. She argues that moral agency is not just the kinetic potential for action as a moral agent; it is the concrete way in which persons are storied, by Self and Others, as having the capacity for moral agency, for making moral decisions or choices within the field of their practices. Her book opens with an account of a group of nurses who are engaged in planning Nurse Recognition Day. Of course, the reason they need a recognition day is because they are unseen, Page 16 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives unappreciated, unrecognized within their worksites. The doctors are in charge— they make the (moral) decisions, and the nurses implement. The hospital administrators set the frameworks within which standards of care are structured. The nurses implement. It is a good case example of a group of people who cannot speak or be heard. They meet, as a committee, to plan their day of recognition and, in the process, they begin to tell stories about the care they give to their patients, the differences they made, the micro-choices they made that improved the health of their patients, the decisions they took on themselves to confront the doctors when they thought they were wrong or not understanding a clinical issue that they, the nurses, could understand because they were so close to the patients. They told each other stories about their experiences, and, in the process, they began to see they had a body of knowledge, of expertise that was critically important to enabling the doctors and the hospital administrators to do their jobs. They began to construct themselves as having moral agency. In turn, they were able to open up what Rancière would call a new distribution of sensibility. Without protest or complaint, they began to operate in the system differently, now confident in their capacity as moral agents; they no longer simply implemented, they were integral agents in the care for patients, describing themselves that way, to Self and to each other, as well as being described that way by others (doctors and administrators). In and through the process of (re)constructing their moral agency, Nelson argues that they were able to mitigate the two kinds of damage to moral agency that is done to minority or marginalized people. The first kind of damage she calls (p.158) “infiltrated consciousness,” which refers to the way in which the very consciousness of people, the stories they tell about themselves and their world, is given to them, about them, by Others. These nurses learned early on in their careers that doctors made decisions, and they implemented. They learned that they could provide information to doctors and that the quality of information they obtained through their care for patients was invaluable to medical decision making. But they learned, fundamentally, that they could not function agentically, morally, in that they could not be seen by others as being able to be agents navigating moral terrain. Nelson makes the point that the stories that formed the basis of this historical consciousness are in fact a narrative tissue—there are intersecting narratives that support this infiltrated consciousness, including, in the case of nurses, narratives of gender and the role of women as caregivers, as nursing is indeed a gendered practice. Thus the infiltration is not of one story, but of a network of narratives, and thus it has no discrete source. Contestation in this circumstance is difficult; as the person becomes herself the locus for this network, there is a coherence that makes self-reflection, as a resource, less likely and certainly more difficult. “Infiltration” implies that narratives that damage moral agency Page 17 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives are internalized and the damaged persons participated unwittingly in the narratives that perpetuate themselves being seen as morally incompetent or passive by others. Nelson writes: Normative competency is therefore genuinely interpersonal; the capacity for normative self-disclosure embraces not only the agent’s ability to appreciate the moral construction that others will place on her actions but also the recognition by those others that her actions are those of a morally developed person. (Nelson, 2001, p. 27) In light of the damage done to identity through infiltrated consciousness, the assumption that persons will be able to know and represent their own interests is problematic at the very least and possibly pernicious, expecting as it does, persons to participate in conflict resolution as though could be constructed as a moral agent. The second kind of damage she calls “deprivation of opportunity.” …“infiltrated consciousness” damages how I see myself, which then restricts how others will see me, Deprivation of opportunity reduces one’s options as a moral actor, on the basis of the stories that are told about a person [or group]. The “inability [of others] to identify…[someone] as a morally developed agent forecloses the possibility of discussion with him. (Nelson, 2001, p. 24) The damage done from deprivation of opportunity is not simply, as critical theory has traditionally imagined, a reduction of options or of access to resources (i.e., structural violence). It is also that others do not treat the deprived as though (p. 159) they had moral agency, so they cannot be heard. They speak, as Rancière noted, but they only make noise. They are cut off from being heard. In both cases, what Atkins and MacKensie call “practical identity” is undermined: [T]o be a person is to exercise narrative capacities for self-interpretation that unify our lives over time. Ricoeur argues that narrative is a form of understanding or practical reasoning that enables us to respond to the complexity of the human experience of temporality and in particular to mediate the irresolvable tensions between the cosmological and phenomenological time. (Atkins, K. and C. Mackensie, 2008, p. 11) Practical identity is harmed to the extent that people are not able to build a “description under which you value yourself, a description under which you find your life to be worth living and your actions to be worth understanding” (Atkins and Mackensie, 2008, p. 10, citing Korsgaard, 1996). Like Nelson, Atkins and Mackensie are working to develop a way to discuss the function of practical Page 18 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives identity. Both are presuming that narrative agency, the capacity to develop a story about Self in which one is an agent, is critical to being a human being. But as Nelson, Atkins and Mackensie note, this story must be elaborated by others in order to materialize. Practical identity is a social practice. Marcello Pakman is a community psychiatrist who began working with youth who were identified by social services as problematic—truancy, drug use, gang membership. He noted that that they were described by others as “damaged” by poverty and broken homes. These stories were institutionalized in the school, in the social services, and with the police. Furthermore, although many professionals across these institutions sought to “help” the youth, they did not talk to them as though they had moral agency, as though they could plan or problem-solve. And, in fact, the narrative scenario that these professionals had for these youth was one in which they would attend school, graduate, get jobs, and then get married and have children. So, the stories the professionals had were not only dissonant with the youths’ account of themselves (they were not damaged but rather pretty savvy), but the life narratives the professionals associated with health and well-being was not a narrative the youth wanted as a life story. Marcelo talked to the youth, asking them about their experiences, discussing their options with them, as they saw them, formulating plans and problem-solving. In other words, Marcelo emerged the practical identit(ies) of these youth. He became someone with whom they could reflect about the “system,” about how they could navigate it. And he was able to help them begin the process of creating a story about Self that would lead to a life worth living and defining a way to make their actions understandable to Self and others. It is not just that they became human as they emerged a practical identity, but that they ceased to “make noise,” as Rancière would say. They could speak and be heard. (p.160) Recall that Rancière argued that protest and complaints were not ways in which a minority (voice) could speak and be heard. In the case of these youth, they were not only described as “animals” by others (only able to make noise), but they were engaged in forms of protest that challenged, quite literally, the police (selling drugs, belonging to gangs, and dropping out of school). Their protests against being treated as either immoral, as animals, or as objects to be reformed were not heard and were instead folded back into the master narratives used by the professionals to make sense of the youth. Pakman’s work to emerge practical identity repaired the damage done by infiltrated consciousness and deprivation of opportunity. It is likely to be the case that “repair,” which sounds like something you do to a car, is a process that needs to be persistently present, given that the tissue of narratives that contribute to deform narrative identity persists within the social networks in which persons continue to live. And, indeed, it is the relationship that must change between those that tell damaging narratives about Others, and those Others themselves. If we take Rancière seriously, how is moral agency constituted without protest, Page 19 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives in a manner that would support the relational process of speaking and being heard? Nelson argues that this can be done through counternarrative. A counternarrative is “a story that resists an oppressive identity and attempts to replace it with one that commands respect” (Nelson, 2001, p. 6). In turn, oppressive identities are located in master narratives: the stories found lying about in our culture…consisting of stock plots and readily recognizable character types, repositories of common norms…exercise[ing] a certain authority over our moral imagination. (Nelson, p. 6) Following Nelson, master narratives oppress and damage identity (through infiltrated consciousness or deprivation of opportunity), and damage is repaired through counternarrative. She then identifies four characteristics of effective counternarratives13: first, a good counterstory constructs “people as fully developed moral agents” (p. 186); second, it is told by “quite a number of people” (p. 186); third, the counterstory that presents the identity of the speaker can take many forms; and finally, it “loosens the constraints on a person’s moral agency” (Nelson, 2001, p. 186). Although she does give some examples, the book ends without a developed theory about the practice of creating good counterstories. We have anecdotes but no theory of practice. Nonetheless, she certainly goes further than most in the development of a normative framework for (p.161) counternarrative because most research on counternarratives focuses on their ontological existence, not their capacity for destabilizing master narratives.14 Emery Roe offers some excellent analysis of policy debates, and we can learn from that what does not work. He notes, for example, that many of the policy narratives that never get traction are in fact the “anti” of an affirmative policy narrative (Roe, 1994). This is similar to the research done by Janet Rifkin and I, which looked at narrative patterns in mediation sessions. In this case, the antinarrative was not structured on an alternative story but only existed in opposition to the affirmative narrative. These antinarratives were almost never successful at gaining political traction. We can see from Roe’s research that they were not an effective strategy. But the critique is not just that they were empty in terms of a policy narrative, but also they did not materialize the presence of the “contradiction” between what the system espouses for all the people and the presence of inequality in their lives in a manner that could be heard by others. And, drawing on Nelson, the reason they could not be heard, we might imagine, is that the “anti” speakers were damaged in terms of their identity, their practical identity. Given the fact that the tissue that comprises the network of narratives in a policy debate is itself a form of speech that lacks natality and is instead formulated in terms of categories and generalizations rather than Page 20 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives specifics, the damaged identity on one side of the policy debate may well be damaged not by the Others but by the discourse in the policy community itself. Regardless of the source (i.e., the Other’s narrative [about the minority speakers] or the nature of policy discourse), the result is the same—natality is erased. And argument, making good reasons, stands in its place. However, good reasons do not alter the interaction in a conflict or emerge natality for minority speakers. Good reasons keep the conversations focused on strategy and away from the narrative construction of moral agency itself. Good reasons do not enable speakers to constitute themselves as legitimate with their Others. And it is precisely this dimension that is the foundation for critical narrative theory, the critical assessment of narrative in conflicts—power, from a narrative perspective, is constitutive of knowledge, shaping material practices and relationships, as Foucault has argued. But power is also a function of the way persons are positioned as moral agents, able to be seen by others as morally legitimate.

Legitimacy and Natality As noted at the beginning of this chapter, the ontological condition of narrative and its role in the production of conflict has been the focus of much research on narrative. But when we look closely, there has been little work that links narrative to critical theory, much less to transformative practice that addresses (p.162) oppression. Critical narrative theory, as per my discussion of discursive power, rests on Arendt’s notion that all people are born and, as such, they all have natality. If natality is that which enables us to be seen as being human, an individual, as opposed to a member of a group, then we need to develop a narrative account of what this means in terms of narrative content and process. Rancière specifies that it is the speaking of the contradiction, which, at the perlocutionary level, enacts equality by essentially pointing out the irony that they, as speakers, cannot speak or be heard. Although there are many other types of inequality that could be the focus in a given conflict, all forms of marginalization share the primordial condition of not being constituted as a speaker or being heard by the Others. Nelson argues that it is moral agency that is at stake, that the damage done to narrative identity must be repaired through effective counterstories. This requires more than complaints or protest. It requires the production of legitimacy for Self and ironically for Other, as indeed, this is the only way in which people can be elaborated as moral agents. But, given that the narrative that parties in conflict tell is diminished in terms of its complexity, it can be predicted that it will advance the legitimacy of the speaker and the delegitimacy of the Other. The conflict resolution process must, from this perspective, function to alter the content of the narratives under development. If legitimacy of the speaker is a precondition for his or her construction as a moral agent, then the conflict Page 21 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives resolution process should enable all parties to be constructed as legitimate; this would require not only altering the content of the conflict narratives (those that are spoken and those that are part of the narrative tissue), but also alter the way they are elaborated, in interaction. Building on a discursive approach to power, “asymmetrical conflicts” can be redefined as those in which parties have differential access to forums in which they can speak and be heard, as well as differential capacities to frame the conflict via a storyline in which they are legitimate. For example, the conflict in Somalia is indeed a multiparty conflict, but there are clear asymmetries between the access that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has to national and international media, and the access of those it would position as Other. The TFG has forums in which it can advance its narrative about the situation in Somalia. However, many on the ground who would confront the TFG have no or little access to media—they cannot be heard. It is interesting to note that the U.S. State Department has adopted a “dual-track strategy” in which it supports the TFG and is working to involve leaders from Somaliland, Puntland, and civil society, thus increasing the complexity of the speaking space.15 Clearly, this approach decenters the voice of the TFG because there are more voices present, including competing stories. (p.163) However, Al Shabbab, an insurgent group within Somalia, has absolutely no voice; in 2010, drawing on narrative theory, I wrote a draft reconciliation plan for Somalia and presented it to several Somali ministers, as well as to the President of Somalia, Sheik Sharif Ahmed. I met with U.S. State Department officials as well. In all of these conversations, I asked people about the “story” that Al Shabbab “wanted to destabilize Somalia.” When I pressed them (even the president) as to why Al Shabbab would want to do that, they resorted to a generic account—“they want to control Somalia.” When I pressed further for an explanation as to why they would want to do that, they said “they want power.” This is a pseudo-explanation of Al Shabbab’s motivations—it arises from a discourse of power that operates in a recursive way. The desire for power becomes the ubiquitous intention of “terrorist” groups. This foreshortened narrative has negative consequences for conflict resolution because the narrative does not require any elaboration. It is, from a narrative perspective, the “end of the line,” logically. This became obvious when I asked why they would want power. The answer was that they wanted to impose their religious beliefs on Somalia. Thus, their desire to impose their (religious) will on others is the narrative that is generally used by speakers to account for Al Shabbab. I am not suggesting that this is inaccurate, but I am suggesting that this narrative truncates exploration, exchange, or interaction between Al Shabbab and leaders either within or beyond Somalia. Absent a more complex narrative, the world not only refuses but outlaws interaction with this group (and others like them, such as Al Qaeda). Although I am not arguing that the world should normalize relations with terrorist groups, I am pointing out that the discourse of power in use prevents the development of the narrative and ensures that relationships do Page 22 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives not evolve, for, indeed, increasing the complexity of the collective story about Al Shabbab would evolve the relationship. However, this is an unlikely possibility because, once speaking is heard by Others as noise, they are less likely to engage with those Others, thus creating a vicious cycle in which not being heard reduces speaking. Even if talking with these groups was not outlawed, they are unlikely to engage. And, unless there is interaction, the content of the narrative is unlikely to evolve. The implications for the direction of the evolution of the content are both general and specific. Generally, conflict narratives will reproduce themselves, no matter the context (public or private). As this book is concerned with the development of the public sphere, with the creation of natality, and as natality requires the unique, specific details of real persons, new information must be generated—conflict narratives need to be interrogated in a way that forces them to introduce noncategorical information. This, in turn, will proliferate subplots and lead to the introduction of new characters and alternative moral (p.164) frameworks. Generally, critical narrative theory implies that increasing narrative complexity is generative of natality. But, more specifically, narrative content needs to evolve in the direction of legitimacy for all parties, which is, as I have noted, foundational for the construction of moral competency. It is here, at this level, that we need to understand more specifically what legitimacy for both parties means from a narrative lens. Clearly, positioning theory provides an excellent theoretical foundation for tracking legitimacy as a position in discourse (Harré and van Langenhove, 1999). And, as I have noted earlier, there is considerable work done to develop descriptions of the types of positions, as well as of the positioning process. There has been a wide acknowledgment that legitimacy is critical to the development of relationships (Hermans, 2001; Howie and Peters, 1996; Slocum and Langenhove, 2004; Slocum-Bradley, 2008; Tan and Moghaddam, 1999) and to the transformation of conflicts (Cobb, 2006; Harré and Slocum, 2003; Hicks, 2001; Lawlor, 2007; Winslade, 2003). And there have been many case studies that describe the nature of positions; however, most of the research focuses on the way positions are constructed in discourse. This is tantamount to the first move in social constructionism—we know that the positions are socially constructed. And we know how the positions, as described, are constructed. As noted earlier, we know that negative positions contribute to the creation of conflict. What we do not know is how delegitimate positions are transformed, in and though the evolution of narrative. In subsequent chapters, I offer a description of the aesthetics and mechanics of how legitimate positions in narratives can be constructed for both speakers and their Others. And I define this process as co-terminus with a narrative lens on conflict resolution. But this process should not be seen from a practical perspective, as a process for effective conflict resolution, without first providing Page 23 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives a framework that accounts for this process as a critical project. In this chapter, I have argued for the need of a normative perspective on narrative, one that can escape the tangles of relativism. Further, I have argued that a critical narrative theory should promote natality (in the public sphere); this is tied to the capacity of speaking and being heard, which is, in turn, tied to both the production of democracy, as well as to the production of moral agency for speakers and their Others. Using this framework, we can make the claim that narrative should promote moral agency, defined as capacity to speak and be heard. This is a critical narrative theory precisely because it mandates (as in “should”) the destabilization of “normalizing judgments” (White, 2007, p. 268), thus supporting the emergence of new descriptions of Self and Other. However, it is also normative in that I put forward a set of conditions pertaining to the plot sequences, characterizations, and moral frameworks, using the argument that some stories are “better” than others in evolving conflicts. From this perspective, I am myself making a set of normalizing judgments about the structure and processes of narrative that constitute speakers’ legitimacy in the context of conflict. (p.165) In the next chapter, I describe how the legitimacy of speakers’ positions in discourse is implicated in people’s capacity to witness and be witnessed by Others. Bibliography Bibliography references: Allport, G. W. 1979. The Nature of Prejudice. Unabridged, 25th anniversary ed. Reading: Addison-Wesley. Althusser, L. 1984. Essays on Ideology. London: Verso. Arnstein, S. R. 1969. “A Ladder Of Citizen Participation.” Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35 (4): 216. Atkins, K. and C. Mackenzie. eds. 2008. Practical Identity and Narrative Agency. Routledge studies in contemporary philosophy 14. New York: Routledge. Benhabib, S. 1987. “The Generalized and the Concrete Other.” In Feminism as Critique, ed. S. Benhabib, and D. Cornell 77–95. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Benhabib, S. 1992. Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics. 1st ed. New York, NY: Routledge. Benhabib, S., ed. 1996. Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Benhabib, S., I. Shapiro, and D. Petranović. 2007. Identities, Affiliations, and Allegiances. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bernstein, R. J. 1983. Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis. Oxford: B. Blackwell. Biesta, G. 2010. “A New Logic of Emancipation: The Methodology of Jacques Rancière.” Educational Theory 60 (1): 39–59. Brewer, M. B. and N. Miller. 1984. “Beyond the Contact Hypothesis: Theoretical Perspectives on Desegregation.” In Groups in Contact: The Psychology of Desegregation, ed. M. B. Brewer, andN. Miller, 281–302. New York: Academic Press. Burton, J. W. 1969. Conflict & Communication: The Use of Controlled Communication in International Relations. London: Macmillan. Burton, J. W. and F. Dukes. 1990. Conflict: Practices in Management, Settlement, and Resolution. The Conflict series v. 4. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Chasin, R., M. Herzig, S. Roth, L. Chasin, C. Becker, and R. R. Stains Jr. 1996. “From Diatribe to Dialogue on Divisive Public Issues: Approaches Drawn from Family Therapy.” Mediation Quarterly 13 (4): 323–344. Cobb, S. 1997. “Transcribing the Body and Materializing the Subject: Women’s Victim Narratives in Penalty Phase Testimony.” In ed. M. Huspek, and G. P. Radford (Eds.), Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of Other. SUNY series, human communication processes. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 195–230. ———. 2006. “Developmental Approach to Turning Points: Irony as an Ethics for Negotiation Pragmatics, A. Harvard Negotiation Law Review 11 (147): 147–197. Cobb, S., and J. Rifkin. 1991. “Practice and Paradox: Deconstructing Neutrality in Mediation.” Law & Social Inquiry 16 (1): 35–62. Cohen, J. 1997. “Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy.” In J. Bohman and W. Rehg, (Eds.), Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reason and Politics. Boston: MIT Press. pp. 67–91. Colburn, K. 1986. “Critical Theory and the Hermeneutical Circle.” Sociological Inquiry 56 (3): 367–380. Coleman, P. 2000. “Power and Confict.” In M. Deutsch and P. Coleman (Eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 108–130.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Cover, R. M. 1983. “Foreword: Nomos and Narrative.” Harvard Law Review 97: 4–68. Derrida, J. 2007. “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourses of the Human Sciences.” In C.H. Macksey, and A. Richard, (Eds.), The Structuralist Controversary and the Sciences of Man. 40th Anniversary. Baltimore: John Hopkins University. pp. 247–264. (p.166) Dore, I. 2010. “Foucault on Power.” UMCK Law Review 78 (3): 737–748. Fisher, R., W. Ury. and B. Patton. 2011. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. 3rd ed. New York: Penguin. Galtung, J. 1971. “A Structural Theory of Imperialism.” Journal of Peace Research 8 (2): 81–117. Gergen, K. 1996. “Theory Under Threat: Social Construction and Identity Politics.” In C.H. Tolman’s, (Ed.), Problems of Theoretical Psychology. Captus Press. pp.13–23. Gergen, K. J. 1995. “Social Construction and the Transformation of Identity Politics.” In Conference for The New School for Social Research Symposium. April, vol. 7. New York. http://www.swarthmore.edu/x20607.xml#practice. Gergen, K. J. 2009. Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community. New York: Oxford University Press. Giddens, A. 1979. Central Problems in Social Theory. London: Macmillan. Glendon, M. A. 1993. Rights Talk : The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. New York, NY— Glenndon, IL: Free Press. Habermas, J. 1985a. The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 1: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. Translated by Thomas McCarthy. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Habermas, J. 1985b. The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 2: Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Translated by Thomas McCarthy. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Habermas, J. 1992. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Habermas, J. 1996. Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hajer, M. 2003. “Policy Without Polity? Policy Analysis and the Institutional Void.” Policy Sciences 36 (2): 175. Page 26 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Hajer, M., and W. Versteeg. 2005. “A Decade of Discourse Analysis of Environmental Politics: Achievements, Challenges, Perspectives.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 7 (3): 175–184. Harré, R., and N. Slocum. 2003. “Disputes as Complex Events—On the Uses of Positioning Theory.” Common Knowledge 9 (1): 100–118. Harré, R., andL. van Langenhove, eds. 1999. Positioning Theory: Moral Contexts of Intentional Action. Oxford: Blackwell. Hebdige, D. 1991. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. New Accents. New York: Routledge. Hermans, H. J. M. 2001. “The Dialogical Self: Toward a Theory of Personal and Cultural Positioning.” Culture & Psychology 7 (3): 243–281. Hewstone, M., and R. Brown. 1986. “Contact Is Not Enough: An Intergroup Perspective on the Contact Hypothesis.” In Contact and Conflict in Intergroup Encounters, ed. M. Hewstone, and R. Brown, 1–44. Social psychology and society. New York: Blackwell. Hicks, D. 2001. “The Role of Identity Reconstruction in Promoting Reconciliation.” In Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation, ed. R. G. Helmick, and R. L. Petersen, 129–150. Radnor, PA: Templeton Foundation Press. Hopf, T. 1998. “The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory.” International Security 23 (1): 188–200. Howie, D., and M. Peters. 1996. “Positioning Theory: Vygotsky, Wittgenstein, and Social Constructionist Psychology.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 26 (1): 51–64. Huspek, M. 2007. “Normative Potentials of Rhetorical Action Within Deliberative Democracies.” Communication Theory 17 (4): 356–366. Jabri, V. 1996. Discourses on Violence: Conflict Analysis Reconsidered. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ———. 1998. “Restyling the Subject of Responsibility in International Relations.” Millennium—Journal of International Studies 27 (3): 591–611. Kelman, H. C. and S. P. Cohen. 1976. “The Problem-Solving Workshop: A SocialPsychological Contribution to the Resolution of International Conflicts.” Journal of Peace Research 13 (2): 79–90. Korsgaard, C. M. 1996. The Sources of Normativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Page 27 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Lawlor, R. 2007. “Redeeming Recognition Through Ideals of Democratic Legitimacy.” Contemporary Politics 13 (4): 291–311. (p.167) Lederach, J. P. 1995. Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures. Syracuse studies on peace and conflict resolution. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Lukes, S. 1974. Power: A Radical View. London: Macmillan. Lyotard, J. F. 1988. The Differend: Phrases in Dispute. Theory and history of literature series, vol. 46. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Mead, G. H. 1967. Mind, Self, and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Menkhaus, K. 2011. “Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping.” International Security 31 (3): 74–106. Mitchell, C., W. Zartman, and V. Kremenyuk. 1995. “Asymmetry and Strategies of Regional Conflict Reduction.” In Cooperative Security: Reducing Third World Wars, ed. I. W. Zartman, and V. A. Kremenyuk, 25–57. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Mitchell, C. R. 1991. “Classifying Conflicts: Asymmetry and Resolution.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 518 (1): 23–38. Mitchell, T. 1990. “Everyday Metaphors of Power.” Theory and Society 19 (5): 545–577. Moore, C. W. 2003. The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Norris, P., and R. Inglehart. 2009. Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World. New York: Cambridge University Press. Partner, N. 2008. “The Linguistic Turn Along Post-Postmodern Borders: Israeli/ Palestinian Narrative Conflict.” New Literary History 39 (4): 823–845. Pearce, W. B. 2007. Making Social Worlds: A Communication Perspective. Malden: Blackwell. Rahwan I., L. Sonenberg, and F. P. M. Dignum 2004. “On Interest-Based Negotiation.” In Advances in Agent Communication, ed.F. Dignum, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 2922, 383–401. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Ranciere, J. 1999. Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Translated by Julie Rose. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Rancière, J. 2001. “Ten Theses on Politics.” Theory & Event 5 (3). http:// muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_Event/v005/5.3ranciere.html. Rancière, J., 2004. The Philosopher and His Poor. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Rancière, J. 2007. On the Shores of Politics. New York: Verso. Resnik, J.,2005. “Living Their Legal Commitments: Paideic Communities, Courts and Robert Cover.” Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 757. http:// digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/757 Roe, E. 1994. Narrative Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Rorty, R. M. 1992. The Linguistic Turn: Essays in Philosophical Method. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rosenfeld, S. 2011. “On Being Heard: A Case for Paying Attention to the Historical Ear.” The American Historical Review 116 (2): 316–334. Rouhana, N. N. 2004. “Group Identity and Power Asymmetry in Reconciliation Processes: The Israeli-Palestinian Case.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 10 (1): 33–52. Rouhana, N. N. and H. C. Kelman. 1994. “Promoting Joint Thinking in International Conflicts: An Israeli-Palestinian Continuing Workshop.” Journal of Social Issues 50 (1): 157–157. Sanders, R. E. 1990. “Discursive Constraints on the Acceptance and Rejection of Knowledge Claims: The Conversation About Conversation.” In The Rhetorical Turn: Invention and Persuasion in the Conduct of Inquiry, ed.H. W. Simons, 145– 161. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Slocum, N., and L. van Langenhove,.2004. “The Meaning of Regional Integration: Introducing Positioning Theory in Regional Integration Studies.” Journal of European Integration 26 (3): 227–252. Slocum-Bradley, N.R. 2008. “Discursive Production of Conflict in Rwanda.” In Global Conflict Resolution Through Positioning Analysis, ed. F. M. Moghaddam, R. Harré, and N. Lee, 207–226. New York: Springer. (p.168) Tajfel, H., and J. C. Turner. 2004. “The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior.” In Political psychology: Key readings, ed. John, T. Jost and Jim Sidanius, 276–293. New York: Psychology Press. Page 29 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Tan, Sui-Lan, and F. M. Moghaddam. 1999. “Positioning in Intergroup Relations.” In Positioning Theory: Moral Contexts of Intentional Action, ed. R. Harré, andL. van Langenhove, 178–194. Oxford: Blackwell. Tilly, C. 2005. Identities, Boundaries, and Social Ties. Boulder, CO: Paradigm. Tolman, C. H. Cherry, F., Hezewijk, R. and I. Lubek. 1996. Problems of Theoretical Psychology. North York, Ontario: Captus Press. Weber, M. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Ed.G. Roth and,C. Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press. White, M. 2007. Maps of Narrative Practice. New York: W. W. Norton. White, M., and D. Epston. 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Winslade, J. 2003. “Discursive Positioning in Theory and Practice: A Case for Narrative Mediation.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Woodly, D. 2007. “New Competencies in Democratic Communication? Blogs, Agenda Setting and Political Participation.” Public Choice 134 (1–2): 109–123. Zarowsky, C. 2000. “Trauma Stories: Violence, Emotion and Politics in Somali Ethiopia.” Transcultural Psychiatry 37 (3): 383–402. Notes:

(1) See Tolman (1996) for an excellent collection of articles that provide the foundation for the critique of logical positivism, a critique replicated across social sciences. (2) I am referring to Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Review, Journal of Conflict Management, Group Decision and Negotiation, and Journal of Peace Studies. Other lesser journals (as measured by their ranking) such as Peace and Change, and Conflict Resolution Quarterly (Mediation Quarterly) focus on practice and case studies, and, although they have had many excellent articles, social constructionism, as a paradigm, has been only more visible in the past ten years. (3) See Mitchell’s (1990) excellent article that explores “coercion” as a metaphor, exploring underlying assumptions that reproduce traditional notions of power. (4) See Hopf (1998) for an excellent account of how constructivism, in the late 1990s, was contributing to the evolution of international relations. There is a similar process afoot in conflict resolution. Vivienne Jabri’s (1996) Discourse on Page 30 of 32

Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives Violence is an excellent resource for reviewing the implications of social constructionism for conflict resolution. (5) The Public Conversations Project has designed innovative processes to support conversations, in public settings, where new meaning, and new interactive patterns can emerge. See Chasin, Herzig, Roth, Chasin, Becker, and Stains 1996), as well as their website, http://www.publicconversations.org/blog. (6) See Colburn (1986) and Bernstein (1983) for this critique. (7) See Hebdige (1991) for discussion of subculture and the subaltern. (8) See N. N. Rouhana and H. C. Kelman (1994), Herbert C. Kelman and S. P. Cohen (1976). (9) See Rahwan, Sonenberg, and Dignum (2004) for an interesting description of interest-based negotiations. Their research inadvertently supports the point I am making because they show that parties must present certain kinds of arguments to the Others to be successful. This research shows that the quality of the conversation impacts the outcome. Again, by definition, those with less practical know-how (less experience) will be less able to represent their own interests. (10) See the comedy routine that contained this quote at www.richardpryor.com/ home.cfm. (11) Part of what makes Cover’s (1983) distinction between paeidic and imperial modes work is his assumption that the paeidic is more free, as it emerges from the kinds of social relations that are founded on care and connection. But thinking from the perspective of Foucault, this may well not be the case, for even these relations can be penetrated by “technologies of the self” that are loyal to the imperial mode. Regulation of the Self is rather something that is discursively produced, but, because of that, it is possible to create the discursive processes that open possibilities for exploration and evolution. (12) See Rancière, Jacques. 2001. “Ten Theses on Politics.” Theory & Event 5 (3). Section 23. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/ v005/5.3ranciere.html. (13) Nelson does not refer to these as “characteristics” but as “answers” to problematic questions posed by contemporary theorists that address relational ethics as intersubjective and discursive processes. However, I am using the word “characteristics” as I think one can indeed characterize good counternarratives using them. (14) This is very much the case in the analysis of the construction and transformation of “storylines” in Hajer’s (2003) research on policy analysis.

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Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives (15) See http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2011/160295.htm for a description of U.S. policy on Somalia. See also Menhaus (2011) for an interesting description of the conflict in Somalia that is typical in that it constructs the intentions of persons in the conflict in language they would not use, speaking for them in a way they would neither recognize, nor support, precisely because it delegitimizes them. However, for a contrasting approach, based on narrative, see Zarowsky (2000).

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter offers a theory of “witnessing” building on critical narrative theory. Following Foucault’s notion that subjectivity is regulated by discursive regimes, narrative regimes will be described and discussed re their relation the speaking subject. In contrast to existing approaches to conflict resolution that presume that identity is a form of internalized culture, anchored through personal experience, this discussion examines the nature of subjectivity that is constructed in conflict narrative and their dynamics. To rescue “subjectivity” from structuralism, this chapter draws on Oliver’s (2001b) critique of “recognition” which is reformulated as “witnessing”. This practice is described as a process for materializing the “concrete other” (Benhabib, 1992), which has, in turn, its own narrative regime. Illustrative cases will include refugee and immigrant narratives. Keywords:   witnessing, recognition, subjectivity, suffering

Hussein explained to me in a quiet voice that he had come to the United States from Somalia on an asylum visa; the violence of 1991 had been horrific, and he had been lucky to escape. After a thirty-year dictatorship, the civil war, framed as a clan war left many thousands dead and one in five persons internally displaced.1 Somalia’s dictator, Said Barre, was forced to leave the country in 1991, and armed militias ruled the country. Major cities, Hargeisa and Mogadishu, were decimated, and civilians fled for their lives. The United States and the international community bungled their response to the humanitarian Page 1 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes crisis and Somalia unraveled, becoming one of the most extreme models of a “failed state” (Menkhaus, 2011), with the dubious honor of topping the 2010 list of failed states in Foreign Policy.2 Hussein told me the story of his flight, by boat, from Somalia. The boat capsized, and he had to swim through shark-infested waters to the shore of a host county. Many of those who shared his ordeal did not reach the shore. The group that did got lost and had to make their way through a desert area. More people died along the way. But, finally, after walking for three days, they came to “civilization,” where they were provided with food, water, and shelter. He managed to find a job in a refugee camp, and the rest is history—he applied for and was granted political asylum in the United States, where he participates in activities connected with the Somali diaspora and follows the news “from home” carefully. He explained to me that the violence of 1991 remains largely undiscussed, a trauma that, while part of life for thousands of people, was never a topic of conversation, either in private settings or in public. It was his contention that Somalian society as a whole had not “healed” from the violence—the social bonds between, and even within, groups, are broken. I asked him why people did not discuss it, and he explained that they were ashamed and fearful. Those who stayed in Somalia during those years and did not challenge the impunity of the perpetrators were (p.170) ashamed. Those who had participated in the violence would violently contest any accusation of complicity. And those who escaped carry with them resentment as well as surviver’s guilt. Hence, there is no one within the culture who was in a position to call for truth or reconciliation.3 People were fearful that open discussion would lead to the kinds of accusations and counteraccusations that could encourage a return of the violence both at home and within the diaspora community. I then asked him specifically how those family members who stayed in Somalia were coping with the situation. He told me that his father would not talk about the violence nor mention friends and extended family who had died. I asked him if he had ever talked about the violence to anyone, and his eyes filled with tears. He shook his head. I asked him why he thought his father had not discussed it, and he said he thought his father felt guilty, guilty for surviving, ashamed for staying, and continuously humiliated for being afraid to talk about it. And Hussein’s father is not alone. No one in his extended family discusses the violence, what it did to them, and how they feel about it. We, in the West, frequently associate this lack of talking, this not addressing the impact of violence on the individual, with unresolved trauma and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But these psychological frames do not adequately describe the situation of the Somalian people, even though they continue to live in their present with this violent history (i.e., lost family Page 2 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes members, lost property, lost limbs). And it falls far short of a rich description of their suffering and how it disrupts and harms their lives today. Bracken, Giller, and Summerfield (1995) have argued that PTSD is a distinctly Western concept, founded on universalizing descriptions of psychological processes. They examine the discourse of PTSD and offer a critique, noting that it fails to consider the role of social and cultural processes: The self and its relationship with others and with the outside world is usually taken as a “given” and traumatic events are seen as having an impact on this self and these relationships in isolation from the social, cultural and political context. (Bracken, Giller, and Summerfield, 1995, p. 1075) Transcultural psychiatry has in fact documented different notions of health across cultures and different approaches to healing. Although some would argue that this cultural approach to war trauma promotes a kind of relativism, others building on this research describe how extreme violence breaks down social networks and the capacity of communities for maintaining rituals of healing (Kienzler, 2008). Indeed, while human suffering as a response to violence is (p. 171) universal, the experience of that suffering varies across culture; and it is increasingly clear that attention paid to the specific narratives of suffering in a given locale can reveal the particular nature of trauma and how it lives for victims of violence. For example, Zarowsky (2000)conducted research on the narratives of Somali people who had witnessed violence. He reports a paucity of stories of internal dysfunction or even emotional distress, such as sadness. Instead, they were stories of moral outrage about the violation of the network of kinship relations. Storytelling from this perspective is less about reliving trauma or sharing feelings—it is about mobilizing for political action, denouncing the violence, even if only within networks of friends and family. One can imagine that although this was culturally appropriate, this process could no doubt fuel the conflict, providing the foundation for a tit-for-tat sequence, a conflict escalation. So, even if we accept transcultural psychiatry’s cultural critique of PTSD on the assumption that both resilience and trauma are context-dependent, narratives of violence and violation are critically important to interrupting cycles of violence, and their absence, their exclusion, is equally critically important. Talking about violence is not important as a relief to built-up emotion, nor do we need to presume it is important to the healing process. But talking about violence is critical to containing violence within and through narrative, as it provides a structure to experience that orders it both causally and morally. So, although it may be therapeutic to tell a story of victimization (Agger, 1994; Goboda-Madikizeal, 2008; Mansfield, McLean, and Lilgendahl, 2010; Rechtman,

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes 2000), much depends on the nature of the witnessing of that story and its social construction within a collective. The silence of Hussein’s father is problematic for two reasons: First, it reflects the fact that he lives in a community in which his story cannot be told—there is no space in the network of relations where the violence and its meaning can be constructed with others. Although this might reduce the possibility of retributive violence because moral outrage is not present, history itself disappears because people cannot speak about the past. Tip-toeing around violent periods fails to make any sense of the past. Yet we know that reconciliation processes, peace negotiations, and justice itself cannot be done without accounting for the past. If, indeed, people in Somalia do not, or cannot, acknowledge or discuss the violent past, then have no history on which to build a future. And, indeed, this account fits the current circumstances. There have been fourteen “reconciliations” initiatives in Somalia; all of them have been focused on the creation of power-sharing agreements that apportion the participation of different political parties (which are, in turn, tied to particular clans). None of these reconciliations has provided a foundation for stability and security because none provides a history, a way of making sense of the violent past, or even provides the “disclosive” spaces where it could be done. It is likely that history is excluded in an effort to reduce accusations and obviate the need for trials or reparation, all of which could generate another round of violence. Indeed, the prior government suffered from debilitating (p.172) conflicts within, leading to the resignation of prime ministers and constitutional struggles between the president and the speaker of the Parliament. And, in the vacuum of leadership, the insurgent group Al Shabbab emerged as an offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts and took over large portions of the south. Mogadishu, the capital, was on and off under siege, and ministers are assassinated. Silence about the violence has not created the conditions for peace. And it continues to complicate Somali’s struggles. “The Roadmap”4 was adopted last year, extending the authority of the Transitional Federal Government, past the term allotted by the UN. However, for the Roadmap to function, there needs to be local and national processes in place for the relational landscape on the ground. While we can be heartened that there is a new legitimate government in place, and that they have developed a Roadmap, the silence of Hussein’s father is problematic for his immediate kin; Hussein will not raise the topic knowing that he would humiliate his father because Hussein presumes that his father is already telling himself a story that he is less of man because he has not been able to protect his family. So, not only is there no history on which to build the future of Somalia, the relational bonds within the family are harmed. In this case, there is no speaking, and there is no voice. Subjectivity itself is diminished.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes However, reversing this problem is no solution, for, indeed, telling the story of the violence, naming names, locating blame and responsibility, would provide the foundation for the next round of violence. It is not just any storytelling that is needed. It is not just the representation of events that would bring forth a working history or create the familial bonds anew. What is needed is a particular kind of storytelling that, in turn, demands a kind of witnessing that can generate the conditions for healing and learning at local and national levels. However, before addressing witnessing, I move to explore the nature of suffering and its recognition, offering a theoretical framework for suffering and a critique of recognition, both of which central to understanding witnessing as a narrative process.

Suffering and Its Recognition Spelman (1997) notes that there is a myriad of professions, including conflict resolution, whose work it is to generate compassion. For example, dialogue is often described as a conflict resolution process that helps people come into a new relationship with others by learning how to see the work from the perspective of the Other (Chasin et al., 1996; Isaacs, 1999; Yankelovich, 1999). Problem-solving workshops are likewise predicated on the assumption that learning about the other will build compassion and empathy as people are able to acknowledge the suffering of the Other (Kelman and Cohen, 1976). There are significant (p.173) theoretical problemas at the core of these practices, related to the assumption that suffering is universally the same. We know that differences in culture and context impact how people differently experience suffering and the way they make sense of it (Höijer, Lidskog, and Uggla, 2006). Yet conflict resolution interventions do little to theorize or address these differences in the experience of suffering. Additionally, empathy and compassion are treated as traits or characteristics of individuals; this paves the way for assessment of their capacity in this domain.5 Furthermore, much of the research on pro-social behavior draws on research methods that use Likert-style surveys of individuals and delimit the understanding of experience because respondents are forced to use the categories that researchers provide (Seu, 2010). Then there is the assumption that negotiation and conflict resolution could and should be understood in terms of a canon; this assumption fails to consider the crosscultural or historical implications, much less the epistemological differences in the diversity of research traditions pertinent to our understanding of conflict resolution.6 Finally, much of the research in conflict resolution presumes that the suffering of the occupied might be equivalent to the suffering of the occupiers, making suffereing symmetrical in contexts where are there vast power assymetries. This is an ethical issue for the field, as Rouhana (2004) has noted. Compassion (and empathy) are not internal events, intrapsychic phenomena, but rather are social plays in which the Hearer can elaborate the narrative of the person who is suffering, thus participating in the development of its texture, adding to its complexity. This is a Wittgensteinian language practice that creates Page 5 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes the narrative foundation for speaking and being heard. Building on her own notion that pain is private, Arendt worries, in The Human Condition (1998; first published in 1958) about making pain public. She notes that pain-in-public produces an alchemical process by which compassion is converted into pity—and at that moment in this public display, the sufferer becomes the object for the nonsufferer who becomes, as Spelman notes, “ventriloquist for the other” (Spelman, 1997, p. 67). Thus, in the public sphere, a narrative of suffering comes to stand for, to represent the experience of the hearer, rather than the speaker, and compassion is converted to pity. Moral agency is not repaired, because the hearer experiences the sufferer as a carrier for his or her own pain (the listener’s emotion). (p.174) Given that, as Girard (1977) has noted, we cannot help but gather over the body of the victim, Spelman is pushing us to ponder how the pain can be spoken in a manner that both constitutes the speaker as a human being and enables the listener to do something other than experiencing pity; indeed, pity is the evidence that the voice of the Other, as “Concrete Other,” is absent.7 It is also the evidence of the absence of a quality of listening, of hearing. Arendt’s concern for pity as the outcome of pain made public should be the object of our scrutiny in the field of conflict resolution, given the way conflict resolution, as a project, has been harnessed to development, diplomacy, and, more recently, security as well. There is, in my view, a perversity emerging when First World people, trained in reflective listening, find themselves in front of stories from conflict zones, their expertise as “conflict resolvers” made present through the authenticity of their pity for the Other. This pity is perverse precisely because it arises in memetic relation to violence itself; conflict resolvers and peacemakers of all ilk gaze on the victims and collect their stories, attracted to and repulsed by, as Girard imagined, torture, rape, and murder. In this process, the victim is sacrificed as the “community” is brought forward. Given that it is, all too often today, white Western peoples “helping” the destitute and violated people of color in Africa and elsewhere, conflict resolution is, from this perspective, another form of racism—white people use the suffering of people of color to regain a sense of themselves that they, the “empaths,” are good people; that they, the “helpers,” are not dead, murdered, dismembered. As Fontan (2012) has argued in her book, Decolonizing Peace, the foundational assumptions of peacebuilding all too often reflect those of colonialism, and reproduce the relations of dependency that disable the global south from designing their own futures. However, our theories of conflict resolution ignore the perversity of making suffering public, turning it into pity. It should be highlighted that this has nothing to do with poor character or twisted intentions on the part of conflict resolvers. It is a function of the under-theorizing in the field about compassion, pity, and empathy, as well as disattention to the liberal theory that undergirds peacebuilding. And, in turn, this speaks to the need to

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes explore the emergence of the concept of recognition and its limits and possibilities as a foundation for conflict-resolution–as-political-action.

The Paradox of “Recognition” as an Ethics of Conflict Resolution The critique of liberalism, brought on, in part, by the interest in multiculturalism, includes a significant questioning of tolerance as a foundation for social and political relations, with the argument that it (tolerance) does not go far enough (p.175) in either protecting the rights of marginalized groups or in affirming difference in a diverse society (Young, 1990). Although this challenged the dominant view of the state as neutral in relation to identity and its production (Lægaard, 2006), it raised a series of additional problems. For example, Thomassen (2011), citing Düttmann and Woodgate (2000), notes that to re-cognize the Other requires the already formulated existence of an identity in cognition. This is not only problematic because it is paradoxical—we know those who we already know—but it also quietly downloads the assumption that identities are stable and already formed rather than created and performed in action and are thus unbounded and ever incomplete. These problems reverberate in conflict resolution theory, which, in general, is premised on the notion that conflicts abate and solutions are created as parties come to “recognize” the other, not only in the sense that they know the other, but also in the sense that they actively signal that knowledge, letting the Other know, in the process, that they have been seen/heard. However, as Oliver (2001) points out, recognition is a Hegelian notion that has buried within it a concept of human relationship that downloads a problematic and paradoxical ethic for conflict resolution: [Recognition]…theories describe how we see ourselves in our likeness as the same or in opposition to what is (or those who are) different from ourselves. Relations with others are described as struggles for recognition. But if we start from the assumption that relations are essentially antagonistic struggles for recognition, then it is no wonder how contemporary theorists spend so much energy trying to imagine how these struggles can lead to compassionate personal relations, ethical social relations, or democratic political relations. From the assumption that human relations are essentially warlike, how can we imagine them as peaceful? (Oliver, 2001, p. 31) In challenging the notion that “relations are…antagonistic struggles for recognition,” she rejects the associated theories of identity that construct subjectivity as preformed, prior to engagement, prior to conversation. Further, she critiques Taylor’s (1992) notion that recognition is “conferred” on the Other by a judging subject who has found “worth” in the Other. This evaluation is an intellectual activity for Taylor and leads toward what Oliver calls “a market exchange [in which] we give recognition in exchange for something valuable to Page 7 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes us” (Oliver, 2001, p. 33). Taylor, she argues, not only assumes pre-formed subjects, but also presumes, in the midst of intersubjective processes, that judgment about the value of the Other is not itself contaminated by the process of intersubjective engagement and all the power relations that are enacted in that meeting. Indeed, the intersubjective space will mirror and recreate the structure of social relations that contribute to marginalize some Others, as well as some experiences. Thus, (p.176) intersubjectivity, and the resulting “recognition,” as Taylor (1992) has framed it, will not automatically produce either a normative framework for valuing the Other, nor can we count on it to produce a transformation in the relationships of those involved. As long as the value of the Other arises (or not) the assessment of the Other’s value, subjects are doomed to reproduce power and cultural relations that keep the invisible invisible, naturalizing the already known. This is not a basis for transformative relationships, and it provides an inadequate basis for conflict resolution practice. Oliver’s solution builds on the work of Judith Butler,8 who presumes that intersubjective spaces are spaces of performance in which subjectivity relies on the processes of exclusion and foreclosure to navigate not only relations with the Other but relations with Self as well. Once again, as Oliver makes clear, we need a theory of subjectivity that would not lead, deterministically, to suppression and denial of the Other as a way of constituting the existence of the Self. Oliver points out that although Butler has helped us focus on the process by which subjectivity emerges, that process is one in which oppression and exclusion of the Other within the subject and by the subject can only reproduce the fear and hatred (of Self and Other): “Butler’s theory can never take us out of an ‘us versus them’ notion of the relation between Self and others wherein we merely repeat original trauma suffered at the hands of others and react with rage directed at ourselves and others” (p. 39). So, although Butler does enable us to see that subjects are formed through performance in intersubjective space/ processes, she does not help us create an ethic for conversation or conflict resolution that can escape the violence she equates with the birth of subjectivity itself. Since the subjects themselves provide (or not) expanded or contracted (expanding or contracting) systems for exclusion, subjectivity itself must be the location for transformation, for evolution. Once the problem is traced to subjectivity, we are forced to retreat to a solution that resides within individuals, and, sure enough, Oliver offers us the notion of “vigilance” as antidote to Butler’s condition for exclusion for subjectivity and intersubjectivity. She argues for “vigilance in elaboration, analyzing and interpreting the process through which we become who we are, the process through which we become subjects and othered” (Oliver, 2001, p. 139). Somehow, if we try really hard (vigilance), or we are careful and watchful, we can escape the centrifugal force of solipsism

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes whereby we use the dialogic condition we live within to reproduce the patterns of exclusion core to the reproduction of Self and Other. In my view, we cannot build an ethics for conflict resolution practice on vigilance. If the condition for subjectivity, the domain for its creation, is intersubjectivity and dialogue, then we must design an ethical practice that exists in that (p.177) relational space and attends not to intrapsychic or psychodynamic processes but to the conditions that regulate the conversation within that relational space.9 In the next section, I argue that whereas “recognition” cannot provide the basis for a normative theory of conflict resolution practice, witnessing can, because it enables a focus on the discourse, on the conversational process that is the domain in which relationships are constituted and transformed. Although recognition is a concept that refers to the internal cognitive activity of a subject, witnessing is a verb: It is a practice in interaction that refers back, not to individuals, but to the interaction itself.

Witnessing: An Ethics for Transformative Practice People come to conflict resolution for a remedy, not for a solution, as Fiss (1984) has suggested. They come not just to settle a dispute, but to tell their story,10 to be heard, to relate their suffering and address the injustice. Conflict resolution is potentially remedial, not only for the problem, but for the relationship between parties and for the social order itself. The victim story that invariably initiates a conflict resolution process (on both or multiple sides of the conflict) derives its strength and trajectory, its sticking power, from the wounds that are named and the weapons that are associated. Conflicts have, at their base, a story of suffering that, when allowed to appear, re-centers attention to the pain, the exclusion, the violence of the actions of the Other(s). Because victim stories are always a story of suffering, they also function as a cry of injustice and a call for conflict resolution. (p.178) This view of conflict resolution as a set of stories of suffering deepens our view of the phenomenon of conflict resolution itself; conflict resolution, like all other “conversations,” including those in formal legal settings, is a process by which a world of meaning and a set of associated relationships are brought forth through and in the storytelling process. To the extent that any setting or conversation is emancipatory, it is so as a function of that storytelling process. This process can contribute to new knowledge of Self, new patterns of interaction with others, as well as new institutionalized “insertions” for Self and Other in the social and political orders. The stories inhabited and launched from a conflict resolution process (or from any settings in which suffering is elaborated) have the potential to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar as people begin to elaborate different stories about Self and Other. Stories of violence11 and violation are places where the story of victimization, its origin, is constituted. And, in this process, both symbolically and literally, people gather to make sense of who did what to whom and why. Although Girard (1977) Page 9 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes postulates that we are drawn by desire toward the victim, at the very moment when we exclude (or make abject) the victim, I prefer to bypass the explanation for why we gather around the victim and simply try to understand what happens as victims appear: How do they appear? How does the moral system, which subsequently evolves to judge and account for the violence, emerge? And how does it seed other social settings? How does this process give rise to both community and to law (morality) itself, as Girard claims it does? In other words, to create the alternative to “vigilance,” I prefer to focus on the pragmatics pertaining to the how of victim stories, so that we may track their role in the production of social change, as well enable their transformation. In this way, I hope to connect the process of witnessing with the narrative processes that are critical to telling victim stories.

Stories of Suffering Scarry (1985) has noted that pain, precisely because it resists language (people find it difficult to put pain into language), often shows up in the form of a story about wounds and weapons. Her description of the way that the tortured locate their attention/description on the weapon used to inflict pain and on the resulting wounds is instructive, for it provides third parties with a method for listening for pain. Suffering is a story about some unnatural event, some aberration, caused by accident or intention, by nature or by person, which leads to the creation of wounds. Those “wounds” may be storied as financial loss, pending separation (p.179) from children via divorce, environmental degradation, or the like; the narrative form links the wounds (outcomes) to the weapons (cause) via the actions of the Other. Although oncologists’ offices may be places where the weapon is not a person, but rather a tumor,12 conflict resolution settings are places where each party accuses the Other(s) as having caused the pain, as having inflicted the wounds. Scarry refers to this language of pain, this construction of wounds caused by weapons, as the “language of agency,” and, indeed, agency is all too often located only outside the speaker, in the Other. This is particularly the case in conflict scenarios, in which each party struggles to establish and maintain the role of victim for Self and the role of the victimizer for the Other(s); plot sequences are most often very linear, in that they relate a set of events that lead to outcomes without depicting how the speaker’s own actions contribute to the production of those outcomes. In this way, stories of suffering rely on linear, as opposed to circular, plots. The moral themes mobilized to judge the Other’s actions are simultaneously used to position the speaker as moral, as good. From this perspective, stories of suffering should not be seen as historical accounts of action, but as political accounts that mobilize an ethics for evaluating action. But even this political view of stories of suffering is a rather instrumental view of narrative and presupposes a nonproblematic

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes relationship between narrative and pain, between the experience of violation and the account of it. This view of suffering (as political narrative) is very different from the perspective of those who focus on trauma in that the latter presumes that the storyteller may be unable to narrate the events because (a) the events themselves resist explanation—normal narrative logic cannot contain or tame extreme violence (Langer, 1991); or (b) the narrator is psychologically unable to get the story out because he or she has repressed it, precisely because it remains bigger than the Self (Felman and Laub, 1991). There is a very clear sense in this body of research, for example from Holocaust testimonies, that narrative cannot come into being because, paradoxically, it cannot reveal or materialize the astonishment, the silence, the inversion that accompanies the violence. For this reason, Oliver (2001), following Felman and Laub (1991), argues that it is the process of giving testimony, which refers, in turn, to the presentation of personal knowledge, belief, or experience, that allows people to develop some relationship with the violence such that they can tame it through storytelling and analysis. And it is in and through the telling that persons are presumed to return from violence, to recover, to heal (Herman, 1997). I would suggest that this therapeutic perspective obfuscates our understanding because it presumes that the problem around narrating violence lies in the psychological effects of violence, rather (p.180) than in the problematic and paradoxical relationship between violence and language itself. Building on the latter theory, following Scarry, it is possible to see what is truly unique about testimony. Its uniqueness is totally related to the fact that no other person can give testimony for someone else: What does testimony mean, if it is the uniqueness of the performance of a story that is constituted by the fact that, like an oath, it cannot be carried out by anyone else? (Felman and Laub, 1991, pp. 205–206) Oliver (2001) notes that it is the performance of testimony, as the act of bringing the extraordinary into language, that makes it unique, remarkable. What makes testimony remarkable is not the nature of the events that are related, despite the fact that they may be extraordinary, but rather the performance itself, the act, the process of bringing the “silences and blindnesses, inherent in the event” (p. 86). And, given that it is impossible to bring forth silence/blindness, the act of giving testimony is the act of making this impossibility visible, of bringing it to language, even as it resists language. There is much that cannot be said and much that will resist language, either because of the terrible nature of those events (Langer, 1991), or, as Butler has noted, because of the condition of language itself—the referent is never the thing to which it refers, the signifier is never the signified, the map is not the territory.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Oliver asks why it is necessary to witness the impossibility of giving testimony, of being the witness, and responds to her own question by arguing that we need to “listen to the performance beyond meaning” (p. 39) because any effort to testify is an effort to repeat what cannot be either repeated or represented. Thus, the performance is less about the events referred to and more about the speaker, the teller, for it is in the nature of what they make abject, of what they exclude, of what they leave unspoken, of what they formulate as Other that we can know them. By witnessing them, at the limits of subjectivity, at the edge of identity— there, where they struggle to make reality intelligible—there, we can see who they are, in our eyes, and there that they can know themselves. So it is in there, in that place where people frame their suffering, where they struggle to tame experience, that there needs to be a witness. The act of bearing witness as people testify to their experience opens up the space in which storytellers can attend to their dependence on the (excluded) Other, a space in which they can reinscribe themselves, in performance, via elaboration with us-as-Others. This is a transformative space precisely because the performance is always at the margins of the ordinary, the mundane, and the expected. Interpretation configures and reconfigures the ways in which we conceive of ourselves and others, and thereby adds transformative power to the mobility of meaning. (Oliver, 2001, p. 38) (p.181) From this perspective, stories of victimization, of suffering, because they emerge at the juncture where the (foreclosed, excluded) Other makes itself visible as “the secret heart that beats in the subject” (Oliver, 2001, p. 37), are precisely the place where transformation is most possible because the repetition involved, resignification, stretches the limits of discourse, of language, and of experience of Self–Other. This space is critical to personal, relational, and social transformation because it is a liminal space in which meaning is easily unhinged, where boundaries between Self–Other and between past and future function as thresholds for becoming, for evolution. And this is the space for political action, where structural relations can be challenged in ways that do not simply reproduce existing frameworks of meaning. Arendt has suggested that political action is storytelling as “an alternative to the model of impartiality defined as detached reasoning” (Disch, 1993); where Habermas rests his theory of communicative action on “argument,” Arendt seems to know, presciently, that arguments carry reasons masquerading as grounded on logic or facts. Alternatively, Arendt bases her theory of political action on the performance of narrative, on story, noting that it “works” not on the basis of good reasons or arguments, or even persuasion, but on the basis of an account that personally ties the speaker to his or her perspective, making that perspective accessible as a perspective:

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes For Arendt, critical understanding involves telling or hearing multiple stories of an event from the plurality of perspectives that it engages. One purpose of testing one’s perspective against the perspectives of others is to take a stand in full recognition of the complexity and ambiguity of the real situations in which judgments are made. One further purpose is to hold oneself responsible to argue with and speak not only to those with whom one agrees but to those with whom one disagrees. This means not simply acknowledging the inevitable partiality of any individual perspective but insisting that perspectival differences be raised, contested, and situated in reference to each other. The point is not consensus or accuracy but plurality and accountability. (Disch, 1993, p. 688) Drexler (2007) used Arendt’s notion of “action” to challenge the existing presumptions about participation itself—action was disruptive of the existing order; it is not just activity inside the framework that is provided in a given context, nor is it “shaming” others to obey that given framework—it is moving to generate uncertainty about that framework, and I would add, destabilizing it in the process. Drexler argues: I am interested in their capacity for bringing to the surface the nature of democracy as uncertain, contingent, and precarious. I am interested in holding on to those moments forced outside constructed markers (p.182) of certainty drawing attention to the possibilities that arise in that fleeting moment of uncertainty, when the act is dispersed and reaction becomes an action in itself—an act of (re)constructing a marker of certainty. (Drexler, 2007, p. 13) But simply telling a story of suffering does not construct a marker of uncertainty. In my view, Arendt is much too trusting of narrative and seems to presume that the storytelling itself could or would create a new “marker of uncertainty” or a new way of acting/meaning. However, stories of suffering are also quite resistant to transformation because their liminal (becoming) nature has been significantly reduced through retelling and rehearsal. As people tell the story to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, it gathers certainty and creates for itself the status of “fact.” If this is the case, it is simply not enough to witness stories of suffering in a passive mode, but rather in an extremely active one, not because listening is “active” (in fact, I will argue below that “active listening” is an extremely passive mode that bypasses the transformative power of language) but because witnessing suffering requires a mode of inquiry that can call the storyteller back to the liminal place in which testimony makes a renewed effort to map the world and, in the process, remakes that world anew. What kind of listening, what mode of inquiry could support transformation? How would practitioners know the difference between a transformative process of storytelling and one that simply Page 13 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes reconstitutes the foreclosures (expulsion of the Other) that have become not only familiar but all too necessary for the production of the legitimate Self in contrast to the delegitimate (immoral) Other? “Vigilance” is not an instruction that yields insight into transformative practice; rather, I argue that witnessing is the process of elaborating stories of suffering in ways that open them to a new aesthetic, one that leads to the emancipation of the teller and the witness. And, indeed, victims do need to be emancipated through language, either because they have no story and they must claim experience through storying it, or, at the other end of the spectrum, they are totally captured and seduced by a story that has been told and retold such that the narrative provides the guiderails they use to move through their lives. In courtrooms, prosecution witnesses are rehearsed so that their testimony loses all relation to their experience of violence. Even so, there are some places, such as in the testimony of victims to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) or to the Argentine Commission on the Desappearence of Persons, where the experience exceeds language—the Other appears utterly unknowable, beyond foreign, as we watch the storytellers struggle to constitute themselves as persons. In other places, as in therapy processes, the resignification process that people do is often new, fresh, poorly organized, untamed, and even rowdy. Play with language itself is not uncommon, as storytellers experiment with the expulsion/rejection of Self and Other. In conflict resolution, however, there is very little freshness; storytellers (p.183) are not at the edge of language but instead deeply anchored in their description of their suffering, imprisoned in the conflict’s interactional patterns. When parties in conflict recount their suffering, as I noted earlier, they invariably formulate their legitimacy on the delegitimacy of the Other; they accomplish this performance by producing linear rather than recursive plot lines, by framing themselves as victims of the Other(s), and by laying a moral foundation, a set of themes that march in step with their own actions, while disqualifying the actions (and the being) of the Other. Thus, the narrative system of a story of suffering truncates “reality” not because the story is incomplete (as if completeness or accuracy could provide an aesthetic frame for evaluating stories),13 but because it reproduces violence and conflict and does not yield new ways of knowing the world. An aesthetic of narrative would provide a theory for assessing stories by what they create as they are performed, by what they tolerate in terms of alteration, by the way they invite uncertainty rather than foreclosure. To function in this way, narrative must be performed at the limits of testimony. Thus, bearing witness is the process of pushing narratives toward that edge where meaning is born, where new ways of knowing Self and Other are called forth. It is in the context and the process of performing subjectivity that a new relationship between Self/Other can be brought into being.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Toward an Aesthetic Ethics for Narrative Elaboration We know that the nature of the stories we tell is structured by the context, by our history, by interaction with others, so that discourse functions to discipline and regulate the nature of who we can be at any given time. Conflict resolution is no exception. Having rehearsed their story, people come to conflict resolution processes telling a story that positions them as legitimate and gives warrant for their request/demand. Third parties (i.e., interviewers) tend to “govern” the nature of the stories told, inadvertently allowing participants to foreclose or exclude the Other through delegitimization. Third parties treat stories as though they were (a) tools for closing the gap between the real and the imagined, so they ask questions designed to increase the narrative’s ability to represent reality; and/or (b) sacred accounts that represent internal states, so they cannot be altered without violating the sanctity of the person telling the story. In both cases, third parties presume that the story represents rather than constructs reality.14 Conflict resolution, as a practice, inherited its narrative theory from formal legal processes in (p.184) which testimony is a representation of history and, thus, accuracy is the focus. However, cut from its legal moorings, conflict resolution has long presumed that narrators have the right to tell any story they choose—the accent is on the ownership of the story. Anchored by the way in which a given story represents reality, third parties contribute to the gravity of that story as they work to protect the narrative from mutation, particularly from any mutation they themselves would foster. In fact, the ethics of conflict resolution itself mandates “impartiality”15—third parties are not expected to participate in the design of the narrative or to actively shape its content, its morality, to destabilize or alter the subjectivity of the storyteller. However, as Foucault and others have noted, each narrative and each narrative genre functions to limit the nature of the subjectivity that can be enacted—our stories capture us. Emancipation from those limits would require alterations in the way the story is told, as well as in the content of the story itself. Yet third parties are instructed against it by the traditional ethical format caveat, and, consequently, not trained to ask questions that destabilize and reformulate the nature of the stories told. As a result, all too often, third parties inadvertently pour concrete over the symbolic paths that people walk, precisely because they do not challenge and destabilize narratives, as that would cross the boundary from managing process to altering content, a boundary policed by the concept of neutrality. However, transformative mediation is an example of a practice that anchors attention to the voice of the parties, as well as the relationships between parties, is the focus of attention. Although they do not advocate altering the content of the narrative, and in fact it would be for them a violation of their ethical mandate to respect the voice of the parties, in these situations, conflict resolvers see attention to “voice” as resonant to a narrative approach. Bush and Folger (1994, 2004), in their model of transformative conflict resolution, have espoused Page 15 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes a theory by which the mediator, practicing reflective listening, paraphrases back to a speaker what he or she says. They espouse the notion that this process creates the conditions in which speakers experience the third party as empathetic. They, the speakers, are then in a position to recognize the needs of the Other. Bush and Folger consider that these two moves, empathy and recognition, are critically important to the evolution of the parties’ relationships. While I have little doubt that indeed their process is effective, and both are excellent mediators, I am also skeptical of this analysis of transformation and think that, there are other processes in play than the psychological ones they name (empathy and recognition). For example reflective listening may well generate the speech conditions in which parties are able to take their own voice as object. This might (p.185) imply that conflict is itself a process in which people speak and are not heard (by their Other). So the reflective listening is the repair process in which people take their own voice as object, as their voice is presented back to them in a more palatable way via reflective listening. Although this practice does not alter the content of the narratives that are under development, it allows persons to become speaking subjects. And this is, no doubt, a precondition for the transformation of the relationship. This would suggest that it is not empathy that is at work, setting the stage for a transformation of relationship, but the return of voice itself—it is the speaker’s experience of herself as a speaking subject that enables the relation with Other to transform, as is the goal of Bush and Folger.16 Although the transformative model is indeed a normative model, advocating the creation of empathy as precursor to recognition, both prerequisite to the transformation of relationships, it is, like other conflict resolution practices, normative in relation to process, not to content. However, despite this disattention to narrative, parties involved in transformative conflict resolution manage with regularity to alter narrative below the level of their own radar regarding their own participation. Parties report17 alterations in their relationships with Self, they report a sense of being respected by the Other, they report relief over having the problem resolved. All of these changes require shifts in the nature of the story being told. However, evaluation research in conflict resolution has yet to track these changes with any regularity.18And without tracking these alterations, third parties remain blind to the difference they make, to their impact on the story. Thus they remain less able to account for their own participation Should they begin to track their participation in terms of the way they contribute to opening new narratives, they would be entrapped in an ethical conundrum, because the field of conflict resolution does not have ethical guidelines for narrative evolution or transformation. And, thus, third parties may be constrained by the limits of their ethical code from witnessing narrative, as the domain for change, in a way that transforms meaning and relationships. But the Page 16 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes limits of the ethical code are only a small problem—the bigger problem is that (p.186) there is no normative theory in narrative that could be used as a basis for ethical practice. As discussed earlier, this is related, in turn, to the way testimony is understood as a representation of historical fact, rather than the act of bearing witness to that which is not visible or recognizable to others precisely because it reports a unique and personally specific knowledge that, by definition, is not general knowledge. What are the ethics of witnessing? How can third parties participate in the creation of this unique personal knowledge in a manner that opens parties to new ways of being, to new and transformed relationships? What is a normative frame that we could use to make sense of our role as participants in the evolution of narrative? How would we know if narratives were evolving in a good direction? How would we know if the trajectory of change was ethical? Unmoored from the safe and easy distinction made between content and process, how are third parties to know how to participate in the process, ethically?

How Subjectivity Is Changed by Reducing Narrative Reliance on the Rejection/Disqualification of the Other We know from the research on narrative that intervention in narrative alters its trajectory and associated patterns of interaction.19 However, none of this research details an ethical framework that practitioners could use to guide their practice in narrative transformation, other than a broad and general commitment to emancipation in White and Epston’s (1990) case, escaping the disciplinary (p.187) power of dominant discourses, and in Mattingly’s (1998) case, escaping the stories of incompetence and fostering stories of competence and personal agency. Perhaps our focus should be not on the outcome (agreements or consensus); but the process this would draw attention to the directionality or trajectory of the evolution of the narrative, rather than its completed “transformation.” I am suggesting that tracking change itself in narrative, as “state change” (from one narrative to the next) is not enough—we need to know more than just that a narrative changes. Transformation itself does not indicate to us how a narrative should change. There is no normativity in transformation alone. Yet, without a normative framework, the witnessing process is unmoored from criteria that would enable the witness to participate critically in the development of any given narrative; without a normative framework for making sense of how to participate, witnesses would be forced into a passivity that would forecast the return of reflective listening. Pragmatics is not enough; functionalist criteria that tell us how to change stories beg the question—it is not that change occurs, but the quality of the change that matters. Furthermore, we need a method for assessing the quality of the stories under construction.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Assessment of the quality of narratives requires attention to aesthetics—a framework for valuing some narratives over others. Kristeva (1991) has noted that learning/growth or evolution requires “working through” (Oliver’s use of a traditional psychoanalytic term, borrowed from Butler [2011]) the way that our legitimacy all too often requires the exclusion/foreclosure of the Other, and this perpetuates conflict and violence. However, in this wish, this hope, this implied ethic, there is reliance on the connection between understanding and transformation, as if knowing more about our narrative (conditions) would actually enable changes in ethical directions. This is not necessarily the case at all. People can transfigure subjectivity (theirs and others) without working through (i.e., coming to understand) the past. However, I would argue that alterations in subjectivity do require shifts in the stories themselves, regardless of whether people understand (stand under) the functional processes related to their stories. Thus, I would again argue that a normative framework for conflict resolution is equivalent to a normative theory for evaluating narrative, not a theory for evaluating attitude shifts or increased learning. The literature on aesthetics of language/narrative is, in turn, silent on the question of an ethics of transformation. Within literary criticism there is much written on coherence, completeness, or even the presence of self-awareness in the narrative.20 Yet all these criteria are static in that they speak to structural/ (p.188) functional features of narrative without connecting those features to a theory of ethical practice. Herein lies the rub: The ethical or normative theory does not address the criteria by which we would assess narrative evolution,21 other than through a pragmatic or functionalist perspective; conversely, literary criticism does offer insight into ethical practice as it might pertain to the evolution of narrative. Vivienne Jabri (1998), in her excellent article, “Restyling the Subject of Responsibility in International Relations,” offers a suggestion: “[T]o rethink emancipation in terms of an aesthetic ethics, where the individual has the capacity to re-invent her or his mode of being, to enact…a form of transfiguration wherein the individual sees her/himself as a work of art” (p. 592). I would only add that the individual is also seen by Others as a “work of art.” “Having the capacity” requires being positioned in the discourse, in the narratives that are launched by Self and Other, such that evolution is possible. It is reminiscent of Nelson’s (2001) notion of “moral agency,” which frames agency as being seen by others as having the capacity to make moral choices; so the concrete features of narratives that are told about Self constitute the Self as moral agent. “Agency,” for Nelson, is thus not a phenomenological feature of being human, but is rather an artifact of the discourse, of the way in which people are positioned in discourse “as having capacity” for action.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes “Action” following Arendt, is intertwined with her notion of “plurality [which] is specifically the condition—not only the condition sine qua non, but the conditio per quem—all of political life” (Arendt, 1998, p. 7). Bernstein (2002) elaborates: Plurality, for Arendt, mean much more than “otherness” and “difference”… [for she]…wants to highlight the singularity of each individual, a singularity that resists reduction to a common essence…. It is because of this plurality that each of us has a different perspective on a common world. (Bernstein, 2002, p. 212) There are really two dimensions of plurality buried in Arendt’s notion—it is for her an injunction to preserve the variability of who people are, as individuals, as singular beings, within the public sphere. This is critically important to (p.189) stave off the emergence of totalitarianism. But within narrative itself, “plurality” can refer to the multiplicity of subjectivity, of selves, that could be and are constructed through interaction. Plurality from this perspective staves off the fixedness of identity itself. So, at its core, plurality is a mandate to ensure differences in terms of the versions of Self, as well as differences across people in the public sphere, which requires that no one person comes to stand for a category of people, but that each one is a “work of art.” Action, which arises from plurality, is spontaneous, by Arendt’s definition (Arendt, 1998). It is “boundless” to the extent that its effects cannot be predicted; in this way, it cannot be contained by our concept of “intention,” which links, in a linear way, the logical, planful, and rational connections between the actions of any actor and the outcomes they desire to produce. This, in my view, is a critically important feature of Arendt’s post-Enlightenment thinking—she helps us see action systemically and intersubjectively. From a systemic perspective, the acts of an individual never emanate from a discrete Self but always in the context of a broader set of relations, even though people can experience themselves as the source of their own actions and describe themselves that way to Others. For example, in the context of Hussein’s story of migration, he talks about “choosing to come to the United States.” Arendt note that intentions, in general, can only be short term because we cannot know ahead of time the impact of any of our actions on the system in which we are acting. This feedback loop creates a reflexivity, and we are unable to see very far into the future. Thus, intentions are close to the “here and now,” despite the rhetoric of any plans an actor or actors may have. Any plans, even “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,”22 are both conceived of and carried out within an intersubjective space—which at some level makes plurality itself possible. “Spontaneous” action is thus not simply action that originates with an individual, but action that is outside of the frameworks, the meaning that the system provides. This is critically (in all senses of that term) important. Action must be, if we follow Arendt, that which is orthogonal to the mandates of the system and Page 19 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes the technologies that constitute given subjectivities. So being human is not just acting because, as Arendt points out, acting within a totalitarian system converts human beings to nonhumans. It need not be intentional; that is, action that planned to have a particular effect. It can be screaming, painting, or even, in some contexts, taking a nap. Activity that is not action is activity that follows the rules, as Drexler (2007), quoting Arendt (1970b, p. 15) notes: …Arendt argued that a conception of action that posits autonomous intentioning according to principles ultimately means that we are following rules—in other words, we are behaving: “practical reason ‘reasons’ and tells me what to do and what not to do; it lays down the law (p.190) and it is identical with the will, and the will utters commands; it speaks in imperatives.” (Drexler, 2007 p. 9)23 Arendt was concerned to account precisely for a totalitarian system, which was designed to take away the possibility of spontaneous action and constitute it as “superfluous” or unimportant. Ironically, if not tragically, the nature of the system, as well as the intersubjective space, can function to “police” human beings, thus making “action,” in the Arendtian sense, less likely. All of Arendt’s work is pointed toward helping us understand the conditions in and through which natality is destroyed. However, we know less about how natality is preserved, enhanced, or materialized. Arendt does an excellent job of creating the necessity for natality but did not go further to explain the conditions under which it is materialized; given that it can, and all too often is, denied, the conditions for its emergence would, as Jabri imagined, enable us to construct each other as “works of art.” Based on the critique of recognition, we know that this cannot be done by reflective listening—if indeed people are stuck in stories they did not make and cannot change, repeating the story further deepens the traction of those stories. In its stead, the practice of witnessing, founded on an aesthetic ethics, provides a framework for people to do something other than build their subjectivity on the exclusion of the Other. To make this transfiguration happen, the conflict story must be evolved in the direction of not excluding the Other. In the chapter that follows, I explore the nature of this aesthetic ethics for narrative practice in conflict resolution by providing a model of the “better-formed” story that enacts the natality of all parties in a given conflict. Witnessing others is a process, in my experience, of falling in love, of coming to value people along dimensions that they themselves do not advance or promolagate. I remember the various moments when, in conversation with Hussein, I marveled at his ability to survive, at his intelligence, and his intention to help heal “broken bonds” in Somalia. But our conversations have not only been affirming of him—I have challenged his assumptions about the Transitional Page 20 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Federal Government, as well as his views on Al Shabbab. I have admonished him when he told me a story of his interaction (online, in an electronic forum) with one of the Somali elders, and subsequent to our conversation, he then sent a note of apology to that elder. Although our conversations have not come to an end, and we continue to imagine how to support the development of a new kind of reconciliation process in Somalia,24 we are in a new chapter. The old chapter (p.191) was one in which Hussein was clear as to who were the bad guys and good guys in Somalia, who was helping and who was hurting Somalia’s development. This new chapter is not based on relativism, where everyone is the same (in that they are all legitimate human beings)—but is, rather, one in which his eyes are no longer filled with tears but are laughing. When we talk about Somalia, he looks impish, like a trickster, someone who is both inside and outside the struggles and dilemmas. He laughs about his lack of knowledge of Al Shabbab, knowing that they have a story, a legitimate story, which at one point he denied. It is this before-and-after that brings a twinkle to his eye—he knows that he does not know and that he used to operate as though he knew. His relation to his own knowledge has changed, and he is a different person. He is curious, open, excited, if not delighted, to explore outside of the boundaries of his old narrative about who was right and wrong. He can make meaning outside of the script that he was provided by the situation, by the culture, by his clan membership. And he smiles a lot. Before describing this aesthetic ethics in detail, I wanted to note that natality, as an experience, is joyous; it shows on people’s faces and in their eyes. A narrative approach to conflict resolution is, for me, not pointed only at improving our theories so that we can be, as conflict resolvers, more effective. It is also about authorizing a ringside seat to wonder, it is about being with other people who become human beings in interaction with us, and, in that process, we, as practitioners, become human. There is, from this perspective, much at stake in the development of this practice of narrative intervention. Bibliography Bibliography references: Agger, I. 1994. The Blue Room: Trauma and Testimony Among Refugee Women: A Psycho-Social Exploration. London: Zed Books. Arendt, H. 1970. On Violence. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. Arendt, H. 1970. Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Ed. Ronald Beiner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. ———. 1998. The Human Condition. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. “Discourse in the Novel.” In The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed.M. Holquist, 259–422. Austin: University of Texas Press. Benhabib, S. 1987. The Generalized and the Concrete Other. In Feminism as Critique, ed.S. Benhabib, andD. Cornell, 77–95. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bernstein, R. J. 2002. Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation. Malden, MA: Polity. Besteman, C. 1996. “Representing Violence and ‘Othering’ Somalia.” Cultural Anthropology 11 (1): 120–133. Birke, R. 2000. “Evaluation and Facilitation: Moving Past Either/Or.” Journal of Dispute Resolution, 2000: 309–319. Bracken, P. J. J. E. Giller, and D. Summerfield. 1995. “Psychological Responses to War and Atrocity: The Limitations of Current Concepts.” Social Science & Medicine 40 (8): 1073–1082. Burns, R. 1994. Selected Poems. London: Penguin Classics. Bush, R. A. Baruch, and J. P. Folger. 1994. The Promise of Mediation: Responding to Conflict Through Empowerment and Recognition. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (p.192) ———. 2004. The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict. Revised. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Butler, Judith. 1997. “Sovereign Performatives in the Contemporary Scene of Utterance.” Critical Inquiry 23 (2) (January 1): 350–377. doi:10.2307/1343987. Butler, J. 2011. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “sex.” Routledge classics. New York: Routledge. Chasin, R., M. Herzig, S. Roth, L. Chasin, C. Becker, and R. R. Stains Jr. 1996. “From Diatribe to Dialogue on Divisive Public Issues: Approaches Drawn from Family Therapy.” Mediation Quarterly 13 (4): 323–344. Chatman, S. B. 1978. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Cobb, S. 1997. “The Domestication of Violence in Mediation.” Law & Society Review 9: 397–440. ———. 1998. “Special Issue: Private Pain, Public Entertainment.” Human Systems: the Journal of Systemic Consultation and Management 8: 3–4.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes ———. 2002. “Espacios liminales en los procesos de negociación: atravesando umbrales interpretativos y relacionales en una negociación en empresa familiar.” Mediadores en Red 1 (September). http://www.mediadoresenred.org.ar/larevista/ espaciosliminales.html. Cobb, S., and J. Rifkin. 1991. “Practice and Paradox: Deconstructing Neutrality in Mediation.” Law & Social Inquiry 16 (1): 35–62. Cobb, S, and H. Yusuf,.2011. “Narrative Approaches to Peacebuilding: A Prospective Case Study.” In Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory, ed.S. Allen Nan,A. Bartoli, and Z. C. Mampilly, 328–343. New York: Praeger. Disch, L. J. 1993. “More Truth Than Fact: Storytelling as Critical Understanding in the Writings of Hannah Arendt.” Political Theory 21 (4): 665–694. Doornbos, M., and J. Markakis. 1994. “Society and State in Crisis: What Went Wrong in Somalia?” Review of African Political Economy 21 (59): 82–88. Drexler, J. M. 2007. “Politics Improper: Iris Marion Young, Hannah Arendt, and the Power of Performativity.” Hypatia 22 (4): 1–15. Düttmann, A.G. and K. Woodgate. 2000. Between Cultures: Tensions in the Struggle for Recognition. Phronesis. London: Verso. Emery, R. E. S. G. Matthews, and K. M. Kitzmann. 1994. “Child Custody Mediation and Litigation: Parents’ Satisfaction and Functioning One Year After Settlement.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 62 (1): 124. Felman, S., and D. Laub. 1991. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York: Routledge. Fiss, O. 1984. “Against Settlement.” Yale Law Journal 93: 1073–1090. Fontan, V. C. 2012. Decolonizing Peace. Lake Oswego, OR: Dignity Press. Foucault, M. 1978. The History of Sexuality. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books. Girard, R. 1977. Violence and the Sacred. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Goboda-Madikizeal, P. 2008. “Transforming Trauma in the Aftermath of Gross Human Rights Abuses: Making Public Space Intimate Through the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” In The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation, ed. Nadler, A., Malloy, T., andJ. Fisher, 57–76. New York: Oxford University Press. Habermas, J. 1984. The Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Herman, J. Lewis. 1997. Trauma and Recovery. Rev. ed. New York: Basic Books. Hitchcock, P. 2007. “Postcolonial Failure and the Politics of Nation.” South Atlantic Quarterly 106 (4): 727–752. Höijer, B.,R. Lidskog, and Y. Uggla. 2006. “Facing Dilemmas: Sense-Making and Decision-Making in Late Modernity.” Futures 38 (3): 350–366. Honeyman, C. 1990. “On Evaluating Mediators.” Negotiation Journal 6 (1): 23– 36. Honeyman, C., and A. K Schneider,2003. “Catching up with the Major-General: The Need for a Canon of Negotiation.” Marquette Law Review 87: 637–648. Honeyman, C., N. Peterson, and T. Russell. 1992. “Developing Standards in Dispute Resolution.” A paper presented at the 1992 conference of the Law & Society Association. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (p.193) Honeyman, C., and C. Pou. 1996. Finding and Hiring Quality Neutrals—What Every Government Official Needs to Know. Monograph based on workshops addressing issues like sources of neutrals for agency cases, conflict of interest, budgetary, and contracting issues. http://www.convenor.com/madison/fh1.htm. Huspek, M., and G. P. Radford. 1997. Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of Other. SUNY series, human communication processes. Albany: State University of New York Press. Isaacs, W. 1999. Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life. 1st ed. New York: Currency. Jabri, V. 1998. “Restyling the Subject of Responsibility in International Relations.” Millennium—Journal of International Studies 27 (3): 591–611. Kelman, H. C. and S. P. Cohen. 1976. “The Problem-Solving Workshop: A SocialPsychological Contribution to the Resolution of International Conflicts.” Journal of Peace Research 13 (2): 79–90. Kienzler, H. 2008. “Debating War-Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in an Interdisciplinary Arena.” Social Science & Medicine 67 (2): 218– 227. Kristeva, J. 1980. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. European perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press. ———. 1991. Strangers to Ourselves. European perspectives series. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Labov, W., and D. Fanshel. 1977. Therapeutic Discourse: Psychotherapy as Conversation. New York: Academic Press. Lægaard, S. 2006. “On the Prospects for a Liberal Theory of Recognition.” Res Publica 11 (4): 325–348. Langer, L. L. 1991. Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. New Haven: Yale University Press. Leeson, P. T. 2007. “Better Off Stateless: Somalia Before and After Government Collapse.” Journal of Comparative Economics 35 (4): 689–710. Mansfield, C. D. K. C. McLean, and J. P. Lilgendahl. 2010. “Narrating Traumas and Transgressions: Links Between Narrative Processing, Wisdom, and WellBeing.” Narrative Inquiry 20 (2): 246–273. Mattingly, C. 1998. Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McDermott, E. P. andR. Obar,.2004. “What’s Going On in Mediation: An Empirical Analysis of the Influence of a Mediator’s Style on Party Satisfaction and Monetary Benefit.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review 9: 75–113. Menkhaus, K. 2007. “The Crisis in Somalia: Tragedy in Five Acts.” African Affairs 106 (424) (July 1): 357–390. doi:10.1093/afraf/adm040. Menkhaus, K. 2011. “Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping.” International Security 31 (3): 74–106. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Oliver, K. 2001. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pearson, J., and N. Thoennes. 1989. Divorce Mediation: Reflections on a Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Rechtman, R. 2000. “Stories of Trauma and Idioms of Distress: From Cultural Narratives to Clinical Assessment.” Transcultural Psychiatry 37 (3): 403–415. Riskin, L. L. 2002. “Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Contributions of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students, Lawyers, and Their Clients, The.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review 7: 1. Rouhana, N. N. 2004. “Group Identity and Power Asymmetry in Reconciliation Processes: The Israeli-Palestinian Case.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 10 (1): 33–52. Page 25 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes Scarry, E. 1985. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press. Seu, B. 2010. “The ‘Anti-Social’ Nature of Prosocial Research; A Psychosocial Critique.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4 (9): 651–662. (p.194) Sluzki, C. E. 1992a. “Transformations: A Blueprint for Narrative Changes in Therapy.” Family Process 31 (3): 217–230. Sluzki, C. 1992b. Le Storie Meglio Formate. In "L’Adolescente e i suoi Sistemi. eds.G. Cecchin, andM. Mariotti, 37–47. Rome: Kappa. Sontag, S. 1979. Illness as Metaphor. 1st ed. New York: Vintage Books. Spelman, E. V. 1997. Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering. Boston: Beacon Press. Taylor, C. 1992. Multiculturalism and “The Politics of Recognition.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Thoennes, N. 1997. “An Evaluation of Child Protection Mediation in Five California Courts.” Family Court Review 35 (2): 184–195. Thomassen, L. 2011. “(Not) Just a Piece of Cloth: Begum, Recognition and the Politics of Representation.” Political Theory 39 (3): 325–351. White, M., and D. Epston. 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Yankelovich, D. 1999. The Magic of Dialogue: Transforming Conflict into Cooperation. New York: Simon & Schuster. Young, I. M. 1990. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Zarowsky, C. 2000. “Trauma Stories: Violence, Emotion and Politics in Somali Ethiopia.” Transcultural Psychiatry 37 (3): 383–402. Notes:

(1) See http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=7586. (2) See http://www.foreignpolicy.com/failedstates. (3) It is widely argued that the history of violence in Somalia is a function of clan conflicts. See Doornbos and Markakis (1994), Besteman (1996), Leeson (2007), Hitchcock (2007), and Menkhaus (2007, 2011).

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes (4) See the report on the three-day “Reconciliation Conference” that was held in 2011 where the Roadmap was adopted: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/ 2011/09/2011967542820110.html (5) See Christopher Honeyman (1990; Honeyman, Peterson, and Russell (1992), Honeyman and Pou, 1996). Although Honeyman and others are certainly not alone in this assumption, the effort to assess people for their capacity as “empathic” is particularly problematic in my view as it fails to consider the role of context and interaction. (6) See Honeyman and Schneider (2003) for the presentation of a canon in negotation theory and practice. In my view, this project reflects the failure of the field of conflict resolution to examine the way the discourse limits and constrains, within the field, how conflict resolution could be understood or practiced. Although there is, for example, in this canon, effort made to include different disciplines, the items put forward as part of this canon reproduce the dominant theoretical commitments from “interest-based” negotiation. (7) This is a reference to Benhabib’s (1987) notion of the “concrete other.” (8) See Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter (2011); Gender Trouble (1991); Excitable Speech (1997); and her article (1997) “Sovereign Performatives in the Contemporary Scene of Utterance,” in Critical Inquiry, 23(2): 350–377. (9) In my view, Riskin’s (2002) efforts to incorporate meditation into mediation practice provide a good example of Oliver’s project—to create ethical practice through vigilance. Meditation increases our capacity to monitor Self, in the moment, increasing our ability to track how we are responding/reacting to the Other, as well as to the category of Other. Conflict resolution practices all too often, beach themselves on the shoals of psychological theories that have at their core the regulation of the Self as an antidote to the relational problems that lead to conflict and violence. Instead, I am proposing in this chapter that the ethics of transformative practice need to be located in the discourse, in the conversation, in the domain where subjectivity itself emerges. (10) See especially Judith Hermann, Trauma and Recovery (1997) and the research on satisfaction after mediation (e.g., McDermott and Obar 2004; Emery, Matthews and Kitzmann, 1994), which refers to having an opportunity to tell the story, to be heard. In this research, we can see the outlined presence of our attention to “recognition”—we assume that people come to have their trouble, their worldview, recognized. The formulation of the satisfaction surveys done as a way to evaluate the mediation process reconfirm the assumptions of the field, and it is no accident that the respondents mirror the attention to recognition that the researchers bring. Thus, the research does not confirm anything more than the presence of a folk concept (“recognition”), used in mediation by researchers and participants alike. This concept hides both the complexity of the Page 27 of 30

Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes conversational processes involved, and it builds into our conflict transformation practices a notion of the Self that must exclude the Other, in order to become a Self. (11) See Cobb (1993) for discussion of the domestication of violence, not only as that which inflicts physical pain, but that which excludes and eludes description. This is consistent with Kristeva’s (Desire in Language, 1980) view of the process of language and the role that desire plays in framing the limits of who we are and how we can relate. (12) The terrible narrative reality of cancer is that the agent of the pain (the cells) is also the victim (they are the patient’s cells). The betrayal of the body by the body requires people to distance themselves from their cancer. See Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1979). (13) There has been considerable work in literary criticism on the importance of coherence in narrative for the production of a plot structure that is clear and compelling to the audience. See Chatman’s (1978) classic book Story and Discourse. (14) Based on my research, conducted with Janet Rifkin in the 1990s (Cobb and Rifkin, 1991), it is painfully clear that third parties contribute to the social construction of conflict stories, whether they intend to do so or not. This is clear through the questions they ask and the questions they do not ask. (15) See the ethical standards for third parties at: http://www.acresolution.org/ research.nsf/ 482b73cc64ba477385256a33005cb6d4/390cecb8ddae8abe85256a1f0069bc38! OpenDocument#Responsibilities%20to%20the%20Parties (16) Professor Bush and I were recipients of a small grant from the Hewlett Foundation for to explore the intersections of our perspectives. We met for a year, discussing a variety of topics and looking at some videos together. My description of this work is one that I developed during the course of our project together. (17) See the research on evaluation of mediation—Pearson and Thoennes (1989) —or, more recently, Birke (2000) and Thoennes (1997). (18) See Cobb (“Domestication,” 1997) for a description of the evolution and reconstitution of violence narratives in mediation. In other fields, such as family therapy, researchers evaluate the evolution of narrative specifically. See also Mattingly’s (1998) excellent work on the evolution of narratives of patients within a rehabilitation center; she describes the role of the nurses in the alteration of those stories.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes (19) For work that focuses on narrative as the domain for intervention see Labov and Fanshell (Therapeutic Discourse, 1977), Mattingly (Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots, 1998), White and Epston (Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends, 1990), Cobb (Liminality, 2002), and Sluzki (“Transformations,” in Family Process, 1992a). This line of research, which reaches across practice that involves generative conversations or conversations that are (potentially) transformative, lacks an ethic for the practice of narrative transformation beyond the pragmatic mandate to produce change. Sluzki (1992a), for instance, specifies in detail paramenters for narrative transformations, but fails to specify guidelines toward preferable changes (he does, though, in another paper, cf. Sluzki, 1992b): “The ‘better-formed’ story.” Chapter (in Italian) in G. Cecchin and M. Mariotti, (eds.): L’Adolescente e i suoi Sistemi. Rome: Kappa. (pp. 37–47) White has gone further than others in his analysis, for he argues that narrative evolution is necessary for pragmatic change of a sort that leads to emancipation. Mattingly does the same—she shows how the staff interact with patients in a rehab center in ways that enable the patients to see themselves as agents in their own lives, rather than as “handicapped” people. The transformations that she presents are very moving and a testament to the power of narrative to shift the way we frame ourselves in relation to Other. However, as examples of this work, neither White and Epston nor Mattingly detail an ethics that would enable practitioners not only to generate change but also to do so within some normative framework that could function as a guideline for moral practice. And since neither of these theorists is in the field of mediation, even if there were some guidelines for the ethical transformation of narrative, I am not sure it would be applicable to mediation. (20) For a more postmodern treatment, see Mikhail Bakhtin, From Discourse in the Novel (1981), where he addresses narrative, as well as the dialogic condition of subjectivity, but does not develop an ethics for practice. From this perspective, I would argue that Bakhtin’s normative theory is largely descriptive in nature, not prescriptive. I have tried to use his work for practical prescriptions; see Cobb (on private pain and public entertainment, 1998), but his theory does not address evolution; this critique has been mirrored in the critique of “habitus,” which is also a static rather than dynamic description of social process. (21) Habermas (Theory of Communicative Action, 1984) does offer a framework for evaluating discourse with respect to its capacity to emancipate. However, his framework does not address narrative, and, in fact, it reproduces the belief in the “ideal” (speech situation) and, in the process, returns us, in a U-turn, back to a kind of gap analysis of the role of language. “Does it approximate the ideal?” is a question similar to “How does it approximate (represent) the real?” In my view, Habermas offers an important contribution to discourse analysis, but does little to enable the critical assessment of narrative trajectories.

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Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative Regimes (22) See Burns (1994, pp. 67–69) for a copy of his poem “To a Mouse,” written in 1785. (23) Drexler’s citation is as follows: Arendt (1970), Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy. Ed. Ronald Beiner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. (24) See Cobb, S., and H. Yusuf 2011. Narrative Approaches to Peacebuilding: A Prospective Case Study. In Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory, ed. S. Allen Nan, A. Bartoli, and Z. C. Mampilly, 328–343. New York: Praeger Publishers.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter offers an aesthetic framework that provides criteria for building humanizing narratives; these narratives are described as “better” than others because both because they are healthier than conflict narratives for relational dynamics and in terms of the materialization of subjectivity, but they are also “better” in the sense that they amend, reform, and redeem conflict narratives. The criteria for “better-formed” narratives, drawn from Arendt, Nelson, and Aristotle provide an aesthetics for both designing and evaluating the transformation of conflict narratives. Illustrative cases will include discussions of the conflicts in Guatemala and Amsterdam; additionally, the case of a violent conflict in a large family business will be presented. Keywords:   irony, better-formed story, turning Point, anchoring, narrative Mediation

Things are often not what they seem to be. However, in a world saturated by cliché, anchored by narrative genres promulgated by television, we lull(aby) ourselves into thinking that we know what is going on, and often, unfortunately for Others, we act on our simplified notions of reality. Conflict intensifies certainty and reduces complexity, two trends that combine explosively to generate and perpetuate violence. At the center of this certainty, at the core of hegemonic narratives, the world operates according to a set of Newtonianesque principles. Water runs downhill; bad guys are bad; good triumphs (eventually). Not so within “magic realism,” an emerging literary genre largely associated with Latin America. And no surprise there: In a colonized world, characters must be able to operate in two worlds—the world of the colonizers and the world of Page 1 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives the colonized (Slemon, 1988). In this tradition, people, actors, must be able to maintain a complex and multilayered sensibility, knowing that things are not as they seem. Water flows uphill sometimes; bad guys are good guys; and evil, which is often also goodness, can, if not triumph, persist. Slemon writes: The term “magic realism” is an oxymoron, one that suggests a binary opposition between the representational code of realism and that, roughly, of fantasy. In the language of narration in a magic realist text, a battle between two oppositional systems takes place, each working toward the creation of a different kind of fictional world from the other. Since the ground rules of these two worlds are incompatible, neither one can fully come into being, and each remains suspended, locked in a continuous dialectic with the “other,” a situation which creates disjunction within each of the separate discursive systems, rending them with gaps, absences, and silences. (Slemon, 1988, pp. 10–11) This is, as Hutcheon (1989) notes, ironic, and, indeed, it undermines the stability of any given perspective, creating in its wake, complexity. And it is this complexity that is all too often lacking in “our” understanding of conflict in a given (p.198) locale. I am here explicitly referencing the location of myself as a writer of and in the First World, published by an academic publisher that, even though prolific in the publication of material decentering colonialism, is still of the First World. This matters for conflict resolution, a topic most often arising from a First World perspective. Magic realism paves the way for me, as a First World author writing about conflict resolution to challenge the genres in which we understand conflict itself, instantiating a multiperspectivalness that cannot be easily dissolved (Hellman, 2000). It is fitting that this is the tradition in which I offer a case study of a conflict resolution in a large Latin America family business operating in the shadow of a history of political violence. This case provides a context for the development of a description of the aesthetic criteria that are critical to the development of humanizing narratives, the kind that contribute to the transformation of conflict and the development of natality. The case study exemplifies all that is problematic with conflict narratives; it reveals how violence is narrative in nature, and how, against the backdrop of social and political violence in a Latin American country, “business” is not business as usual. But, most importantly, for this (book) project, it anchors the description of a normative narrative theory that discriminates “better” from “worse” stories; from this perspective, it begins to provide a poetics for conflict resolution practice itself. However, first, I would like to offer a context for the use of narrative or story in conflict resolution practice because this will provide context for the model I will present.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Story and Conflict Resolution: The Limits of Folk Practice There is growing interest in “storytelling” in conflict resolution. It is framed as a folk practice—people sharing stories of their experience with each other—and it has become important to much of the reconciliation work done by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as Parent’s Circle, a group of Israeli and Palestinian parents who have lost children in the Middle East conflict.1 Practitioners use “story” as an activity that generates connection; because everyone has a story, it allows for a symmetrical, if not neutral, approach to conflict resolution. Because these are often emotional stories of suffering, a storytelling approach is a respectful way to honor speakers and to highlight the emotional and personal way in which the conflict impacts real people. From this perspective, it reduces abstract and even sidelines interestbased approaches to conflict (p.199) resolution.2 Further, these storytelling (folk) practices provide a venue for the emergence of natality—real people account for their own experience, and the venue, as well as the culture of storytelling itself, encourages people to elaborate their own suffering with texture, emerging themselves as humans being human. Additionally, the conflict resolution process that can promote storytelling functions to witness the storytellers, and, again, this can contribute to the emergence of natality; as it is often the case that those who suffer are already marginalized, storytelling practices can operate as a political act of promoting the voices of those who have been unseen and unheard. And this can increase the complexity of the collective narratives told within a given conflict context. Despite these potential strengths of a storytelling-as-folk practice approach to dialogic conflict resolution, there is little formal research and evaluation is all too often anecdotal. This is because this “method” is used by practitioners who are evaluating their practice using the experience of the participants as indicators of an effective process (i.e., they are using a sort of a satisfaction survey to evaluate their mediation processes). There is little theory undergirding these practices, other than folk assumptions about the role of story in building trust and improving relationships. Dan Bar-On’s research is an exemplary exception.3 For example, with his colleague Fatama Kassem, he conducted research on a set of storytelling workshops intended to build trust between Palestinian and Israeli youth. Their findings indicate that this method led to changes in participants’ views of the Other and contributed to their learning about their own family’s history. But they also noted that storytelling is time intensive—the workshops could have been longer. And, in this research, there is an additional limitation that was not addressed—the “scale-up” problem. Most storytelling practices, like that reported on by Bar-On, address the narratives of non-elites. Changes to these narratives might impact participants’ social networks, but these changes were not a focus of the research.4 More research on storytelling practices is needed to

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives assess the short- and long-term impact on conflict transformation and prevention as narrative processes. Although these efforts to base conflict resolution on storytelling are important precisely because they tend to be of the people and for the people, rather (p. 200) than being an elite negotiation process, they are not analytic in that they do not problematize either the process of narrative production or the content of the narratives under development. They are, from this perspective, theoretically naïve. This is not to say that these practices are not effective; but my view is that the absence of narrative theory, as a foundation for narrative practice, can contribute to the conflict as well as its resolution, as practitioners could support the development of narratives that reduce, rather than increase natality. What conflict resolution needs is more than a folk practice of storytelling—we need to be able to discriminate which stories are generative of conflict transformation, for short- and long-term change. Indeed, discriminating or judging narratives has been, as I have indicated, an anathema for the field of conflict resolution. Because the “story” that people tell is seen as an authentic representation of the Self, it is inviolate territory for the most part. However, there has been some work that problematizes parties’ stories, presuming that stories can create problems. For example, Stone, Patton, and Heen (1999) noted that there are three different kinds of stories layered into negotiations: the “what happened story,” the “feeling story,” and the “identity story.” These three stories, they argue, are intertwined such that the identity story is primordial and anchors the others; intervention, from their perspective, requires moving away from “what happened story” toward the “feeling story” and then the “identity story.” Their book, Difficult Conversations, was groundbreaking in that it was not only the first book in the field of negotiation to take the notion of story seriously (it amounted to a paradigm shift), but there was an implicit normative assumption that the more complex the story (including all three layers), the better. Winslade and Monk (2000), in their book Narrative Mediation and then later in Practicing Narrative Mediation (2008), use the notion of story (as narrative) within a different paradigm. They note that, traditionally, mediators are often trained to work to uncover the truth, presuming that narrative represents reality. This forces third parties into what Winslade and Monk call a “suspicious perspective” (2008, p. 2), which, in turn, requires mediators to examine the “root causes” of conflicts.5 However, Winslade and Monk (2008), drawing on Michael White and Epston (1990) and Foucault (1972), note that narratives are constructed and, with them, positions in discourse. They offer an ethics for their narrative (p.201) practice of conflict resolution6 that is based on a critical perspective—one that suggests it is “better” to enable people to:

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives make powerful decisions on their own behalf to reject or modify the effects of dominant stories in their lives. We believe our job as mediators is not so much to empower them, in the sense of spooning out dollops of our own power, as it is to treat them as capable of writing and rewriting at least parts of their own scripts. (Winslade and Monk, 2008, pp. 284–285) This work is seminal in the field of conflict resolution not only in terms of the shift it provides from “interests” to “discourse,” but also in offering an ethics arising from narrative theory itself. They organize the set of practices that increase narrative complexity around this ethical goal, and, indeed, the practices are richly described, contributing significantly to narrative practice in general. Although they do ground their work in a critical tradition, they do not specify the conditions of the narratives themselves that enable people to make powerful decisions—they do not specify the content of the narratives that promote or depict people being able to write and rewrite their own scripts. In other words, Winslade and Monk stop short of an aesthetics as a normative evaluation of content for narrative practice. However, this is likely due to several assumptions they make about narratives. First, that there are infinite variations of narratives and specifying these variations is unproductive, if not impossible; rather they have chosen to focus on the process of changing conflict stories, independent of the specifics of a given content. Second, they likely assume that the content of a given narrative is an expression of its fit to a given context; it follows, then, that since contexts are so various, so should and would be the content. Finally, I think they have a deep and abiding “respect for the stories through which [parties]…act upon their intentions; respect for the painful effects that conflict stories produce for them; respect for their ability to edit the stories into which they have entered” (p. 285). Together, these assumptions, I think, reflect their preference to not specify an aesthetics that could provide a normative framework for judging the content itself. Although I respect these assumptions and rest assured that their practice is indeed ethical, I would like to push past the limits of a focus on process (of narrative transformation) toward a framework that enables us to assess, judge, and critique narrative content as well. Senehi (2002) has offered a clear delineation between “destructive” and “constructive” conflicts across several dimensions, all of which implicate the content (p.202) of the narrative: she creates a list of categories that pertain to constructive and destructive conflicts—knowledge, identity, socialization, emotions, morality, time and memory, as well as geographic space, provide dimensions along which she characterizes stories, noting in each dimension some requirement for the constructive dimension. For example, with respect to “time and memory,” she states that constructive conflict may involve the development of a “shared historical narrative” (Senehi, 2002, p. 55). In my view, Senehi’s attempt to demarcate constructive and destructive conflict using Page 5 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives narrative is a significant contribution, even though each suggestion lacks the specificity one might need to track the evolution of narrative in a conflict resolution process. However, her efforts also suffer, in my view, from the absence of any link to a critical theory—she does not make this differentiation between constructive or destructive conflict in a manner that would escape the centrifugal force of interest-based approaches, although her approach to conflict resolution is certainly more complex than are those approaches. So, although she offers a normative perspective on conflict using a narrative lens, neither her approach to narrative nor the recommendations she makes lead toward a critical theoretical framework for assessing the content of narratives, an assessment that would have implications for transforming that content.7 In summary, normative approaches to narrative, within the practice of conflict resolution, have largely not challenged the dominant assumptions derived either from neutrality (the mediator should not judge stories except to be “suspicious”), respect (everyone deserves to be able to tell a story about their lives in their way, fitting their cultural heritage and social/political needs), or the causal view that reproduces the subjective/objectivity of a form of analysis coherent with a factor analytic approach. My own research that links narrative to conflict resolution has contributed to “materialize storytelling metaphor” and its implications for practice (Cobb, 1994), specifically with a critical eye to the analysis of power and neutrality in mediation (Cobb and Rifkin, 1991a,b). I have argued for a framework for differentiating narratives based on their coherence (Cobb, 1993); this was applied to the analysis of how to time the telling of victim’s stories of sexual abuse in their networks (Weingarten and Cobb, 1995), which is certainly pertinent to conflict resolution because reconciliation may depend on being able to tell stories that have long remained hidden or silenced. I have done case studies of the dynamics related to negotiation as a liminal process (Cobb, 2002) and as a process of (p.203) witnessing (Cobb, 2004). I have also conducted research on micro-practices used in courtroom storytelling during the penalty phases of capital trials, presuming that these trials are what has been called “story battles” (Blume, Johnson, and Paavola, 2006, p. 28).8 Finally, I have developed a narrative lens for the analysis of multiparty public conflicts and the reconciliation processes (Cobb and Wasunna, 2000; Cobb and Yusuf, 2011). Although all of this research builds toward a critical narrative theory and a normative approach to conflict resolution, it is presented across a set of journal articles and book chapters and is, therefore, difficult to see the threads that connect across this work, which of course is the reason for this book. More recently, I have developed a model that connects narrative complexity to conflict resolution; this model details a sequence of turning points within a normative narrative theory, a theory as to what constitutes a “better-formed” story (Cobb, 2001, 2003, 2006).9 Recall from Chapter 3 that I define a turning Page 6 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives point as a change in the way a person positions Self/Other, a change that is adopted by the set of parties in the conversation (intragroup or intergroup) (Cobb, 2006). This analysis of the family business case, in this chapter, draws on this notion of a “better-formed” story and illustrates, both at the level of the content, as well as the process, what is “better” and why.

Magic Realism in a Family Business: Building a “Better” Story Dora called me for a consultation10 about a serious conflict in her family, one impacting the quality of personal relations as well as the viability of the (large) family business. Her family was based in a Latin American country. Learning about her troubles was a process of both falling down a rabbit hole in which my own assumptions about “business” were turned upside down, as well as a process of falling in love. Dora was one of six children—Henrique, was the oldest son; then Dora, the only daughter/sister, then Julio, Carlos, Miguel, and Mauricio. Dora and Mauricio lived in Europe—the other brothers lived in Latin America, where the family business was located. The family business was a set of holdings nestled within holdings, owned by a web of family members and crossing generational and kinship lines. (p.204) Dora initially told a story of an errant brother (the third child, Julio) who was causing conflict in the set of six siblings, causing their holdings to lose money and reducing the legitimacy of their subsystem within the larger family and business network. Within the extended family business, they were being cut out, left with reduced access to wealth and professional positions because of the conflict that Julio was creating. The other siblings, notably Henrique, who was also president of their (the siblings’) holding company, had tried to address the issues with Julio to no avail. This, in turn, reduced Henrique’s legitimacy in the eyes of their uncle, who was president of the main holding, within which all the other holdings were located.11 This erosion of Henrique’s legitimacy compromised the position of the sibling group in terms of both relations with extended family and with the larger holding company. I was to learn that there was not only legitimacy and property at stake, but also life itself. This family conflict was set in a country that had undergone, in years past, a military coup. Disappearances were no longer taking place and elections had been held. But the relatively recent violent history cast its shadow over this extended family. The six siblings were concerned about their relationships with the extended family, as they were the more “left” wing of the family—and, indeed, Julio’s rebellion against the right wing of the family was explicitly political. He marched in the streets with other protesters against the “oligarchy” (owners of newspapers and banks that included members of his family and their holdings). So this family business conflict was itself a fractal (p.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives 205) of the broader social conflict that had convulsed the nation, as well as the region. This not only was a humiliation to his extended family, but it mistakenly aligned the sibling group publicly with groups thought to be connected to sections of the left that had been involved with those supporting recent coups (i.e., “subversives”). And, as the extended family was a family of wealth, essentially part of the “oligarchy,” Julio could have easily passed information about the family’s assets and its business to those the family would consider enemies. And, according to Dora, Julio was in fact described as “dangerous” by other branches of the family. At one point, a homemade bomb (the kind used by the left in social conflicts in Latin America) had been thrown over the courtyard wall of the home of one of the senior members of the family; no one had been hurt, and, although the siblings did not think that Julio could have done such a thing, they were very worried that other members of the family would point the finger at him. So this was not simply a family business conflict; it was a conflict reflecting, refracting, if not enacting, the history of the violence perpetrated at the national level. Furthermore, as this national conflict had not, at that time, been resolved or publicly addressed—the country had not named the crimes or punished the perpetrators—Julio’s affiliation with the left not only split the family down political and ideological lines, it reverberated in their social network, increasing polarization in and the fragility of that network. And, because this network was one of wealth and power, instabilities and polarizations within it had very real impact on the newly emerging political regime. Meanwhile, it was not clear at that time whether the newly elected government was going to increase its leftleaning tendencies and be overthrown by yet another military coup or consolidate itself as a populist right-wing government. Either way, the situation was highly unstable for the siblings, their extended family, the family’s network, and the national government. In this light, the family business conflict was tied into the history of violence and the potential for its re-eruption. Against this dramatic backdrop,12 Dora explained that she and her siblings had tried to buy out Julio so that they could essentially excommunicate him from the family business. He was amenable as long as the price was right. However, they could not establish the worth of their own holding (in order to set a buy out price) because they did not have access to the asset information—it was (p.206) part of the larger holding, and all the information was controlled (restricted) by their uncle. Their own father had been partnered with their uncle, so, theoretically, when he died, they should have had fifty percent of the total assets. But they were not able to determine the extent of the holdings, their value, tax base, income, or costs. They could not, for this reason, determine an appropriate price for one-sixth of their total share. When I asked Dora if they had asked the uncle for the information, she answered “repeatedly.” Furthermore, as the crisis with Julio deepened, the siblings were increasingly cut out of the inner circle of Page 8 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives information. They were flying blind in terms of understanding their share of the whole. They blamed Julio for the problem, but they also blamed their uncle, who had clearly already begun to favor his own children by placing them in positions of power and influence within the larger holding company. Clearly, legal routes were not open to the sibling group—“discovery” was not an option. And they could not stop or protect Julio—he continued to dress, as they put it, like a “California surfer” and affiliate with would-be “comunistas.” I was hooked. I worked with this group of siblings13 intensively over a period of a week on site in Latin America; I remained on a retainer working with them for a few months following the face-to-face work. During this time, significant features of each person’s narrative about Self changed and the narrative of their sibling group changed, leading to business decisions that proved excellent in the long run, and their relation to their uncle and the extended family dramatically improved. They were able to get access to resources and to make plans about how they wanted to develop these resources, taking destiny into their own hands. Most of them moved abroad eventually, taking their assets with them. And, given the course of the political and social developments, this proved to be not only a wise move, financially, but a smart move politically. All of the siblings developed new businesses, all of them moved on with their personal lives. And they were able to do this while maintaining excellent relations across their extended family. This did little to alter the complex political issues,, at the national level, but the reduction of polarization in the extended family increased opportunities for new alliances, new networks, and new flows of information and capital, thus reducing the totalitarian nature of the family business itself. All of this was a function of the evolution of narrative. In the section that follows, I describe the transformation from conflict stories to better-formed stories. And I describe this evolution as a sequence of turning points. So, not only do I offer an account of what constituted a “better-formed” story, but I describe the sequences of the evolution itself. This case study is intended to exemplify the nature of a better-formed story as a normative framework for narrative assessment and also to exemplify its production over the course of specific transformations. In this way, I will work to account for both the content as well as the process of narrative transformation that contributes to conflict resolution. (p.207)

From Conflict to Better-Formed Narrative The week-long consultation took place in English (with Spanish “subtitles”)14 in an urban environment, in the capital city of the country, in Latin America. We sat together in the living room of their mother’s high-rise apartment (she was not present during this consultation)—as a mother and widow, she was not able to either control Julio or to help the others, including her own brother, the uncle, to work effectively with the sibling group. Additionally, five siblings (one did not participate) experienced her as older and passive, unable to stand up to the Page 9 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives uncle or really “get it” in terms of engaging the issues in the conflict. They saw her as a puppet of their uncle. One of the siblings, the youngest, was unemployed and lived in the apartment as well. Each day, we met and worked together all day, taking breakfast and lunch together. Each evening, I had dinner with one of the siblings, either with their family or alone. Additionally, I went jogging every evening, before dinner, with the youngest. These were intensive days, very emotionally charged. However, each day ended with a relaxing dinner and a deep conversation with one of the siblings, adding texture to my narratives about the people-as-individuals and how they fit together as a family.

The Conflict Narratives At the level of both content and process, there were typical conflict narratives at play. Dora and three of her brothers, as well as their uncle, told a story about Julio as someone who became progressively more morally compromised—first, he drove fast cars and dated fast women, then he gambled and did not work for a living, basically abandoning the values of the family. Then, for spite, to confront the uncle, Julio began affiliating with people to whom the family was opposed—he went over to the Dark Side. This is a story that depicts events in a plot line in which the main character moves from having negative character traits to having negative intention. It follows that he must be excised from the family. The plot line was relatively simple, having roughly three stages or phases: 1 Initiating conditions (weak character) 2 Events that depicted worsening of character 3 Climax of the onset of bad intentions Temporally, the events were sequenced to support what Gergen and Gergen (1986) called “regressive narrative”—a decline. The character of Julio went (p. 208) from bad to worse—from negative traits to negative intentions, a move that constructs him as a victimizer and mandates his exclusion, as a victimizer. This move is a form of narrative violence, for it denies the humanness, the natality of the person. With respect to the moral framework, it was a binary framework that began with a “boys will be boys” account of Julio’s actions, an attempt to normalize Julio’s bad actions, in contrast to a morality advanced by the Church, in which premarital sex and obedience to elders was valorized. Then it evolved to a different but equally binary framework in which obedience was in contrast to subversive political activity. Dora and those on her side were, meanwhile, initially understanding, continually supportive and engaged, trying to “help” Julio; then they became increasingly fearful and sad, victimized by Julio’s intentions. This was on one side. On the other, Julio told a story about his “awakening.” He saw himself, like other family members, oblivious and corrupted by money. He became, over time, unwilling to be subject to the “rules” handed to him; he was willing to risk Page 10 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives excommunication from the family in exchange for being true to his beliefs—he believed in freedom of speech and transparency. He found the culture of the family to be an example of the corruption of the state. His story had a plot that also had three stages: 1 Initial conditions in which he was troubled by the family culture but unaware of how he wanted to respond 2 Events that depicted his “awakening” to the corruption of the family 3 Events that signified his “progressive” (pun intended) affiliation with groups of people with whom he felt political alignment, leading to increased intolerance for his (corrupt) family system Temporally, the events were sequenced as a progressive narrative that led toward a form of enlightenment and freedom, which then revealed the true characteristics of his family (regressive and corrupt). Julio’s story, like its counterpart, legitimized Self, while delegitimizing the Others, thus setting up polarized roles in which Julio was ever more legitimate and the Others were ever more delegitimate. The moral framework he used was also binary: freedom versus corruption (freedom to speak and act vs. being imprisoned by the threats of Others to reduce access to money, power, or position within the family business). This was the same moral framework he used to judge the political context. Both “sides” told stories in which simplified plot lines and binary moral frameworks were harnessed to the work of legitimizing Self and delegitimizing Other. From within each story, there was an incredible coherence that made each story both plausible and reasonable. As I began this work, the first day was designated as a day of collective inquiry; so, it was appropriate for me to ask many questions and for the group to explain the issues to me. That first day we focused on the problem of how to engage with the uncle to improve the relationship, rather (p.209) than how to get rid of Julio, who was in the room. It was easier to begin there, rather than with Julio, as it was a way to have them all participate collectively in explaining the context to me, helping me understand the problem their uncle posed for them. After a couple of hours, the narrative of their financial dependence on their uncle emerged—he controlled the money, the information, and the opportunities. I then began to explore the kinds of things they asked him for, and it quickly became clear that the uncle was giving out what we began to call “besos” (kisses) in the form of thousands of dollars, in some cases for a wedding, in other cases for education, in still other cases for an extended vacations. Some people (namely Julio) never got “besos,” but otherwise it seemed, from the outside, a rather random system of patronage tied to the quality of the relationship. So far, the uncle was still functioning in their narrative as a controlling person, authoritative, making decisions in their lives. When it Page 11 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives became clear that it had always been this way, that this was the way the system operated, I began referring to the uncle as “Pinochet,” who everyone in Latin America knew to be an authoritarian, a national patriarch, capable of dealing out swift and terrible “justice” if threatened.15 Although no one actually believed that the uncle would commit murder or torture, they were afraid of the “regime” he had put in place and the power of retribution should they challenge it or fail to comply. But the group began to laugh and play with this notion, likening the uncle to Pinochet. Henrique marched around the room in goosestep, then enacted his own death in a simulated execution murder, on his knees begging for his life. It sounds horrific, but it was hilarious as people played with the implications of the uncle-as-Pinochet. I had introduced a magic realism, in which the culture of the family business was a state apparatus and the uncle was the national leader. Julio became outraged by the way he saw the other’s willing to comply with the “rules” of Pinochet’s regime. It was clear that this provided ample fuel for his righteous position that he was the only brave one, willing to fight for freedom. But I immediately defended his siblings, describing how stupid it was to openly confront a totalitarian regime—you would not survive to fight another day, plan your next move, or support your own children. Everyone except Julio nodded, as I was elaborating the siblings’ narrative. I did not ask Julio for confirmation of the narrative I launched to legitimize his siblings; I simply launched the narrative and turned back to the discussion of the rules of the regime, writing them down on a flip chart as the group described them. Julio protested occasionally, claiming that knowing the rules should lead to confrontation— people should not “settle” for oppression. I finally asked him if he was going to paint a red “X” on each of his family members’ doors, arguing that, if he were going to do so, he should be sure to have King Arthur’s magic Excalibur sword so that he could protect his siblings and their children from the retribution of an angered (p.210) Pinochet. Everyone laughed, and, by his laughter, Julio accepted the reality that his siblings would be punished for his actions and that to endanger them was reckless. He accepted the role I offered him, of a knight in shining armor without a sword. Again, this is a kind of magic realism—making the “real” into the fantasy. This established a new norm in which I, as the facilitator, could set a world in motion, a counterworld, a fantastic world, and we could work on the “real” from the domain of the fantasy. And, like the readers of magic realism, the family could be in both worlds at once. Technically, the first analogy or metaphor offered by a mediator, third party, or negotiator is a test of the capacity of the Others to “play” or to tolerate the presence of the fantastic as a metaphor for the real. This move alone is extremely critical to being able to elaborate counterworlds. The analogy or metaphor functions as a bridge between worlds—narrative transformation requires this bridge. The important thing is not the specifics of the bridge; the

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives important thing is that the parties be willing to elaborate the bridge in the first place.16 Turning Point 1: Legitimacy and Its Shadow

The group loved to call their uncle “Pinochet,” and they were able to laugh at the prospect of Julio without his Excalibur.17 This marked the first “move” or turning point toward creating a better-formed story. Simply referring to the uncle as Pinochet may have been an exaggeration, but it actually elaborated the narrative of the group and was coherent with their existing narrative. There was no real transformation in their narrative. It was only when I framed Julio as King Arthur (aligned with his narrative of his own courage and willingness to confront Pinochet) but pointed out that he had no magic sword and was putting his loved ones at risk that he accepted responsibility, for the first time, that his actions had been harmful to the group. His bravery had a reckless underbelly. He was both brave and reckless. This was a turning point in his narrative about Self and the narrative told about him by his siblings. Everyone elaborated this narrative through both jokes and commentary, Julio included. This new narrative constructed Julio as both legitimate (a knight in shining armor, eager to fight against oppression) but also as delegitimate (i.e., reckless, for, indeed, a knight must prepare for battle, and, without a proper sword or shield, he cannot hope to triumph). Fighting requires careful planning. In this way, the first turning point involved twinning his legitimacy with its shadow. (p.211) Not only does this move complicate his character, but it became a new dimension of a moral system that he and others began to use to evaluate events, retrospectively and prospectively. Additionally, to frame the uncle as having instantiated a totalitarian regime effectively distinguished “Camelot” from the real world they lived in, for better or worse. The jokes about Camelot continued (“Dorothy, we are not in Camelot anymore” or “You can’t click your heels and go back to Camelot”)18 and some of them continued to use the “goosestep” whenever they left to use the restroom or step outside for a smoke during a break. Hilarity continued over the course of the day and reappeared over the next days. For example, the next morning Henrique, instead of using his key to enter his mother’s apartment to join us for breakfast banged loudly on the front door, shouting “Policia!” startling everyone gathered for coffee. Someone went to the front door and, rather than open it, shouted in falsetto “No hay nadia!” or “There is no one home!” Everyone laughed at this pseudo-reenactment of a police “raid”: It was magic realism—real, but fantastically melodramatic. But the real transformation was in the story that Julio told about himself—he went from being righteous and scorned by his siblings to being a knight in shining armor without a magic sword. And, indeed, his manner changed entirely—he was more sheepish, and one of the siblings began to describe him as a “California guy” because he was wearing blue reflective sunglasses. Suddenly, he was more a surfer, laid back, than a member of the militant left. Before the day was out, he agreed not to attend any street protests or formally (publicly) affiliate with a Page 13 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives political party until such time as the situation with the uncle had stabilized and they, his siblings, felt safe. This was a promise to indefinitely not engage in political actions that would confront their uncle unless or until they were economically and socially disentangled from him. Turning Point 2: The Delegitimacy of the Other and Its (Legitimate) Shadow

Although this transformation increased the Julio’s complexity (who was the Other in Dora et al.’s narrative), it did little to increase the complexity of the Other, the uncle. He was certainly being used by everyone to anchor their own legitimacy (the siblings in general were victimized by him); Julio was the one person in any of the field of narratives who was positioned in a more complex manner (brave and reckless). It was imperative that the group as a whole begin to position themselves as agents in the scenario, as actors who both contributed historically to the development of the situation and were capable of altering the situation in the future. (p.212) Given that the legitimacy of any speaker within a conflict narrative is interdependent on the delegitimacy of the Other, the reduction of the legitimacy of the speaker is tied to the increase of the legitimacy of their Other. Building on the information they had given me, depicting their financial dependency on the uncle for his “besos,” I asked them to help me build a genealogical chart of the extended family and indicate on this chart who they knew to have received besos and the amount, if they knew it (recognizing that we were relying on gossip). I also asked them to indicate both what they themselves had received, as well as what they had requested. What emerged was a picture of a huge family with many branches. We worked to designate who in this extended group was emotionally closer to the siblings. It became clear that they had many close relations to this group, even Julio. And it was further very clear that the uncle was doling out besos to about one-third of the family every year. When the siblings saw the enormity of the cash outlay that “Pinochet” was trying to navigate, no doubt with some fairness within an arbitrary system, they were impressed by the complexity of his task. We began to discuss the requests that were no doubt made that had to be either minimally granted or totally denied; it was clear that there was likely two-thirds of the family requesting special funds for their special needs. Furthermore, although many of these people did little to contribute to the revenue of the holding company, they were nonetheless counting on its support. I then opened a conversation about the culture of a family in which people did not have to earn a living but could expect to fly in private jets and host week-long wedding parties on the beach somewhere—I began to describe these members of the family as “spoiled brats” or “mal educatos” building a description of the downside of extreme wealth over multiple generations. Then I returned to the discussion of “Pinochet” and noted that it was, perhaps, in some way, a good thing that he was an authoritarian leader because if there were no firm hand, the family would be overrun by its own spoiled brats! Suddenly, the uncle was both the authoritarian ruler Page 14 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Pinochet, negatively positioned, and a leader struggling to take care of people while being responsible for the allocation of resources—he had to make very difficult decisions all the time because he was constantly working to keep the spoiled brats from overrunning the country. He was, in this narrative, both authoritarian and working to meet the deep desires of a large group of people who otherwise had no self-control. The preservation of the assets depended on his strong and steady hand in a context in which there were no dividends paid, no financial transparency. And yet, paradoxically, I began to argue that transparency in a family culture in which there was impulsive and extravagant consumption would lead to self-interested decision making—people could vote to pay themselves all of the assets over a short period of time. Democracy has its downsides if wealth preservation or accumulation is an important goal; many times, those in charge of setting strategic direction are constructed by others as trying to maintain control over assets for their own benefits. (p.213) It shocked the siblings to see their uncle in a different light. And they were shocked by the construction that they had also acted like spoiled brats, getting their needs and desires met without working for them. So, the turning point that legitimized the uncle also delegitimized the siblings. And they felt it. The room grew quiet as they saw themselves as part of a large group of family members with their hands out, requesting money that they had not earned. They were acting like children but were then angry that the uncle was acting like a father. One or two tried to justify their contributions to the holding—they had held positions in one or two of the companies (for which they had been paid), but they had, of course, been given “compensation” beyond what they had earned. I had launched a new moral framework that was beyond binary comparison between authoritarianism versus transparency, which is the framework Julio had been using, as well as beyond the binary frame of obedience in contrast to subversiveness. This new one was about earning material benefits versus being a spoiled brat. It was no doubt a more Puritan ethic, one that fit my own history and culture. But I did not worry about imposing my culture on them. Instead, I waited to see if this new moral order would be elaborated by them. Paradoxically, their efforts to justify themselves functioned to elaborate it! Another, more pragmatic effort was made to justify their requests for gifts/ special payments: “Everyone else does it.” I teased them about being lemmings, running toward their own (moral) destruction just because they were part of the herd. This did two things: It added a new moral dimension (making moral decisions vs. being a lemming), and it helped them to begin to differentiate themselves from the rest of the extended family, operating on what was right, in their eyes, rather than simply following the other spoiled brats.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Turning Point 3: History Revisited—An Ironic Narrative

As this new narrative began to be elaborated, I asked questions about how things came to be as they were (referring to the condition of an authoritarian uncle trying to manage a complex set of assets that the family was constantly pressing him for access). They began to reconstruct the history, describing their attempts to address or confront the absence of transparency, trying to maintain good relations, trying to manage their own holding without knowledge of how it did, or could, contribute to the whole. They described the death of their father and the transfer of a portion of their holdings to their own control. And they described their own internal processes. This historical reconstruction laid out a set of events in which both the uncle and the sibling group themselves had contributed to create the circumstances in which they found themselves—in an authoritarian regime with little transparency, and uneducated about what they could do with their own holding to be less passive about earning, to operate differently than their uncle. This was the third crucial turning point—the creation of a new history in which the parties had (p.214) each contributed to the creation of the problem and had, in the process, revealed both legitimate and less legitimate aspects of themselves. The new history elaborated a new moral order, one that anchored a more complex value system. And, most importantly, it redefined the nature of the problem. When this consultation began, the sibling group wanted to find a way to resolve their conflict with Julio because he was defined as the problem. After the reconstruction of history, this was no longer a problem. In its stead were other problems: How to operate within the uncle’s regime so as to not endanger the group, and how to not be moral lemmings, but be responsible with their assets, setting up a system of transparency in their own holding and contributing to increase assets through working together, based on a financial plan they could create. The new history was, de facto, an ironic narrative. It told a story about imperfect people trying to solve the wrong problem and, in so doing, making the problem worse. Shoham and Rohrbaugh (1997) have noted that conflict is itself ironic, in that the solutions that people apply to problems exacerbate the problem and increase the polarization, thus deepening the conflict. But conflict resolution, from this narrative lens, is also ironic relative to the reconstruction of a new history. This is more than the “shared” history described bySenehi (2002) or Adwan and Bar-On (2003); it is a history that acknowledges the strengths (legitimacy) and limitations (delegitimacy) of all the key players and then describes how the solutions people applied deepened the conflict. An ironic story is one in which responsibility is both external, in the actions of Others, and internal, a function of the limitations of each speaker, as a party to the conflict, as an actor in the drama. In this light, it is possible to say that this turning point is one that constitutes tragedy. All of the parties were working to avoid a crisis; Page 16 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives yet each one, as function of his or her own limitations, his or her humanity, contributed to deepen the conflict. As Aristotle noted, the result is the revelation of the humanity of each of the core actors. Witnessing this, in all senses of the word, it is easy to fall in love, it is easy to be humbled by the complexity of life, and it is easy to appreciate suffering. And, indeed, by the end of the third day, I had a tremendous appreciation for the complexity of each of these people and for their situation. There was much texture to their lives and the problems they were discussing, and there was even considerable texture created around the lives of core actors who were not there, such as their uncle. At this point in the narrative transformation process, natality had reemerged. Despite the fact that these siblings lived in a totalitarian regime (imposed by the uncle, but instantiated in the history and culture of the region), the conditions were in place for this group to address that regime in a manner that was not itself violent. Turning Point 4: Choosing a New Future

On the fourth day of this consultation, the group invited their financial manager to work with them. He made a presentation of the assets, explaining profit, loss, (p.215) and recapitalization for each of them. Many questions emerged, not only about how they were “taxed” by the larger holding, but also about the business decisions made for each of the companies. More questions emerged about how or whether some of these business could grow and whether the larger holding (their uncle’s) would be willing to invest in that effort. This was an entirely new kind of conversation for the group. After a day of discussion, they came up with a formula for paying themselves a distribution from their own holdings, for reinvesting or recapitalizing, and for a collective savings account (for a “nest egg”). They voted (secret ballot) to affirm the leadership they already had for their own holding and set payments for the siblings who would hold those positions. Those who did not hold positions in the company began to discuss the kinds of businesses they would like to start as “working” was valorized. Importantly, they agreed not to request any special funding from their uncle except for those that would support the development of their existing businesses—the “besos” would stop. Ultimately, this reflected the group’s attention to their own holdings as an area they could impact through their careful planning and hard work. They decided to be different from the other members of the extended family and contribute to grow assets rather than just spend them. And they wanted to model for their uncle and the rest of the family how to run a holding company in a transparent manner, creating a different kind of moral “regime.” At a later date, they created by-laws for the governance of the holding company, specifying procedures for decision making and for making evaluations of those who held positions in the business, such as the president of the holding. All of this constituted a huge shift for the sibling group, and they were themselves amazed by their responsible Page 17 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives actions (reducing distributions and planning for recapitalization and savings). They needed time to reflect and discuss the implications of this new narrative for themselves personally and collectively. Turning Point 5: Anchoring the New Narrative(s)

The last portion of our meeting we devoted to “anchoring” this new narrative in the personal lives of each of the participants. Each person described how this new narrative impacted him or her personally. Henrique talked about how he wanted his own children to grow up with a different ethic, one that would encourage them to work for what they wanted. As the (reelected) president of their holding company, he talked about his tremendous relief that he would be able to work with the uncle without fear, addressing real financial issues, getting his input (advisory and financial) on business decisions, and modeling the transparency that they wanted the uncle to institute in the larger holding. Others discussed their business plans and how they were excited about trying some new initiatives. But I felt Dora was less enthusiastic, and, when I pressed her to share her real sense of where this was going, she returned to the earlier narrative that framed (p.216) Julio as the problem. This time, however, he was a problem because he was living on one of the properties they jointly owned but not paying rent; thus, he was a “cost” to the collective. Furthermore, she was very angry because when she came “home” from abroad, for a visit, she wanted to stay in the apartment where Julio was living. She had nowhere else to stay where she could have privacy (she often visited for a month at a time), and she did not want the expense of a hotel. But Julio had his lover staying there, and he had decorated the apartment in a way that she, Dora, found unattractive. She did not feel welcome or comfortable there. I made two moves to reorganize this narrative. First, I framed this apartment as Julio’s “home.” Because he was an adult and a man, he had the privileges of adult males to arrange their homes and invite guests to stay in their homes as they chose. Julio nodded emphatically. Next, I noted that adult men pay for their homes, either by paying rent, paying for it outright, or paying a mortgage. And, without asking Julio, I turned to Dora and indicated that I was sure Julio was an adult male19 and therefore I was sure he would agree to pay rent, if indeed he presumed to call this place his “home.” Julio immediately chimed in and agreed to pay rent. Dora put her head down and started to cry. I was shocked and immediately alarmed. I had no idea why she was crying, but could see that this narrative, which formalized Julio’s status as entitled (through his rental payment) to his “home” was a loss for Dora. I asked her to share with me the nature of her sadness or trouble, but she would not look at me. After a few very awkward moments—her brothers were very troubled and Julio was dismissively rolling his eyes—I suddenly realized that this new narrative of Julio Page 18 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives as a man in his “home” hit her hard, and I could see that she could not undo or escape it as it was already instantiated with Julio and the rest of the group through our conversation. She was trapped in it and somehow it was causing her pain. I got out of my chair, knelt in front of her, and asked her to please not “leave me”—to please stay with me (in conversation) and to forgive me, realizing that somehow I had hurt her and I did not know how. She did not look at me, but she put out her hand and I took it, and I then I teared up. We sat like that for a few minutes without speaking. Then she got up and went to the bathroom, washed her face, and came back to her seat. She then explained how hard it was to live sbroad, away from home and family. She said that this apartment, which was clearly Julio’s “home,” was a place she had hoped to be able to stay on a regular basis—a home away from home, for her. Julio immediately indicated that she was welcome there anytime, and he put his arms around her and she cried some more. The apartment clearly was dense with meaning—it was Julio’s home and it was Dora’s home away from home. As it became Julio’s home, Dora felt (p.217) increasingly lost. In the end, she found her brother and a place to stay where she was wanted20—Julio promised that he would welcome her and provide a place for her, where she would feel respected (i.e., no naked women running around in the middle of the night). This incident was an important part of this narrative transformation process. As it evolved, Dora recuperated her relation with Julio, showing her feelings and making herself vulnerable to him—once he had a right to the apartment, she had feared he would not allow her to stay there, given their relation. But the opposite was true—the very person with whom she had been fighting for years became her host, providing her shelter and caring for her. This not only ensured she could have access to her “home” and family anytime she wanted, but it also ensured that she and Julio would find new ways to be together, in a new relation. Years later, when he came to live with her, as he too moved aborad, he stayed with her while he got his feet under himself. But, relative to the practice of narrative transformation, this event is emblematic of two things: first, it is totally possible that the development of a given narrative can contribute to the marginalization and isolation of one of the parties. And it is often, in my experience, the person who constructed him- or herself as not only right, but anchoring or leading the dominant group who was originally opposed to the more marginalized group. In this case, Dora had been a leader trying to problem solve so that Julio could and would leave the family business, if not the family. And all of her siblings (except Julio), as well as extended family, were “on her side.” So, when the narratives evolved, and Julio was no longer marginalized, it was hardest for the person who was the “leader” of the prior dominant group to accept because she had perhaps the most invested in the narrative that brought her centrality and legitimacy. It was not an accident that Dora was undone by the new narrative.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives But this episode is emblematic of yet another feature of narrative practice, of the emergence of a better-formed story. Dora found herself trapped in a narrative that I had contributed to create and anchor with others in the room (Julio). She experienced herself, initially, as victimized by the narrative I helped author and materialize. This is precisely against the ethics of narrative mediation, as described by Winslade and Monk, and against the ethics of conflict resolution practice more broadly speaking. Parties or stakeholders are supposed to be the authors of the solutions to conflicts, not the third party, precisely because these parties can end up with a solution not of their making, one that will not work for them in the long run. So, trapping Dora in a narrative she did not make and (p. 218) could not change is not only unethical, from this perspective, but not practical in terms of the viability of the resolution to the conflict. However, this episode demonstrates that parties know when they are not fitting into a newly materializing narrative. Dora began to cry. When parties are positioned in ways that do not fit for them, they enact that lack of fit. Some protest. Some withdraw. Some cry, and others argue. They let their displeasure or their discomfort be known. If, as positioning theory suggests, identity is a function of positioning in discourse, when identity or positions are problematic for people, they work to alter or reorganize those positions. There is evidence of pain, and narrative practitioners can and should be responsive to that pain. Dora’s pain can be understood as less a function of negative positioning and more a function of the loss of a position. If Julio was a legitimate person, who was she? How was she to make sense of herself without the ease and comfort of knowing she was right, that she was legitimate because Julio was delegitimate? When Julio became legitimate, it created a circumstance in which Dora was, from a narrative perspective, in a liminal space, a place where she was no longer who she had been and was yet without a new identity. Van Gennep (1960) has described the liminal process as one in which the identity of a person is stripped of the markers associated with a prior dentity and is thus blocked from performing that identity. This was clearly the case with Dora. She had been the older sister, the leader of group that judged Julio. But as Julio was reconstructed as a reasonable man, he no longer needed an older sister to keep him in line; and, as he was compliant with the moral order and operational rules that were emerging (paying rent like other grown-ups do), he became legitimate, and Dora’s role—leading others in a crusade to keep him in line or get rid of him— was no longer needed. In my view, Dora’s tears were directly related to the loss of identity, to the creation of a liminal space in which she was literally between identities. To assume that she was crying because she did not want Julio to live in the apartment is to undermine and underestimate the complexity of the role of narrative in the production of identity and the complications that narrative transformation present to real people engaged in a conflict resolution process. People in conflict would likely not choose to destabilize their own identity, but rather to ensure that they persist as the Page 20 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives person they know themselves to be. When this is no longer possible, it is very hard for the person to be left without an identity. After Dora cried and we worked out a solution for her stays during her visits, one of her brothers put his arm around her when we broke for coffee and told her that he did not realize she was so sad to be far away from family, from “home” (living abroad). When we returned to the group, I asked her to tell us about her experience of living apart from the Others, in a different culture. She cried again, describing her desire to have children and she shared with us her concerns that she and her husband would not be able to have children. As she talked, everyone learned more about her lifeabroad, what made her happy, and (p.219) the nature of her worries. She became more a person in her own right as she spoke. Her brothers began to praise her for her courage, for her adventurous spirit, for her strength. They talked about how most women seek the comfort of their family “nest” while she was making her own nest. In this conversation, Dora’s new identity began to emerge; in anchoring the new narrative that did not contain the old conflict, we repositioned Dora. And, in this new identity, she was strong and competent, a leader in the sense that she was an example for all of them. This identity stuck and, indeed, years later, her house abroad became the “landing pad” for all but one of her brothers as they followed her, migrating to a new country. Years later, I had dinner at Dora’s house with her brothers, her mother, and her three children. She was indeed a leader of her family, caring and nurturing, as well as visionary. Using this case example, it is clear that the last turning point is critical; it is, as I have argued, important for the construction of new identities for all parties, particularly for those who had been leaders or central to the “old” narrative, like Dora. But it is important for all members of the group to have a new identity, one that is resonant with the new narrative. But the better-formed story must also be anchored in the broader network, with those who have not participated in the conflict resolution process. I asked all of the siblings to imagine what they would say to others (family and friends) about their experience of the week’s work. We talked all afternoon about who would be most concerned about their new arrangements, their new way of understanding the situation. They discussed their networks in relation to who would be most supportive and who would likely pose a threat to the new arrangement. They decided it was not their uncle who would be a threat. They were more concerned that some of their male cousins would engage them in conversations that would delegitimize Julio. They decided to ask their company president, Henrique, to meet with their uncle and explain their new business plan and its logic. And they agreed to present a united front to the extended family, inviting Julio to join them at various functions, as though it was natural to have Julio, as a member of the family, accepted and respected. In this way, the siblings planned to enact their better-formed story by carrying it into relationships with others and Page 21 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives materializing it in family gatherings. We finished the session on the last day with everyone feeling upbeat, relieved, and happy. Together, these five turning points comprised the transformations that took place, in the order I have presented them: 1 Creating legitimacy and its shadow (delegitimacy) 2 Creating delegitimacy and it shadow (legitimacy) for the Other(s) 3 Creating an interdependent history (an ironic narrative) 4 Creating a new future 5 Anchoring the new narrative (p.220) The sequence of these events is not random; working backward, each of the turning points is required before the next can occur. They build on each other. In order for parties to be able to discuss the implications of a new narrative, anchoring it (turning point 5), there must be a new narrative, a new definition of the problem, and new solutions already in place (turning point 4); logically, the new narrative must be developed before it can be anchored, before its implications for the social network can be discussed. But the new future cannot be created without a new description of the past (turning point 3). Otherwise, the past, as a set of conflict narratives, requires the persistence of polarization. Yet it is all too often the case that we work to build solutions (e.g., to the Middle East conflict) without a reconstruction of the past. Negotiations that generate peace agreements without a reconstructed history are doomed to become “frozen conflicts” (Perry, 2009). However, the past cannot be reconstructed until all parties are willing to accept some responsibility for its creation (turning points 1 and 2). In this model of narrative transformation, the reconstruction of moral agency, effective in and through turning points 1 and 2, is foundational to the viability of subsequent transformations of the conflict narrative. It is certainly the case that each of these turning points contributes to “thicken” the construction of people as moral agents, capable of acting within a moral framework that they elaborate, not one that victimizes them. Indeed, in turning points 1 and 2, in which the speakers elaborate the shadow side of their legitimacy (turning point #1) and shadow legitimacy of their Other’s delegitimacy (turning point #2), they effectively alter the nature of the identities of the central players, themselves and their Others. This identity “thickening” is critically important to moral agency, as Nelson (2001) has described it—she argues that it is tied to the ability for “normative self-disclosure” (p. 25). People must be able to disclose, not just describe, but disclose, the norms they are using to guide their actions. This distinction between “description” and “disclosing” is interesting. When conflicting parties come into a resolution process, they describe the moral framework they use to Page 22 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives assess their actions and those of their Others. But “disclose” refers to unveiling something that was hidden. And, indeed, in a conflict narrative, what is hidden is the delegitimacy of the speaker, within the speaker’s narrative of Self-aslegitimate, as well as the legitimacy of the (delegitimized) Other, within the speaker’s negative narrative construction of the Other. I am arguing that moral agency appears in and through the process of revealing or unveiling the complexity of the people, as persons, as human beings. From this perspective, turning points 1 and 2, both of which constitute the speakers and their Others as both legitimate and imperfect, provide the discursive space for “normative self-disclosure.” From this perspective, these turning points constitute the moral agency of the speakers and are therefore requisite to any other constructions of past or future. People have to be positioned as human beings by Self and by their Others in order to be able to act; normative (p.221) self-disclosure sets up the conditions for the transformation of the conflict stories. It is, in my view, a precondition to conflict resolution. For this reason, it cannot be an artifact resulting from the conflict resolution process because, unless persons recuperate the moral agency drained from them by the conflict narrative, not only will the conflict narrative remain or even strengthen/grow, but identity itself remains “damaged.” Their ability to act, in Arendt’s terms, is restricted, and natality, being human beings simply because we were born, is restricted or obscured. I am arguing here, in what I see to be a critically important paragraph of the book, that the reconstruction of identity is foundational to the resolution of the conflict and to the emergence of natality, as well as to the transformation of the totalitarian systems that conflict narratives nurture. Generally speaking, this evolution is a function of increasing narrative complexity. As I have noted, conflict narratives have simple plots and character constructions in which each party legitimizes Self and delegitimizes Others, using very binary and simplistic moral frameworks. The better-formed story, generated through the set of turning points I have outlined, is more complex. First, the plot line of a better-formed story is more complex in three ways: (a) it has quantitatively more events in the plot line—the number of events that people discuss as pertinent to the plot line increases; (b) it has a circular rather than linear logic, such that all parties to the conflict are constructed as having contributed to the problem, thus creating an ironic plot; and (c) it contains temporal complexity that ensures the plot has events in the past, that lead to the present, toward a future, as opposed to a only plot focused on the past or the future. All three of these conditions work together to comprise a more complex plot. Second, the discursive positions for each of the characters are more complex in that they are described (by Self and elaborated by Others) as having characteristics that constitute their legitimacy but that have a shadow side that reduces their perfection (increasing delegitimacy). Third, the moral order is moved from being binary to multinodal—that is, the dimensions along which Page 23 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives persons evaluate Self and Other multiply, increasing the diversity of the moral frameworks that are elaborated by all the parties. And, in fact, as Nelson (2001) points out, “normative self-disclosure” cannot be accomplished by a speaker alone (p. 27); the moral framework he or she advances in this process must be then elaborated by Others. Together, these three dimensions of narrative, plot, character positions, and moral frameworks comprise the dimensions along which we can track increased complexity in the process of moving from conflict narrative to better-formed story. In summary, I have argued that critical narrative practice involves the transformation of conflict narratives such that natality emerges, reducing totalitarianism itself. And I have shown through this case study that narrative transformation involves a set of turning points that alter identity, history, and the formulation of the problem and its resolution, thus anchoring the resolution back in the social network. Finally, I have worked to clarify why these turning points should occur in the order I have described, making an argument (p.222) that the initial turning points that constitute moral agency are foundational to all subsequent transformations. Persons must have moral agency before they can reconstruct their pasts or redesign their futures. Thus, the conflict resolution practice that derives from critical narrative theory relies on the production of moral agency as a precondition for the transformation of the conflict narrative. The turning points I have described depict the evolution of the conflict narrative to a better-formed story, one anchored on the moral agency of the speakers. Across these turning points, significant changes occur to the conflict narrative’s plot structure, character positions, and value systems. Together, these changes comprise a “better-formed” story. Character roles must not only detail the actions of the Other (which produces a linear plot) but also must constitute the actions of the Other as caused by the actions of Self, thus constituting a circular logic that begins to move in the direction of internalized (mutual) responsibility: 1 Narratives that are temporally simple must move in the direction of temporal complexity, so that the past, present, and future are not only connected but are filled out through the addition of events. 2 Because the speaker often tells a story revolving around the Self–Other relation, an aesthetic ethics would imply that speakers include additional characters in the drama, reducing the polarization between speaker– Other; more characters reduce the possibility that causality can be stabilized (blame can be laid). 3 Because speakers attribute positive intention to their actions and negative intentions to Other, this aesthetic practice must move in the direction of positively connoting the actions of the Other(s).

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives This list of guidelines, grounded in narrative theory, will enable speakers to reconstitute their subjectivity in new ways and, in the process, discover themselves “as works of art,” not because they are inherently beautiful, but because narrative evolution, moving in the direction of the changes noted here, allows them to recast themselves on the stage of their own lives, reclaiming the space that was occupied by the excluded Other. The main feature of this practice of aesthetic ethics is destabilization; third parties do not need to provide new subjectivity for people—they can do it by themselves, but they must have help in destabilizing the narrative structures (plots, characters, moral frames) that contribute to maintain their exclusion of the Other. The better-formed story is itself a normative narrative theory, but its name suggests that it is “better” for there to be complexity across these structural dimensions. It is “better,” I have argued, because it is generative not only because it leads toward new solutions to new problems, thus untying the knots (“nots”) of protracted conflict, but also because it provides for the creation of moral agency and natality. The better-formed story is a critical narrative practice, one that (p.223) reduces the marginalization of those who have subjected to narrative violence, within the totalitarian narrative regimes.

The Better-Formed Story: A Critical Narrative Practice If, as I have argued earlier, narrative is the domain in which subjectivity is crystallized and materialized, it is the process for the production of natality. Arendt, however, posits that natality is the humanness awarded to every human being at his or her birth, because of his or her birth; she is discussing natality as an ontological condition. Yet we know that although this condition can provide a philosophical foundation for human beings as singular and particular, it may not materialize this way; totalitarianism can easily ignore the fact of natality and construct human beings as subhuman. Indeed, the “microphysics of power” that Foucault describes as critical to the production of subjectivity itself reveals the various ways that, in given contexts, subjectivity is regulated. So, natality as a concept does not ensure it will materialize. However, as I have noted, if we presume that natality is a function of narrative, then natality would exist to the extent that the subjectivity that is constructed details the particular complexity of a given person, at a given time and place. In other words, natality is a kind of subjectivity. In direct contrast to a radicalized narrative that denies natality, the better-formed story constitutes it in three ways: First, the construction of the Self is complex at the very least and, at the most, ironic, for the legitimacy claimed for Self is twinned to its shadow; never quite cancelled, but never certain either. Second, the construction of Self as contributing to the problem ties subjectivity to that of Others—actors are never a single person, able to design their fate, but are forever interdependently connected to Others. Third, the moral frameworks emerged through the creation of the better-formed story ensure that the value system is more diverse—good Page 25 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives and evil can be clearly identified, but those judgments are complicated by the multiple ways in which people/things can be good or bad. This is not equivalent to relativism. Some might argue that the outcome of the Dora case was little more than a narrative that justified the status quo by maintaining the uncle’s regime; marginalization is reproduced, and totalitarianism continues. Freedom is only possible on the margins (of the family). This is, in my view, a problematic assessment for a number of reasons. First, it persists in the assumption that centrality is better than marginality, yet we know that magic realism itself is an artifact of being “in” and “out”; this is not relativism, for every normative framework is not equal to the next. It is more that being in and out that provides a person with the freedom to move around within a given system. Additionally, I think that the assumption that structural violence is an artifact of any given system, without giving attention to the way that persons experience that system, is yet another face of totalitarianism, only this time it is the (p.224) left (democracy?) not the right denigrating and categorizing people. The uncle in this case was a person. He was born. He was not just an oppressor, he was also a caretaker, trying to meet the needs of a large and rather bratty family, whose culture had no doubt fit that of a totalitarian political regime. In sum, natality provides a criteria for assessing the transformation of conflict stories; freedom, as the return of moral agency, is a function of the nature of the narrative, and the better-formed story is the context in which normative self-disclosure can be enacted or materialized. The betterformed story, according to the criteria I have created for a critical narrative theory, is “better” because it supports the creation of the “concrete” Self and Other—complicated human beings being human. The better-formed story has a resonance with Aristotle’s notion of tragedy; the crisis point of tradegy, as Aritotle described it,21 reveals the true character of the protagonist whose downfall, like our own, is tinged with the pathos of having participated, unwittingly, as a function of that character and its roles, in his own demise, despite his efforts to avoid his fate. Aristotle describes tragedy in his Poetics as containing three features: reversals, recognition, and the scene of suffering (Aristotle, Poetics, Section 1, Part XI).22 A better-formed story offers similar features: there is a reversal of fortune often presented in the initial conflict story: Through the actions of the Other, things went from bad to worse. Aristotle uses the words “knowledge” and “learning” as synonymous to “recognition”; basically the protagonist in the story learns how he has contributed to his misfortune through the very ways that he has tried to redress this misfortune. This recognition accompanies the “scene of suffering” in which the protagonist faces his own fate, knowing he contributed to it. The suffering is clear. This tracks the production of a better-formed story: There is, as a function of turning points 1 through 3, the awareness of the complexity of Self and Other. The construction of the new history in turning point 3 sets in motion the “scene of suffering,” in which the consequences of the conflict on real people and Page 26 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives bodies is portrayed. And in this process, as Aristotle noted, the humanity of the protagonist is revealed. If this is public, as is the case, for example, in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, then pity, rather than compassion is the result. And pity, as Arendt notes, creates a mimetic relation with suffering, distancing us from it and inevitably reducing its capacity to change us, its witnesses. Elshtain (1989, p. 210) quotes Arendt: “For compassion, to be stricken with the suffering of someone else as though it were contagious, and pity, to be sorry without being touched in the flesh, is not only not the same, they may not even be related.” The better-formed story functions to generate the compassion of one side for the Other, for the people involved in the conversation. (p.225) In my view, pity is forestalled when the humanity of both/all sides of a conflict are humanized, and compassion is the result. This is very different from the spectacle of a tragic scene in which the scene of suffering involves only the protagonist. Anna Deavere Smith, a playwright and an actress, creates a set of characters for her dramas, and each one is constructed with the kind of complexity that is characteristic of a better-formed story. In her depictions of urban conflicts, not only is there a multiperspectival frame (Jay, 2007) that is very different from the Greek Chorus, but no character is framed as the bad one —each one is portrayed with texture and color, with complexity. Their natality is present, as is compassion, not pity. Better-formed stories, like the art of Anna Deavere Smith, have an aesthetic that leans toward the complexity of characters. Carroll (2001), in Constantine’s Sword, points the aesthetics of narrative in the direction of fear not compassion. He argues that there is a difference between the distance between plot and story; citing E. M. Forster’s famous distinction between a sequence of events (plot)—“The king died and then the queen died”— and a story: “The King died and then the Queen died of grief.” In the story, the relation between the events creates a framework in which the actions in the beginning of the narrative are revealed in light of the meaning provided at the end of the story. (Carroll, 2001, p. 21) This is the case with a better-formed story: Its aesthetics requires the creation of the meaning to be revealed through the actions of the parties to the conflict. This is created through turning points 1–3, in which the legitimacy of the characters and their tragic and ironic interactions are constructed. Although I have been creating critical narrative theory for its application to conflict resolution, there is a large and significant body of research on narrative medicine.23 Cheryl Mattingly (1998), in her book Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience, offers a framework of narrative as the domain through which persons reinvent themselves in the course of their Page 27 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives treatment programs, and she describes when and where practitioners can support the development of these new narratives. In some cases, this reinvention may involve a person coming to talk about Self as an agent instead of “handicapped.” However, she makes the excellent point that these narratives do not emerge from individuals but are constructed in interaction. In a therapeutic environment, the way nurses story the actions of their patients and the way patients elaborate their own experience reflects what Mattingly (1994) calls “therapeutic (p.226) emplotment.” For her, healing plots are those that story patients as agents; they accompany actions and interactions that allow the patients to elaborate themselves as actors capable of crafting a life. Effectively, she evaluates the treatment and the interaction between nurses and patients as a function of the way patients are elaborated or positioned as agents. Although she does not discuss moral agency explicitly, she is indeed describing, through the case studies, patients taking on the role of acting like moral beings who can act within frameworks of right and wrong. This is “therapeutic emplotment” and it resonates with the framework of a better-formed story; the latter can be said to be “therapeutic” because it supports the healing of relationships and it creates a relation with Self that is more “whole.” The word “heal” comes from the an Old English word, h æ l þ, meaning “whole”; healing, from a narrative perspective, would imply the presence of the whole person, his legitimacy and the shadow or dark side of that legitimacy. From this perspective, a betterformed story is a healing story. And, indeed, Carlos Sluzki, who first coined this term, used it to refer to the stories that emerged in and through a therapeutic intervention with families, as he took a narrative approach to family therapy. The “better” story was one that reduced symptoms and allowed family members to engage differently, thus breaking the cycle of the problem-created system (Sluzki, 1990). Although the field of conflict resolution may find itself unnerved by these connections to healing, to therapy, to the frame of conflict-as-illness, it is an interesting direction for the field, and it resonates with the research on narrative medicine. This is just another normative framework, one not out of step with, for example, Galtung’s (1969) notion that structural violence—marginalization, not being able to speak and be heard—as Rancière (1999, 2006, 2009) would argue, reflects not just the bad intentions of given individuals or regimes, but reflects a field of stories about who can speak and what can be said, who is legitimate and who is not. In the case study I presented on the family business, the social illness had to do with the culture of violence that supported the uncle’s impunity and authoritarian style. The better-formed story that we created together provided a framework for an alternative way to do business transparently. But it also addressed the other social ill—decadence. As a member of the oligarchy, this family was disconnected from the experience of work and perpetuated, in their politics and in their lifestyle, a disregard for workers. This move toward a culture of transparency and toward an appreciation for work was a move away Page 28 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives from totalitarianism, and it opened this family to the plight of many others who worked for a living. So, the better-formed story is one that does contribute to “heal” social illnesses. Better-formed stories, like social and individual well-being, cannot be engineered. In the case presented here, I used a variety of techniques to destabilize the conflict narratives. In the context of the process of witnessing, which I have already described, I used circular questions (Cecchin, 1987; Feinberg, 1990; Loos and Bell, 1990; Tomm, 1988), negative explanation (Sluzki, 1990; White, (p.227) 1986), positive connotation (O’Brian and Bruggen, 1985; Shoham and Rohrbaugh, 1997), and reframing (Rothman and Olson, 2001; Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch, 2011). Seeing moral frameworks as “constructs,” I drew on Kelly’s (1963) description of a construct system to map this system and search for new dimension of it by locating and anchoring constructs. But this book is not intended to describe the practice of narrative conflict resolution. It is rather an effort to provide a theoretical foundation for narrative practice in conflict resolution that links it to critical theory and thus builds a normative framework on which we can create/describe an ethics for critical narrative practice. In Chapter 8, I examine the implications of critical narrative practice for conflict resolution, revisiting these practices from a critical narrative lens. The purpose of this exercise is not only to highlight the differences between a narrative and a more traditional lens, but also to work toward the development of an ethics of practice based on the aesthetics of the better-formed story described and discussed in this chapter. This ethical framework will provide not only an important dimension of contrast to more traditional forms of conflict resolution, but it will also lay the groundwork for the claim that ethical practice relies on a poetics of narrative. Bibliography Bibliography references: Abney, G., and T. P. Lauth. 2002. “Gubernatorial Use of the Item Veto for Narrative Deletion. Public Administration Review 62 (4): 492–503. Adwan, S., and D. Bar-On,.2003. “Shared History Project: A PRIME Example of Peace-Building Under Fire.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 17 (3): 513–521. ———. 2006. “Sharing History: Palestinian and Israeli Teachers and Pupils Learning Each Other’s Narrative,” in Troublemakers or Peacemakers, S. McEvoy-Levy, ed. 217–234, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Arquilla, J., and D. F. Ronfeldt. 2001. Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. Santa Monica, CA: Rand. Bar-On, D., and F. Kassem. 2004. “Storytelling as a Way to Work Through Intractable Conflicts: The German-Jewish Experience and Its Relevance to the Palestinian-Israeli Context.” Journal of Social Issues 60 (2): 289–306. Blume, J.,S. Johnson, and E. C. Paavola. 2006. Every Juror Wants a Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guild and the Right to Present a Defense. Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper, no. 06–042. Carroll, J. 2001. Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Cecchin, G. 1987. “Hypothesizing, Circularity, and Neutrality Revisited: An Invitation to Curiosity.” Family Process 26 (4): 405–413. Cobb, S. 1993. “Empowerment and Mediation: A Narrative Perspective.” Negotiation Journal 9 (3): 245–259. ———. 1994. “A Narrative Perspective on Mediation: Toward the Materialization of the ‘Storytelling’ Metaphor.” In New Directions in Mediation: Communication Research and Perspectives, ed. J. P. Folger, and T. S. Jones 48–63. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ———. 2001. “Creating Sacred Space: Toward a Second-Generation Dispute Resolution Practice.” Fordham Urban Law Journal 28 (4): 1017–1031. (p.228) ———. 2002. “Espacios liminales en los procesos de negociación: atravesando umbrales interpretativos y relacionales en una negociación en empresa familiar.” Mediadores en Red 1 (September). http://www.mediadoresenred.org.ar/larevista/ espaciosliminales.html. ———. 2004. “Witnessing in Mediation: Towards an Aesthetic Ethics of Practice.” Draft. ICAR, Arlington, Virginia. ———. 2006. “A Developmental Approach to Turning Points: Irony as an Ethics for Negotiation Pragmatics.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review 11: 147–197. ———. 2010. “Stabilizing Violence: Structural Complexity and Moral Transparency in Penalty Phase Narratives.” Narrative Inquiry 20 (2): 296–324. Cobb, S., and J. Rifkin. 1991a. “Practice and Paradox: Deconstructing Neutrality in Mediation.” Law & Social Inquiry 16 (1): 35–62. ———. 1991b. “Neutrality as a Discursive Practice: The Construction and Transformation of Narratives in Community Mediation.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 11: 69–91. Page 30 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Cobb, S., and A. Wassuna. 2000. “Humanizing Human Rights: Transitional Justice as Moral Discussion.” Presented to Law and Society Annual Association Meeting. Miami, Florida. Cobb, S., and H. Yusuf. 2011. “Narrative Approaches to Peacebuilding: A Prospective Case Study.” In Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory. New York: Praeger. Elshtain, J. B. 1989. “Hannah Arendt’s French Revolution.” Salmagundi 84: 203– 213. Feinberg, P. H. 1990. “Circular Questions: Establishing the Relational Context.” Family Systems Medicine 8 (3): 273. Forester, J. F. 1999. The Deliberative Practitioner: Encouraging Participatory Planning Processes. Illustrated ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock. Galtung, J. 1969. “Violence, Peace and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6 (3): 167–191. Gergen, K. J. and Gergen, M. M. 1986. “Narrative Form and the Construction of Psychological Science.” In Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct, ed. Theodore R Sarbin, 22–44. New York: Praeger. Hellman, J. 2000. “Real and Virtual Chiapas: Magic Realism and the Left.” Socialist Register 36: 161–186. Hutcheon, L. 1989. “‘Circling the Downspout of Empire’: Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 20 (4): 149– 175. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/10262. Jay, G. 2007. “Other People’s Holocausts: Trauma, Empathy, and Justice in Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror.” Contemporary Literature 48 (1): 119–149. Kelly, G. 1963. A Theory of Personality; the Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: W. W. Norton. Loos, F., and J. M. Bell. 1990. “Circular Questions: A Family Interviewing Strategy.” Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing 9 (1): 46–53. Mattingly, C. 1994. “The Concept of Therapeutic ‘Emplotment.’” Social Science & Medicine 38 (6): 811–822. ———. 1998. Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. O’Brian, C., and P. Bruggen. 1985. “Our Personal and Professional Lives: Learning Positive Connotation and Circular Questioning.” Family Process 24 (3): 311–322. Perry, V. 2009. “At Cross Purposes? Democratization and Peace Implementation Strategies in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Frozen Conflict.” Human Rights Review 10 (1): 35–54. Polletta, F., and J. M. Jasper. 2001. “Collective Identity and Social Movements.” Annual Review of Sociology 27 (January): 283–305. Rancière, J., 1999. Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ———. 2006. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. New York: Continuum. ———. 2009. Aesthetics and Its Discontents. Cambridge, UK: Polity. (p.229) Rothman, J., and M. L. Olson. 2001. “From Interests to Identities: Towards a New Emphasis in Interactive Conflict Resolution.” Journal of Peace Research 38 (3): 289–305. Senehi, J. 2002. “Constructive Storytelling: A Peace Process.” Peace and Conflict Studies 9 (2): 41–63. Shoham, V., and M. Rohrbaugh. 1997. “Interrupting Ironic Processes.” Psychological Science 8 (3): 151–153. Slemon, S. 1988. “Magic Realism as Post-Colonial Discourse.” Canadian Literature 116 (Spring): 9–24. Sluzki, C. E. 1990. “Negative Explanation, Drawing Distinctions, Raising Dilemmas, Collapsing Time, Externalisation of Problems.” Residential Treatment For Children & Youth 7 (3): 33–37. Somers, M. R. 1994. “The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach.” Theory and Society 23 (5): 605–649. Stone, D.,B. Patton, and S. Heen. 1999. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York: Viking. Throgmorton, J. A. 1996. Planning as Persuasive Storytelling: The Rhetorical Construction of Chicago’s Electric Future. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives Tomm, K. 1988. “Interventive Interviewing: Part III. Intending to Ask Lineal, Circular, Strategic, or Reflexive Questions?” Family Process 27 (1): 1–15. van Gennep, A. 1960. The Rites of Passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Watzlawick, P., J. H. Weakland, and R. Fisch. 2011. Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution. New York: W. W. Norton. Weingarten, K., and S. Cobb. 1995. “Timing Disclosure Sessions: Adding a Narrative Perspective to Clinical Work with Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” Family Process 34 (3): 257–269. White, M. 1986. “Negative Explanation, Restraint, and Double Description: A Template for Family Therapy.” Family Process 25 (2): 169–184. White, M., and D. Epston. 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Winslade, J., and G. D. Monk. 2000. Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ———. 2008. Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Xie, H., R. B. Cairns, and B. D. Cairns. 2002. “The Development of Social Aggression and Physical Aggression: A Narrative Analysis of Interpersonal Conflicts.” Aggressive Behavior 28 (5): 341–355. Notes:

(1) See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13469588 for a news article in which President Obama praised the work of this group. See also http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Parents_Circle-Families_Forum. (2) See Throgmorton (1996) and Forester (1999) for examples of how storytelling is integrated into interest-based processes. (3) See Bar-On and Kassem (2004). Bar-On has done excellent and extensive work with storytelling. See also his work with Peace Research in the Middle East (PRIME) (Adwan and Bar-On, 2006). (4) See Somers (1994) for a theory of the relation between narrative and what she calls “intersubjective networks” (p. 619). See Xie, Cairns, and Cairns (2002) for the use of narrative analysis on the study of aggression in social networks. However, these two studies exemplify the gap in our knowledge, for although Somers addresses narrative and identity, she does not address conflict; and although Xie et al. address violence in social networks using a narrative lens, Page 33 of 37

Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives they do not address identity. See Arquilla and Ronfeldt (2001) for analysis of the role of narrative in social networks where terrorism or “leaderless resistance doctrine” (p. 334) is at issue. The social movement literature has yet to link narrative identity to social dynamics. See Polletta and Jasper (2001) for excellent research on social movements but it does not address narrative processes. (5) The “root cause” metaphor in conversation has been ubiquitous, and in my view, anchored attention on causes, rather than promotion attention to dynamics. This problem is of course a result of the positivist discourse that has permeated the field. This is quite evident in the discourse of the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF), which is used by the US government agencies to do conflict analysis. It draws attention to “drivers” and “mitigators” as a framework for analysis, inevitably pulling analysis away from complex dynamics toward a factor analysis. One can see this reflecting the structuralist, as well as positivist assumptions that have long been central to the field of conflict analysis. See www.state.gov/documents/organization/187786.pdf for a link to the ICAF document. (6) See Winslade and Monk (2008) for an account of how narrative practice can be used not only in mediation, but in multiple social settings that include conflicts in organizations, schools, and health care settings. They are explicit about their effort to think beyond the confines of a formal mediation process. (7) It is most interesting to note that Senehi does not cite Winslade and Monk, even though their work preceded hers by two years. In my view, this is evidence of the very different epistemological assumptions in which these two sets of authors were writing about narrative. Winslade and Monk come out of a tradition that links social constructionism to the politics of positioning, whereas Senehi is using narrative from within a more positivist tradition in which conflict is a function of a list of (narrative) factors. This does not mean that Senehi’s contribution is not significant or useful; her framework could, however, be developed by its integration into a robust critical perspective on the macro end and more specificity at the micro end, at the level of specifying narrative content. (8) See Cobb (2010) for discussion of these “story battles” in the penalty phase of capital trials. (9) The idea for the “better-formed story” was initially developed by Carlos Sluzki, as a lens to account for narrative transformation in family therapy. See Carlos E. Sluzki (1990). I adapted this model as a framework for thinking about the resolution of conflicts. (10) The names of the people involved in this consultation have been changed, as have any details of the businesses in which they were involved. They did,

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives however, live in Latin America; given the size and political stature of this family, I have chosen not to reveal the country in which they lived. (11) I want to explain the nature of the “contract” I had with this group. They had wanted to hire me to help them negotiate with their uncle, so that they could get the information they needed about their portion of the assets and, in turn, set a price to buy out Julio. In other words, their version of “the resolution” to the conflict was that Julio would leave the holding and likely the family. I refused this proposed frame for the contract and instead suggested that we explore how they could manage their problem by themselves, which would increase the Uncle’s esteem for them, as well as their own confidence to work through this and future problems effectively. So, I never met or spoke to the uncle. I did ask them to inform the uncle that they had retained me to help them address this problem, and then report to him, upon its settlement, the nature of the resolution they had devised. They honored both of these requests. It is interesting to note that when I got on site, they again invited me to meet the uncle, this time for dinner, and I refused, reminding them of our agreement and the framework for the contract. It would have certainly been possible to, at some point, extend the contract to include negotiating with their uncle to obtain information on the total assets. However, I concluded, after speaking with the siblings and their lawyer, that there were no laws in place that would ensure the information they would get, even if the Uncle chose to “negotiate” with them, would be accurate. I told them that a negotiation relies on verifiable information, and, when information is not verifiable, it is not a negotiation but a request. They could make a request for information from him at any point in time. But there was no legal framework that would, at that time, allow any verification. For this reason, I thought the more sensible path would be for them to develop trust with their uncle, which I reasoned would provide more access to resources and information in a context in which he was not required by any law to do so. In sum, even though the uncle was not a participant in the conflict intervention, he was a character in the story, one whose reconstruction was critically important to the viability of the conflict resolution process. (12) I think it is important to note that I am married to an Argentinian, and, because of this, have lived through the aftermath of a totalitarian regime in which we lost many close friends and colleagues who “disappeared” during the Dirty War. Versions of these complexities (How do families “move on” and address their loss? How do new governments account for and take responsibility for prior violent regimes?) have played out across Latin America, altered by the differences in culture, context, and history. I am really saying in this note that I was able to imagine, from a narrative perspective, some of these complexities, so that when Dora told me about the problem, I had a much “thicker” description of the situation than the story she told me. The backdrop of political

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives violence continued to be important to the overall work done with this group, as I will relate. (13) Mauricio was not able to participate in this work and was alienated from his brothers and sisters throughout this time. (14) These people spoke perfect English, as they had been educated in Englishspeaking schools in their country and had attended American university programs. I had enough Spanish to follow their switching from English to Spanish when the tension got high, and for the jokes and proverbs that were sprinkled across the conversations. (15) This consultation took place after 1989 when Pinochet’s regime formally was ended. (16) I have worked in other cultures, notably Arab, in which metaphor and analogy are not easily introduced, not because they are literal, but because I am not steeped in the language, literature, or cultural history. I have, however, asked them for hadiths to fit a given situation, as well as asking them to tell me a folk tale from their culture that fits the situation. Both of these strategies have led to the creation of a framework for working metaphorically or analogically. (17) Later in the day, one of the brothers held Julio’s jacket for him to put on before going outside, referring to the jacket as his armor. Julio laughed. (18) These were people culturally grounded in American films like The Wizard of Oz. I found it interesting that they this chose this film, explicitly about wizardry, as the basis for these jokes. (19) Julio was not only an “adult male” he was a “macho” by his own description —proud of his maleness. I knew this would be the case—I was sure that Julio would elaborate this narrative description of himself. (20) There was some discussion as to whether Julio’s live-in girlfriend should be in the apartment when Dora was there, but I was clear—if it was Julio’s home, he was entitled, just like any man, to have guests stay over or even to have other people living there. However, he would make sure the second bedroom and the apartment was clean and organized before Dora came to stay, and he promised to create a “respectful place” for her. (21) See Aristotle’s (1987) description of tragedy in The Poetics of Aristotle: Translation and Commentary. The University of North Carolina Press. (22) See http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.1.1.html.

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Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives (23) Although this literature is not necessarily pertinent to conflict resolution, it indeed is worth exploring. See http://www.cfp.ca/content/53/8/1265.full for a review of the history of narrative medicine. See also the Program on Narrative Medicine at Columbia University at http://www.narrativemedicine.org/programs/ nmw.html.

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter provides a critique of existing ethics of practice for conflict resolution, practices focused on either “participation” or “neutrality” and offers a new ethical framework arising from aesthetic criteria for assessing, at the level of both content and process, narratives and their evolution, as well as their circulation. Drawing on Aristotle and Ranciere, aesthetic criteria for ethics are offered and their import for practice discussed. Keywords:   neutrality, participation, narrative craft

I always go to the Recoleta Museum when I visit Buenos Aires. It is a museum in the Recoleta Cemetery, which is an old traditional cemetery filled with the graves and mausoleums of war heroes, national leaders, and ordinary people. On this particular day, I was alone, without the usual entourage of my Argentinean husband, our family and friends. I stopped at the café for coffee and a sandwich, then wandered over to the Museum, prepared to be surprised, which I could see was itself a paradox, by the new installation of three-dimensional art that would be on display. As I came up the ramp and headed down the museum’s central corridor, I found myself flanked on either side by newspaper articles, blown up in size, organized according to date, that reported the emerging “truth” about the Dirty War—suicide, torture, disappearance, and death. Both sides of the corridor were papered in these articles, in large print and photos. The deeper I walked into the museum, the deeper I moved into the revealed history of the Dirty War. The initial articles were about the public violence in the streets, followed by articles that addressed rising suspicions about the “disappeared.” There were doorways leading off from the main corridor into rooms that Page 1 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice displayed photographs of the places where people disappeared—their front porches, living rooms—and of the cars associated with the undercover police— black sedans, ubiquitous and anonymous. There were pictures of police stations and torture centers, of children crying for their parents, with grandparents, jaws set, refusing to talk to reporters. There were other rooms with abstract paintings and installations, art that was contextualized by the interlocking and resonant relations among newsprint stories, photographs, color, form, and, of course, the people who had come to view this exhibit. The newspaper articles on the walls of the corridors told a story about the slow awakening of the press and the public to the nature and extent of the violence. How could they have disposed of tortured individuals by throwing them out of planes? And alive! I was so horrified, so terribly shocked—but not because I did not know this information. To walk down the corridor was to walk the path of the “official” discovery of the terrible truth of this violence. I was embarrassed (p. 231) to cry, not because I was in public, but because I was alone and I knew that other people, total strangers, would have to comfort me. Unable to stand, surrendering to grief, I sat down in the concrete corridor, sobbing for the friends my husband had lost, for all the people who my love obligated love for them. I lost it. In public. I cried for all the people I never knew, tortured in dark places, forlorn, lost, and terrified. I cried for the mothers and fathers, as well as the children. I cried for the friends of those who died, who had lived in daily fear that they would be next. And I cried for all the people who had looked the other way and knew they had forsaken others who could not escape. Several people reached out to me, pulled me to my feet and held me, smoothing my hair, muttering to me in soft Spanish, mothering me back to my senses. Other people hugged me, sobbing uncontrollably. It was a storm of emotion deep in that history, in that corridor. I was overwhelmed by my inability to comfort all the people who so obviously needed comforting in the way I had been comforted. And I was embarrassed that I needed the comfort of strangers. Then I was glad that I was alone, and I was afraid that my husband and best friend would see this place, would walk into this history, would sob out their sorrows and grieve for their losses.1 And I would be unable to comfort them. Eventually, I did get my husband, Carlos, and our friend, Julio, and we walked that corridor together. Machos that they are, they did not cry. They were not alone—there were many dry eyes, long faces, and hurried exits from the Museum where there was a loud hum of conversation as crowds gathered outside, talking and smoking. I had my first experience within a relational aesthetics, one that was designed, as art, to generate connections between people (Bishop, 2005; Bourriaud, 1998). This was not an experience in which I, as an individual, made interpretations of art, which was itself open to many possible interpretations as it “resisted” traditional categories or semiotics. It was an experience with other people, with the community of people who were themselves part of the exhibit, themselves an art form, on display. And I was part of of that. The “we” that emerged was Page 2 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice interpretation made visible, life in action, memory and story woven tightly with loss and love. The human drama in those corridors was theatre and the curtain was up—we were the actors and the audience. There was an aesthetic created and emerged in those corridors, one that destabilized the “public/private” divide that had been so thoroughly policed during the Argentine Dirty War—people had learned not to speak in public, to speak in private, and even then to know, ahead of time, the footpaths that words could travel, the networks where they could circulate. The State had, during the war it waged on its own citizens, inverted the private such that it became potentially public; that is, people burned books in their bathtubs and washed the ashes (p.232) down the drain, knowing that their personal reading, in their homes, could be reported to the police, made public, by friends, the building superintendent, or even a repairman. And, conversely, the public became private as people drove past, on a daily basis, the police station that was a known torture center, eyes averted. The Madres de la Playa de Mayo solved the problem—they took their private losses into the public, but did so without speaking. And the presence of their silence could not be denied or ignored (Bosco, 2006). But for millions of citizens, the injunction against speaking, the creation of the private as (potentially) public and the public as private, effectively stalled out any opportunity for interaction and engagement, which are the processes through which meaning evolves. For, indeed, meaning matters. Given that meaning is itself a function of aesthetics, a tradition for sense making, aesthetics matters; as Feldman (1991) points out in the Body of the Narrative in Northern Ireland, actors inscribe meaning onto situations in and through their actions, according to the existing rules of what constitutes the beautiful and the ugly, the poetic and the banal. An increasing body of theory is focused on aesthetics as the domain for understanding power and politics. For example, Bleiker (2001) argues that the field of international relations has used a mimetic approach to the objects of its study, eschewing any reference to “representation” in its overall aspiration to realism, working to ensure that the problem of “interpretation” never arises. It is mimetic in that it seeks to copy reality and, of course, cover its interpretative tracks in the process, representing its representations as “reality” instead of as representations (White, 1980). Bleiker goes on to advocate for an “aesthetic turn” in international relations, one that would foster attention to the process of making descriptions, to the process of representation itself: Aesthetic approaches, by contrast, embark on a direct political encounter, for they engage the gap that inevitably opens up between a form of representation and the object it seeks to represent. Rather than constituting this gap as a threat to knowledge and political stability, Page 3 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice aesthetic approaches accept its inevitability. Indeed, they recognize that the difference between represented and representation is the very location of politics. (Bleiker, 2001, p. 512) Science is, from this perspective, as much about the politics of representation as it is about “facts.”2 Aesthetic approaches to international relations or conflict resolution instead posit the presence of interpretation and seek to make normative (p.233) judgments, what (Lara, 2007) refers to as “reflective judgments,” which materialize “the capacity for the imagination from the point of view of others” (p. 77) (and I would add Others—not just other people, but those particular Others that are the stars of conflict narratives). She notes that Arendt linked the aesthetic and the moral in both the process and the products of interpretation. In turn, representations are a function of an aesthetic regime, the system that orders and structures signs, symbols, and narrative genres. Rancière (2006, 2009) notes that every social context is structured by a given “distribution of sensibility,” a given aesthetic that is, effectively, the cultural system that is the context for action. For example, in a corporate environment, the aesthetic is one in which planning and profit are understood as beautiful, along with designer suits and corner offices; whereas, in an elementary school, the aesthetics may involve primary colors, enthusiasm on the playground, and raised hands on the rug during “circle time.” In a reconciliation process, the aesthetics may revolve around images and accounts of suffering, coupled with tears and the valorization of forgiveness. In a corporate environment, the aesthetic regime, the distribution of sensibility, polices the setting such that the opinions of janitors are not pertinent or heard. In the classroom, it might be, ironically, the voices of the children that are “noise” and it is the the voices of the parents and the teachers are heard. In a reconciliation process, all too often the perpetrators have no voice—the distribution of sensibility polices against their participation.3 Rancière’s point is that, in each of these settings, the aesthetic regime, the way meaning is institutionalized, polices or regulates who can speak and be heard and what kinds of speech are just “noise.” Jabri (1998) has called for an aesthetic ethics, which she describes as a process “where the individual has the capacity to reinvent her or his mode of being, to enact…a form of transfiguration wherein the individual sees her/himself as a work of art” (p. 592). Although this project of transforming ethics itself from a set of objective rules for governing and assessing action to a mode of being is a significant and important shift, it stops short of appreciating the way in which the regime of a given discourse, the distribution of sensibility, regulates and polices modes of being—a person can come to see him- or herself as a work of art, but indeed, if they are not “seen” this way by Others, the “transfiguration” is incomplete and unmaterialized. It is precisely because the distribution of Page 4 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice sensibility is a dynamic and relational space that the construction of Self by Other is as important to voice, to speaking and being heard, as the construction of Self alone—hence Rancière’s emphasis on “being heard.” From this perspective, “aesthetic ethics” is not an ethical system for judging behavior derived (p.234) from the sensibility of what is beautiful or ugly, for this view only reconstitutes a normative order that cannot escape the theoretical trap associated with objectivism—the individual may be the location for the transformation, but as the transformation requires Others to “hear,” the individual is never an autonomous actor. From a narrative perspective, “aesthetic ethics” refers to the normative framework for judging the framing, the poetry, the account of any action, recognizing that action itself never escapes the boundaries of the language, the discourse, used to describe that action. Thus, any action in the world is a function of how it is described; and, reflexively, actions may, or may not, impact (as in transform) the discourse in which they are described. From this perspective, the production of natality, of the particular subjectivity that is itself a work of art, requires an aesthetic appreciation for a person, and this “appreciation” is itself a function of the way language is mobilized. But, as Rancière has noted, this in turn requires the evolution of the aesthetics, the “distribution of the sensible.” It requires “dissensus.” Narratively speaking, “dissensus” is a narrative that disrupts the existing content of the narratives that are already central to a given distribution of sensibility, as well as to an alteration in the pattern of their production. Dissensus is not produced by denial, by protest (accusations) because all of those narratives fall on deaf ears—they do not change the narrative of the Other, nor challenge the narrative of a protesting speaker. The puzzle at the heart of an aesthetic ethics is how, from within a given narrative in which people are either delegitimized or completely erased, excluded, speakers can alter their subject positions. This is the political act that both Rancière and Jabri imagine, one in which the given descriptions and regimes of discourse can be transformed such that new subjectivities can emerge. I am arguing that this “dissensus” that is so critical to the emergence of natality is generated in and through the production of a better-formed story. It is produced by launching an aesthetics in which a person, formerly excluded either because he or she was negatively positioned or because he or she was not even permitted to be a character in the story, positions Self and Other in a manner that increases the narrative complexity, and, more importantly, ensures its elaboration by those very Others who had (narratively speaking) affected the prior state of exclusion. Narratives that contribute to exclusion are ugly—they contribute to totalitarianism; their complexity is reduced, breeding more simplicity. And people are not and cannot become “works of art.”

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice The better-formed story, as I have described it, provides a set of aesthetic principles for assessing narrative as an ethical project/product. It is “better,” in terms of conflict resolution pragmatics, if speakers construct themselves as (more) complex beings, for, indeed, to be a “work of art” is not to present Self as perfect, but to present the (ironic) wholeness of both positive and negative positions. It is better in terms of pragmatics for speakers to construct a story in which their Other is more than just evil or bad, for they too are works of (p. 235) art. And it is better if speakers together, speaking and being heard because of their complexity, can together construct an account of their relational history that functions as an ironic narrative, describing it in the genre of a tragedy: In an effort to solve the problem(s), they did the very things that deepened the problem(s). It is ethical to generate a better-formed story because it creates the dissensus (i.e., the “rupture of a certain agreement between thought and the sensible” [Rancière, 2009]) in which people can speak and be heard. It also emerges natality and, in that way, inoculates the public sphere against totalitarianism. And this ethical action is a function of a set of aesthetic criteria that circumscribe what constitutes a “better” narrative. These aesthetic criteria form the foundation for a normative judgment of narrative. In sum, an aesthetic ethics is a form of narrative practice that emerges natality, promotes conflict resolution, and reduces totalitarianism and “radicalization.” It is ethical to tell these kinds of stories, and the criteria for assessing their worth or value are aesthetic. So aesthetic ethics refers to the ethics of creative transformation along an aesthetic dimension—that of narrative itself. Aesthetic ethics provides a new framework for the ethical assessment of conflict resolution practices. As I have noted, the ethical frameworks that currently provide the foundation for judging and assessing many forms of conflict resolution practice rely on “neutrality” and “participation.” Both of these presume that the content of talk, of speech, is the purview of the speakers alone; there is a trust that speaking, in and of itself, will constitute the conditions for effective, fair, and good practice. In conflict resolution, neutrality eschews any responsibility for content and, in fact, instructs third party practitioners to avoid impacting content on the assumption that parties’ speech content is legitimate simply because it reflects their identity, history, and culture. Speakers themselves are the arbiters of their own speech, within the practice of neutrality. Yet, as I have previously noted, parties tell stories that reproduce the conflict, denigrating their Others, promoting their own legitimacy, externalizing responsibility for violence, and framing themselves as victims. If we imagine that narratives are structures that have their own path dependency, their own momentum in the direction of their own trajectory, dissensus is extremely unlikely—not impossible, just unlikely. Likewise, “participation” presumes that talking or speaking is synonymous with altering the distribution of sensibility. Yet it is clear that dissensus, to use Rancière’s framework, is both a function of what is said and the context in which it is said, the forums for speaking and the Page 6 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice rules for engagement. Speaking within, for example, in a Town Hall setting, is less likely to alter the conditions for speaking itself, much less generate the conditions for rupturing the existing distribution of sensibility. All too often, the ethics of conflict resolution, conceptualized as neutrality and participation, are harnessed to the pragmatic goal of “consensus.” And, indeed, most conflict resolution processes lead to Rome—to the consensus-as-sameness that also is discussed as a “shared” experience, as though the sameness of (p. 236) experience, the reduction of differences, would be the venue for the evolution of relationships.4 However, Rancière (2009) notes: The classical form of political conflict opposes several “peoples” in one: the people inscribed in the existing forms of law and the constitution; the people embodied in the State; the one ignored by this law or whose right the State does not recognize; and the one that makes its claims in the name of another right that is yet to be inscribed in facts. Consensus is the reduction of these various “peoples” into a single people identical with the count of the population and its parts, of the interests of a global community and its parts….Insofar as it strives to reduce the people to the population, consensus in fact strives to reduce right to fact….As a result, there is no status for the excluded in the structuration of the community. (Rancière, 2009, pp. 115–116) Here, the problematic quality of consensus is revealed. In the very process of creating “community,” we obliterate the difference between the included and the excluded, erasing the grounds on which difference itself could be constituted. The distribution of sensibility within consensus does not permit, and in fact polices against, the rupture that could destabilize existing narratives, a rupture that both comes from and constitutes subjectivity. From this perspective, “consensus building” is kin to totalitarianism and destructive of natality itself. I experience this when I am a participant in a conflict resolution process aimed at consensus. The space for dissensus disappears, and with that comes the patriarchy that enforces “participation” within a certain set of (narrative) confines. Only certain roles are permitted, only certain values or moral frameworks are tolerated, and only certain kinds of speaking are available. For example, when I was the director5 of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the Faculty Board made a formal decision that the Institute itself would not be a signatory to any contract with any government. This was an effort to maintain (p.237) neutrality in any given conflict. The discussion that led to this decision was sparked by a request for proposal (RFP) from the U.S. State Department, and I, as director, had opened the discussion about whether the Institute should collaborate with other organizations on the development of a Page 7 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice proposal to respond to this RFP. This decision not to participate was fed by a narrative, told by many faculty members, about the dangers of affiliating with the U.S. government (even though the Institute is part of a state public university). The Others that populated this narrative were members of the defense industry, military people, and people in government agencies that were aligned with the U.S. government’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because I was director, I did not vote on this faculty issue. But I resisted, internally, the narrative that denigrated these Others, and I felt the presence of an alternative kind of totalitarianism as this “consensus” emerged. And, indeed, as the years went by and these wars raged on, there is an emerging conflict in the Institute (now the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, S-CAR) between those students who come from federal agencies or the military (institutions) and those who want to promote peace and peacebuilding activities via affiliation with nongovermental organizations. This conflict became the object of a semester-long case study, explored through simulation and discussion by the Narrative Working Group at S-CAR’s Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution. And these tensions, unresolved, provided a context for the emergence of UNREST, a student magazine that explicitly aims to address and multiply the complexity of the issues facing practitioners (and theorists and researchers as well) of conflict resolution.6 In my experience, these developments were in part a healthy response to the tensions between the “us and them” institutionalized by the Faculty Board’s decision, as well as to the hegemony of a curriculum that limited exploration, for the most part, to dominant and traditional theorists of conflict resolution. UNREST functions to create dissensus, to disrupt the distribution of sensibility of “peace” and “conflict,” of “theory” and “practice,” of “knowledge” and “action.” And, in so doing, it is contributing greatly to the health and well-being of the environment of S-CAR as a whole. Having explored the limits of neutrality and participation as ethical strategies for conflict-resolution-as-consensus-building, I explore, in the next section, the implications of critical narrative theory, materialized in the better-formed story, for the practice of conflict resolution, one that is founded on an aesthetic ethics. The intention here is not to review all of conflict resolution, but to examine some of the core practices in light of this notion of aesthetic ethics and to explore its implications. I do intend, in this way, to link this ethics to existing practices and to open a discussion of the implications. I do not argue that existing approaches to conflict resolution, such as negotiation, mediation, dialogue, (p.238) problem solving, and public deliberation, are all flawed practices, for indeed these practices are resources for people in conflict. And I would not argue that they never “work” to generate new ways to know Self and Other and new narratives that support reflection and collaboration. In my view, if and when that happens within these practices, it is by accident, as a function of a talented third party, or as a function of a wise and evolved party to the conflict that can Page 8 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice contribute to the elaboration of new narratives for all parties. I would argue that conflict transformation, if not resolution, depends on the evolution of narrative. And none of these processes (with the exception of mediation, which has had benefitted from Winslade and Monk’s excellent book, Narrative Mediation) has been conceptualized (or rather reconceptualized) in terms of narrative dynamics, much less aesthetic ethics. So, what follows is my invitation to the reader to engage these practices from a narrative lens, with an eye to the implications for ethical practice.

Narrative Aesthetic Ethics: A Foundation for Conflict Resolution Practice Gergen and Gergen (2006) offer a description of a narrative approach to conflict resolution as a the process of “listening to others’ narratives that crosses boundaries of meaning and brings people into a state of mutuality” (p. 117). Having read other works by these authors, I presume that “mutuality” is a form of relationship in which people are able to build “generative” relationships (K. J. Gergen and M. Gergen, 1982; K. J. Gergen and M. M. Gergen, 1986; M. M. Gergen, K. J. Gergen, and Barrett, 2004) that allow them to evolve and develop as human beings. They review the variety of conflict resolution practices that have been theorized using a narrative lens; they note that, in narrative mediation “(t)he consultant attempts to discover the non-conflictual and overlapping elements in the narratives so that the re-storying of the conflict becomes possible” (p. 116).7 They also describe a host of diverse practices that are grounded in “storytelling,” such as the Public Conversations Project, Imagine Chicago, as well as storytelling in reconciliation processes, from those in South Africa to those in the Middle East. Although they do not address the ethics of narrative conflict resolution, they do offer insight into the growing diversity of associated practices. Gergen and Gergen’s (2006) description of narrative approaches to conflict resolution is representative of the foundational assumption that all persons have a story; some narrative approaches to conflict resolution are more naïve, (p. 239) in that they presume that the speakers can and will be able to formulate new stories by themselves, and, in fact, the ethics of practice is to often honor and preserve those stories as-is (Cobb, 2001). This more naïve approach to the evolution of meaning fits first- rather than second-generation beliefs about the resolution of conflicts—what demarcates these generations is the way in which people conceptualize the constraints on storytelling—conflict stories capture their authors and restrict or delimit or even forestall the evolution of the narrative. White (2007), a critically important practitioner in the field of narrative therapy, has helped constitute a second generation of narrative practice, one in which people are entitled to be the central authors of the story that reflects (and constructs) their experience of Self.8 White goes on to note that this involves the “consultant” supporting the evolution of narrative as the people “re-author” Page 9 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice themselves. This is a dynamic process that calls on the consultant to design a series of questions that support the development of “subordinate” storylines; it requires the consultant to participate in this re-authoring while remaining “displaced from the center” of story construction (White, 2007, p. 82). Here, we see White channeling and echoing the anxiety of other narrative practitioners who warn against “authoring” someone else’s story, usurping it. But he also laid the groundwork for understanding that practitioners do need to get involved, they do need to be able to support the evolution of narrative, not by telling people what to think, but by fostering the development of “subordinate” stories. Here, he is referring to those stories that are offshoots of the main narrative line in a given story. But the line between fostering subordinate stories and authoring the dominant story is thin because, indeed, fostering the development of subordinate stories changes the main narrative line, given the systemic nature of a narrative and the constellation of narratives that support it, what Nelson (2001) calls the “narrative tissue.” White acknowledges that the consultant plays a literary role, as a “de-centered” author, in the emergence of what Nelson would call new narrative “tendrils.” He is able to avoid any normative description of the nature of the story that emerges and instead is focused on the sequence of questions that support the “re-authoring conversation.” His focus on the process of change through questions, similar to Winslade and Monk’s description of the evolution of narrative in narrative mediation, allows the authors, in my view, to have their cake and eat it too, in that they are able to accent their participation in the evolution of narrative without taking (much) responsibility for the evolution of the specific content. In my view, they are working to preserve their “neutrality” toward the content by focusing on the facilitated “re-authoring” by the participant. In this way, they ensure they do not “up-end” or obliterate the authority of the speaker to author their own narrative. Their interest in voice, in the participation of the parties in the evolution of their own narrative is central to the ethics of their practice. (p.240) Although this is a central tenant of ethical practice (i.e., folks should have the right and privilege to author their own accounts of their pain, their hopes, their past and futures), what happens in actuality is that the conversation that elaborates subordinate narratives alters the main narrative line, and persons know themselves differently. White’s literary analogy that distinguishes the “centered” from the “de-centered” author requires a parsing of roles that, in fact, become very blurry in the midst of narrative transformation. For example, a question about how the problem narrative has colonized their lives leads, perhaps, to a story that increases the narrative “tissue” about the problem. And, as that story evolves, the consultant’s engagement, eye contact, and paralinguistic signals encourage, if not frame, the emerging meaning. So this distinction about “authorship” covers over the reality that practitioners participate actively in the construction of new reality with parties.

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice In the social constructionist field, this “with” has turned into “co”—that is, theorists and practitioners describe their work as “co-constructing” a new story.9 And in this way, the balance between “central” and “de-central” becomes conveniently obscured. It enables practitioners to disown, at some basic level, responsibility for content, which in turn ensures against the (bitter) accusation that the consultant or narrative practitioner is oppressing his or her interlocutor, the parties to the conflict. At the base of this concern is the notion of “power as discourse,” in which identity and subjectivity are a function of the mobilization of meaning. If the consultant or practitioner is mobilizing the meaning, he or she risks subverting the capacity of the person to tell their own story, to construct their own identity. And, indeed, White and Epston (1990) draw on Foucault’s theory of discourse and power as a foundation for their approach to narrative transformation. In my view, this view of authorship and the concern for oppression, in the context of narrative practice, reflects concern for ethics and for people. And it is laudable. However, I also think it is problematic. First, there is no way to parse out the impact of a practitioner’s engagement with a conflict narrative. The resulting evolution is a function of the dynamic of interaction, as Enosh and Buchbinder (2005) note. And the interaction is not something “owned” by either the narrative practitioner or the party to the conflict. However this collective ownership, this duality of authorship implies “co”-authorship only in a generic sense—conversation is a collaborative, interactive process (Cronen, Pearce and Tomm, 1985; Pearce and Littlejohn, 1997; Taket and White, 1997). Second, there is an underlying assumption of persons are discursively weak, and potentially victimized by a (narrative) practitioner. I have two responses to this: Practically, I can attest to the fact that people are actually not that pliable—the launch of a problematic story (like the one I launched that hurt Dora) is met with resistance or ignored. (p.241) Folks contest the development of a given “subordinate” storyline, they negotiate to alter it, they demand an apology, they laugh at it, or they elaborate it with sadness or other emotions. People are not empty vessels into which we practitioner pour new narratives. Colonization is not the issue. People are locations of (narrative) suffering and they need support in reauthoring. At times, as in the case of Dora, when I consolidated the narrative with Julio that legitimated him as the “renter” of the family’s apartment, Dora “lost.” She lost her identity as “right” about Julio—he was not longer irresponsible. But she also lost her entitlement to stay at Julio’s apartment because it was, through his rent-paying, now redefined as his home for the duration of the rental period. It was this consequence and its meaning for her that I had not anticipated. But it materialized, nonetheless, through her tears. She explained the issue, and we were able to build an accommodation to the developing narrative that ensured she had a “home” outside of the Europe, where she was living. In this way, she could keep the ties to “home” in her country of origin. Now perhaps Dora could have silently left the room and left Page 11 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice the process altogether. I might not have discovered what was bothering her. But Dora does not live in a vacuum. I would have turned to her brothers, asked them for an explanation, and then tried to contact her, opening with an apology, as I did in the session. My experience is that when I misstep and contribute to hurt, confuse, anger, depress, or humiliate the people with whom I am working (or relating), they tell me—they let me know either through their words or through their actions! My experience is that people are not fragile, they are not going to break, they know what feels right for them and what does not, and they will act on it, in the same way they react and engage with a narrative under development. Oppression, according to critical narrative theory, occurs when people either cannot speak or cannot be heard. And, given that conflicts are contexts in which marginalization is woven into both the content of narratives as well as their dynamical unfolding, it is likely the case that any given conflict will contain parties who have not spoken or cannot be heard if they do—they can make only “noise.” Redressing oppression is not just about including people in the conversation—my role as a narrative practitioner is to make sure they speak and are heard, and this translates into the practice of legitimizing them. And in a conflict, we, as practitioners, can be very certain that legitimizing marginalized persons will inevitably create blow-back, protest, anger, resistance, and general upset from those who had been legitimate within the prior distribution of sensibility. I do not worry about their “oppression” in the new story. They speak out (rather continuously)! So, the point that I am making is that people are not as malleable as the ethics of conflict resolution practice (in the narrative tradition) might suggest. Rather, I experience people as able to be active, agentic (if not insistent) participants in the evolution of the narratives in which they and persons they care about are central characters. Of course, the people who have not been able to speak and be heard may not be as fluent in speaking out, in creating with others a narrative that reflects who (p.242) they are and the nature of the world they live in, or would want to live in. But because narrative practice is an interaction, and because my role is to work to create stories with people in which they are legitimate, as people, the manner in which I proceed with those who have been marginalized may be different; I may use fewer questions and less interruption, express more interest in the experience of marginalization and its consequences over time for these speakers, and pay considerable attention to the development of an emotional description of their experience of marginalization. This may be very different from the manner of working with persons who are accustomed to being legitimate within a given distribution of sensibility—if they base their entitlement on rights, I will open a conversation about morality that exceeds rights; if they base it on an “earned privilege,” I will open a discussion about the consequences of the cycles of poverty and violence, or a perhaps a discussion about the assets, either genetic or social, given to some of us by birth, assets Page 12 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice that play to our advantage but get hidden through a frame of “earned privilege.” In any case, I would work to unseat their legitimacy by increasing the complexity of the understanding of the foundations they provide for that legitimacy. So, in narrative practice, I am working to ensure that all parties are positioned in a narrative in a way that is legitimate. But no matter how many subordinate storylines I launch, no matter the frames I create and offer, no matter the destabilizations I foster, in the end, the person in the conversation has to elaborate all this in a way that makes sense to him or her. I assume that people are competent and will signal, in a variety of ways, their preferences for certain frames, certain storylines. And I trust in their judgment. Third, this ethical concern for being a “de-centered” narrative practitioner is itself a story that presupposes that practitioners can damage or harm people in and through a narrative practice. The resulting practice is “narrative-lite,” in the sense that practitioner have to take great care not to oppress, dominate, or upset people. This is a pragmatic problem for the parties. If we accept the tenets of critical narrative theory as I have described them, then conflict narratives function to lock people into stories they effectively did not make (by themselves) and cannot change (by themselves). For new narratives to emerge, ones that support the emergence of natality that challenge and upend the existing distribution of sensibility, the content of their narratives needs to evolve. We can, as practitioners, work only to destabilize existing narratives and then retreat to allow the parties themselves to reconstruct a new reality. But this is potentially problematic. People can end up in a destabilized narrative, but it may not provide the terms that constitute the legitimacy of the Other, it may not support (certain) parties to speak and be heard, it may not offer a more complex moral system or even a new history. Destabilization alone does not ensure that the new story will be a “better” story, one that will contribute to the reduction of narrative violence. Let me end this critique of the current ethics underlying practice with a clear statement that my concerns do not reflect disrespect for practitioners. It is my (p.243) firm conviction that there are excellent practitioners, narrative and otherwise, doing ethical and effective work in conflict resolution. They work with care, respect, and regard for the parties in conflict; as practitioners, they struggle to ensure that they participate ethically in the construction of narratives. Some practitioners worry about cultural differences10—they work to examine and not impose their own cultural assumption. This is just good practice, independent of the genre of practice. Other practitioners worry about gender and race and the way that some identities are differentially situated in a conflict resolution process.11 This is all sound, ethical practice. Theorizing race, gender, and ethnic identity and its impact on conflicts and their resolution, as well as engaging in whatever practices contribute to support reflection and learning on the part of both parties to conflict and conflict resolution practitioners makes both ethical and practical sense. So I am not questioning Page 13 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice that practitioners intend to do ethical practice, or even hinting that their practices are in any way not ethical. But I am inviting, in my own way, the field of conflict resolution to consider the limitations of the distinction, dominant in narrative practice, between designing processes and creating (fostering) specific content, between participating in the evolution in narrative and contributing to a certain kind of narrative. I am suggesting that we, as a field, consider our role as practitioners in the creation not of parties’ solutions or agreements, but of the kinds of narratives (content) that can redress marginalization and break with the existing aesthetics that have historically kept it in place. To do this, we need to conceptualize narrative practice as a “craft.”

Narrative Practice as Craft As I have already indicated, the “instruction” present today in narrative practice is process-driven, not content-driven, for the most part. Winslade and Monk (2008) recommend destabilization of the problem/conflict story, and they offer a set of useful descriptions for that practice. White (2005) recommends fostering what he refers to as the “subordinate storyline” by picking up the “absent (p. 244) but implicit” (p. 15; citing Derrida, 2001). However, to develop subordinate storylines does little to specify what storylines to be developed. Although the “absent but implicit” helps as a guidepost, the fact that it is implicit leaves considerable uncertainty about which of the rather infinite “implicits” would be better for the development of a subordinate storyline. Michael White was an artist of narrative practice. He managed, through his excellent writings, to lay down some “bread crumbs” that could guide the rest of us toward the development of subordinate storylines that could transform narratives at play, but the story of his practice that he tells, although certainly helpful, falls short of instructive,12 if indeed narrative transformation could be seen as a practice of craft. Although the definition of “craft” is difficult, it can be understood as the creation of something that is both useful and functional, as well as beautiful (Markowitz, 1994; Mishler, 2004). Markowitz (1994) notes that “craft” can be defined as having a “functional aesthetic” arising from the fact that “the utilitarian function of a craft object is neither in tension with nor even irrelevant to its aesthetic character, but rather essential to it” (p. 58). Furthermore, craft is associated with a set of procedures and technologies—each craft object is unique, to be sure, but the use of the object, its function, dictates some of the processes that a craftsperson must follow (Mishler, 2004). By contrast, art involves the production of something that is not intended to “do” anything—it has no function beyond the aesthetic experience. And because the aesthetic itself is its own end, the making of art is not bounded, as craft is, by the constraints of function. Applied to narrative transformation, “art” would imply that we create narratives solely for their aesthetic quality; then, of course, the development of subordinate storylines would depend on the aesthetics of the practitioner, perhaps Page 14 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice disconnected from the overall functionality of the narratives. But given that the practitioner/negotiator is deeply dependent on the functionality of the narratives, that they function to evolve relationships, that they increase complexity, that they set up frameworks for sustainable collaboration, then narrative practice should be understood as a craft rather than as art. If this is the case, then we need to move toward describing the craft in a way that specifies discrete practices in a manner that allows practitioners to choose, select, discern, and evaluate the narratives under development with a model of what a “better” story would be. I am arguing that we need more specificity than “the development of the subordinate story” implies. As a craft, a narrative approach to conflict resolution practice would provide a series of steps to be taken (a process), as well as specific technologies to be used, toward the production of a “functional aesthetic,” which I have argued, is tied to an ethics of practice aimed at the materialization of natality. (p.245) Bibliography Bibliography references: Abu-Nimer, M. 2001. “Conflict Resolution, Culture, and Religion: Toward a Training Model of Interreligious Peacebuilding.” Journal of Peace Research 38 (6): 685–704. Bishop, C. 2005. “Art of the Encounter: Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics.” Circa (114) (December 1): 32–35. doi:10.2307/25564369. Bleiker, R. 2001. “The Aesthetic Turn in International Political Theory.” Millennium—Journal of International Studies 30 (3): 509–533. Bosco, F. J. 2006. “The Madres de Plaza de Mayo and three decades of human rights’ activism: Embeddedness, emotions, and social movements.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96 (2): 342–365. Bourriaud, N. 1998. Esthétique Relationnelle. Dijon: Presses du Réel. Brockmeier, J., and D. A. Carbaugh. 2001. Narrative and Identity: Studies in Autobiography, Self and Culture. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Brown, J. G. 1994. “Use of Mediation to Resolve Criminal Cases: A Procedural Critique, The.” Emory Law Journal 43: 1247–1310. Carby, H. V. 2009. “Becoming Modern Racialized Subjects.” Cultural Studies 23 (4): 624–657. Cobb, S. 1997. “Transcribing the Body and Materializing the Subject: Women’s Victim Narratives in Penalty Phase Testimony.” In Transgressing Discourses: Communication and the Voice of Other, ed.M. Huspek, and G. P. Radford, 195– Page 15 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice 230. SUNY series, human communication processes. Albany: State University of New York Press. ———. 2001. “Dialogue and the Practice of Law and Spiritual Values: Creating Sacred Space: Toward a Second-Generation Dispute Resolution Practice.” Fordham Urban Law Journal 28: 1017–1033. Cronen, V. E, W. B. Pearce, and K. Tomm,.1985. “A Dialectical View of Personal Change.” In The Social Construction of the Person, ed. K. J. Gergen, and D. E. Keith, 203–224. New York: Springer-Verlag. Derrida, J. 2001. Writing and Difference. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. Deutsch, M. 1994. “Constructive Conflict Resolution: Principles, Training, and Research.” Journal of Social Issues 50 (1): 13–32. Enosh, G., and E. Buchbinder. 2005. “The Interactive Construction of Narrative Styles in Sensitive Interviews: The Case of Domestic Violence Research.” Qualitative Inquiry 11 (4): 588–617. Eliatamby, M., ed. 2011. “Women Waging War and Peace: International Perspectives of Women’s Roles in Conflict and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.” 1st ed. Continuum. Fleury Steiner, B. 2002. “Narratives of the Death Sentence: Toward a Theory of Legal Narrativity.” Law & Society Review 36 (3): 549–576. Feldman, A. 1991. Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland. University of Chicago Press. Gadlin, H. 1994. “Conflict Resolution, Cultural Differences, and the Culture of Racism.” Negotiation Journal 10 (1): 22–48. Gergen, K. 2009. An Invitation to Social Construction. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Gergen, K. J. and M. Gergen. 1982. Explaining human conduct: Form and function. In Explaining Human Behavior: Consciousness, Human Action, and Social Structure, ed. P. F. Secord, 127–54. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Gergen, K. J. and M. M. Gergen. 1986. “Narrative Form and the Construction of Psychological Science.” In Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct, ed. T. R. Sarbin, 22–44. New York: Praeger. Gergen, K. J. M. M. Gergen, and F. J. Barrett. 2004. “Dialogue: Life and Death of the Organization.” In The Sage Handbook of Organizational Discourse, ed. David Grant, 39–60. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Page 16 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice Gergen, M. M. and K. J. Gergen. 2006. “Narratives in Action.” Narrative Inquiry 16: 112–121. Goodman, N. 1981. “Twisted Tales; or Story, Study, and Symphony.” Synthese 46 (3): 331–349. (p.246) Hayman, R. L. Jr. and N. Levit. 1996. “The Tales of White Folk: Doctrine, Narrative, and the Reconstruction of Racial Reality.” California Law Review 84 (2): 377–440. Helsig, S. 2010. “Big Stories Co-Constructed: Incorporating Micro-Analytical Interpretative Procedures into Biographic Research.” Narrative Inquiry 20 (2): 274–295. Howard, G. S. 1991. “Culture Tales: A Narrative Approach to Thinking, CrossCultural Psychology, and Psychotherapy.” American Psychologist 46 (3): 187– 197. Hydén, L. C. and J. Brockmeier. 2008. Health, Illness and Culture: Broken Narratives. 1st ed. New York: Routledge. Jabri, V. 1998. “Restyling the Subject of Responsibility in International Relations.” Millennium—Journal of International Studies 27 (3): 591–611. Kane, A. 2000. “Reconstructing Culture in Historical Explanation: Narratives as Cultural Structure and Practice.” History and Theory 39 (3): 311–330. Killian, K. D. 2002. “Dominant and Marginalized Discourses in Interracial Couples’ Narratives: Implications for Family Therapists.” Family Process 41 (4): 603–618. Lara, M. P. 2007. Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment. New York: Columbia University Press. Maines, D. R. 1999. “Information Pools and Racialized Narrative Structures.” Sociological Quarterly 40 (2): 317–326. Markowitz, S. J. 1994. “The Distinction between Art and Craft.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 28 (1): 55–70. McDonald, J. and D. Moore. 2001. “Community Conferencing as a Special Case of Conflict Transformation.” In H. Strang, and J. Braithwaite, (Eds.), Restorative Justice and Civil Society. Hong Kong: Cambridge University Press. pp. 130–148. Mishler, E. G. 2004. Storylines: Craftartists’ Narratives of Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice Moore, G. 2005. “Humanizing Business: A Modern Virtue Ethics Approach.” Business Ethics Quarterly 15 (2): 237–255. Nelson, H. L. 2001. Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Parker, I. 2003. “Psychoanalytic Narratives: Writing the Self into Contemporary Cultural Phenomena.” Narrative Inquiry 13 (2): 301–315. Pearce, W. B. and S. W. Littlejohn. 1997. Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pyke, K. D. and D. L. Johnson. 2003. “Asian American Women and Racialized Femininities.” Gender & Society 17 (1): 33–53. Quinn, E. M. 2001. “Entextualizing Famine, Reconstituting Self: Testimonial Narratives from Ireland.” Anthropological Quarterly 74 (2): 72–88. Rancière, J. 2006. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Pbk. ed. London: Continuum. ———. 2009. Aesthetics and Its Discontents. Cambridge: Polity. Rodriguez, C. 1998. “Activist Stories: Culture and Continuity in Black Women’s Narratives of Grassroots Community Work.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 19 (2): 94–112. Rohrer, J. 2008. “Disrupting the ‘Melting Pot’: Racial Discourse in Hawai’i and the Naturalization of Haole.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 31 (6): 1110–1125. Ross, M. H. 2001. “Creating the Conditions for Peacemaking: Theories of Practice in Ethnic Conflict Resolution.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 23 (6): 1002– 1034. Smith, J. F. 1996. “Analyzing Ethical Conflict in the Transracial Adoption Debate: Three Conflicts Involving Community.” Hypatia 11 (2): 1–33. Susskind, L.,S. McKearnan, and J. Thomas-Larmer,. 1999. The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement. 1st ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Taket, A., and L. White,. 1997. “Working with Heterogeneity: A Pluralist Strategy for Evaluation.” Systems Research and Behavioral Science 14 (2): 101–111. Varshney, A. 2001. “Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond.” World Politics 53 (3): 362–398. (p.247)

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice Weingarten, K., and S. Cobb. 1995. “Timing Disclosure Sessions: Adding a Narrative Perspective to Clinical Work with Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” Family Process 34 (3): 257–269. White, H. 1980. “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality.” Critical Inquiry 7 (1): 5–27. White, M. 2005. “Children, Trauma and Subordinate Storyline Development.” The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work 3/4: 10–21. White, M. 2007. Maps of Narrative Practice. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. White, M., and D. Epston. 1990. Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Wiley, A. R. A. J. Rose, L. K. Burger, and P. J. Miller. 1998. “Constructing Autonomous Selves Through Narrative Practices: A Comparative Study of Working-Class and Middle-Class Families.” Child Development 69 (3): 833–847. Winslade, J. 2009. “Tracing Lines of Flight: Implications of the Work of Gilles Deleuze for Narrative Practice.” Family Process 48 (3): 332–346. Winslade, J., and G. D. Monk. 2008. Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Notes:

(1) Both my husband and my best friend are Jews. For them, the losses from this Dirty War rippled out in ever-widening circles from the Holocaust—the death of family, the loss of loved ones never known, and their primordial recognition that, in their lifetimes, mourning was a way of life. (2) See http://reason.com/archives/2011/07/12/scientific-literacy-climate-ch for research that shows the central role that values play in people’s interpretation of the validity of science itself. This is, of course, a paradox, expecting research to document the limited role that “facts” play in peoples’ assessment of scientific findings. (3) There are most interesting exceptions, such as the community conferencing process (McDonald and Moore, 2001) and victim offender mediation (Brown, 1994). In these processes, the relation between the perpetrator and the victim is a focus for “restoring justice.” However, these processes have also been soundly critiqued as they create symmetry between victims and victimizers. (4) See Mary M. Gergen and Kenneth J. Gergen’s (2006) excellent paper that argues for a narrative perspective on conflict reduction/resolution. They review a variety of practices and show the benefit of using a narrative lens. But then, Page 19 of 21

Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice following a different tack than the one proposed in this book, they suggest that consensus-building is a critical product of these processes, a stance promoted also by some core texts in the field of conflict resolution as the goal of conflict resolution, particularly Susskind, McKearnan, and Thomas-Larmer (1999). Consensus-building has become so much a part of the conflict resolution discourse, that it is easy to see how skilled practitioners presume it to be the goal of our process. I would add that if we look at the root—“con” meaning “with” and “sensus” meaning sense, “consensus” is less about arriving at the same meaning and more about making meaning with others. (5) To be fair to my colleagues, some were genuinely concerned that contractual engagement with the U.S. government might compromise the safety of faculty and students in the field, certainly a legitimateissue, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11 when the US was engaged in two wars. (6) See the purpose of UNREST at http://www.unrestmag.com/home/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=55:origins-ofunrest&catid=41:about&Itemid=66. (7) I disagree with this characterization of narrative mediation. I think that it implies that the consultant helps the parties discover that which is “nonconflictual” (getting rid of dissensus) rather than invent with people new plots, new subject positions, and new moral frameworks. (8) Winslade and Monk drew extensively on White’s work for their book Narrative Mediation. (9) See Kenneth Gergen (2009), Enosh and Buchbinder (2005), and Helsig (2010) for excellent examples of the theory of “co-construction” as foundational to narrative theory and practice. (10) See Abu-Nimer (2001), Avruch (2003), Brockmeier and Carbaugh (2001), Cobb (1997), Goodman (1981), Howard (1991), Hydén and Brockmeier (2008), Kane (2000), Moore (2005), Nelson (1980), Parker (2003), Eileen Moore Quinn (2001), Rodriguez (1998), Weingarten and S. Cobb (1995), Wiley et al. (1998), and Winslade (2009). Although not all of these scholars are engaged explicitly in narrative practice, they are concerned about the ethics of practice as it pertains to cultural differences. (11) See Eliatamby (2011)—Dr. Sandra Cheldelin, the Lynch Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution was really the driving force behind this book, as well as the develop of a gendered perspective on conflict. See also Gadlin (1994), Carby (2009), Deutsch (1994), Fleury Steiner (2002), Hayman Jr. and Levit (1996), Pyke and Johnson (2003), Killian (2002), Maines (1999), Rohrer (2008), Ross (2001), Smith (1996), and Varshney (2001). Again, these are not all

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Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice practitioners, but they exemplify the concern for the difference that gender, racial and ethnic identity makes for practice. (12) I am certain that he would not have wanted to be “instructive” because he saw the development of narrative not only to be context dependent, but also organically emerging from the people in the conversation. In my view, the betterformed story allows for a better story to organically emerge and provides the participants in a negotiation a road map to ensure that they are moving in that direction.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice Emerging Better-Formed Stories Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords This chapter addresses the implications of critical narrative theory for the core practices in the field of conflict resolution: Negotiation, mediation, problemsolving workshops, dialogue and deliberative processes. Each of these five practices is a function of the quality of conversations between parties. And while each of these practices has guidelines that are intended to prefigure or structure these conversations, none of these guidelines address the power of narrative. As a consequence, the dynamics of critical narrative theory are in motion and marginalization persists, in spite of the guidelines. For each of these practices, a critique of existing guidelines for practice will be offered, on the basis of critical narrative theory. Additionally, recommendations for each practice will be made from the perspective of critical narrative theory. While this chapter will provide a definitive and complete list of new guidelines, these recommendations are intended to challenge existing modes of practice and lay the groundwork for more expanded revision of practice in the future. Keywords:   discursive Empathy, negotiation, mediation, dialogue, deliberation

The use of this critical narrative theory as a lens for conflict resolution practice has implications for all of conflict resolution practice because it downloads a set of assumptions that would impact how, within these processes, conversations function to evolve narrative. Because there are differences across core practices, I discuss here five main types of conflict resolution processes, exploring each in terms of the practice of critical narrative theory: specifically, Page 1 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice negotiation, mediation, dialogue, public deliberation, and reconciliation. In each of these practices, narrative practice and its associated aesthetic ethics is refracted differently, reflecting the different assumptions of each practice.

Negotiation as Narrative Practice: Scaffolding for the Better-Formed Story In 1994, Linda Putnam wrote an excellent article challenging three dominant assumptions of negotiation processes in a effort to open negotiation practice to alternative theories”: [First] negotiated outcomes are defined through instrumental goals; [second] the individual is the driving force in a negotiation; and [third] rationality surfaces as the privileged way of knowing. (Putnam, 1994, p. 338) Putnam went on, in the years to come, to generate research on framing and on the dynamics of critical moments and turning points in negotiation processes, contributing significantly to our understanding of the evolution of meaning. Kolb and Williams (2000) followed this line of work, focusing on the dynamics (p. 249) of conversations as “moves,” and “turns” in gendered negotiation; although not drawing on narrative theory, this research contributed to build toward the analysis of the evolution of meaning as well. Earlier, Carol M. Rose (1990) offered a narrative lens on “property regimes” in negotiation, arguing that an individualistic approach to preference ordering was less effective than stories that highlight communal preference ordering. And, as I have mentioned, Stone et al. (1999), in their book Difficult Conversations, posit the presence of three levels of narrative that are embedded in any negotiation. Although this genre of research on negotiation contributed to develop a focus on meaning, “narrative” remains a lens for analysis, not a lens to guide practice. Negotiation, from a narrative perspective, is a riddle, if not a paradox; from within a given understanding of the issues/problem, a given story, each party must challenge its own narrative, destabilizing it so that the Others will be able to do the same. It is clear that each party comes into the negotiation process with a particular narrative about the issues or problem. And, particularly in the context of a conflictual dynamic, this narrative delegitimizes the Other. As long as the Other is in a delegitimized position, he or she will continue to reciprocally delegitimate the other side. This sets in motion a dynamic in which the narrative is very unlikely to evolve. Because this is a core dynamic present in difficult, repeated negotiations in which there is a history of conflict, negotiation theory suggests to “separate the people from the problem.” However, doing so presumes, as Rose (1990) points out, that the issues are not themselves encased in a narrative that constructs the characters and the moral frameworks through which they are evaluated. Further, because each party is locked into the delegitimizing process by its Other, someone from within this dynamic must make a move to change the dynamic, to alter this pattern. This is the paradox— Page 2 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice from within the negotiation, a party needs to be able to be both inside his or her own narrative and what White (2007) calls “outsider-witnesses”; these are people who can comment on “the expressions of value they (are) drawn to,…the images that these expressions evoked,…the personal experiences that resonated with these expressions,…(and) their sense of how their lives have been touched by those expressions” (White, 2007, p. 165). An outsider witness is someone who, theoretically, is outside of the problem/issue and can engage those inside it in a way that opens up new discourse, new narrative dimensions. Applied to negotiation, the “absent but implicit” is present in both parties’ narratives (in either first- or third-person perspectives). The destabilization of existing narratives and the development of subordinate storylines requires being an insider as well as an outsider witness at the same time—having one’s story and “eating it too,” we might say. But it also requires an exploration of the narrative network of Self and Other because complexity always exists in a narrative field. From this perspective, preparation for negotiation is much more than “understanding the interests of the Other”—it is understanding the network of narratives on “their” side, as (p. 250) well as looking for the absent but implicit, as ways in which subordinate storylines could be developed. It is certainly the case that the preparation of negotiation should be focused on increasing the complexity of our understanding; this would require “standing under”1 the narratives within which “positions” or “interests” are constructed. In the case of negotiation, a narrative approach would require a party to function as an outsider witness to her own, as well as the Other’s narrative, while maintaining an “insider’s” perspective, anchored in her own experience and that of other members of her group. This requires a balance between being both “in” and “out,” reminiscent of the negotiation in psychoanalysis in which the analysand draws attention to countertransference, both within and standing outside the interaction.2

Negotiating Toward a Better-Formed Story The following ten steps, taken in sequence, can contribute to structure a betterformed story and provide some guidance to people about what kinds of subordinate storylines or “implicits” to develop toward making a “better-formed” story.

1 Prepare for negotiation by assessing your own story about the Other and the situation, as outsider witness, noting the subject positions in the narrative (legitimate and delegitimate), moral frameworks for constructing those positions, and the episodic structure of the plot.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice The diversity of both the intragroup and intergroup should be explored and mapped. 2 Create complexity for your own story, relative to the character positions (negative and positive) for Self and Other. As an outsider witness, note how the terms of one’s own legitimacy have a shadow side, an underbelly, and a complicating dimension. This should increase the complexity of the characterization of Self/Us. Examine how this narrative alters or shapes the interests or needs to be addressed in the negotiation. Create complexity in your own story, as an outsider witness, by noting how the terms used to constitute the delegitimacy of the Other have an “up side,” a positive contribution to the relationship or situation. This increases the complexity of “our” characterization of the Other. 3 Open the negotiation with a story of the development of the issue that includes a summary of the history of the interaction, being careful to include both legitimate and delegitimate dimensions for Self and Other. Identify the issues to be addressed and anchor them in this summary narrative. 4 Request an account from the Other as to the history and nature of their interests. This is more than just asking for “What do you want?” because the interests need to be storied, nestled into a narrative that accounts for them in context. Explore this narrative with them, thickening it with additional episodes that could increase the complexity of their plot line, as well as the moral frameworks for evaluation. 5 Redefine the problem on the basis of the new(er) narrative, ensuring that it accompanies a history to which each party (side) of the conflict has contributed. 6 Redefine new(er) interests, of Self and Other, on the basis of the narrative that display interdependence (a circular narrative). 7 Explore, with Others, solution matrixes as scenarios, building narratives that tie particular outcomes, over time, to specific solution matrixes. 8 Select, with Others, a solution matrix and ground it with a scenario about the future. 9 Reflect, with Others, on how the selected solution matrix alters the history of the circular narrative, breaking the pattern that led to the circular (tragic) narrative. Anchor the new narrative, with Others, on the scenario growing from the solution matrix, with accounts of your experience, feelings, hopes, and concerns, and then discuss the implications of this scenario for others in your group, on your side. 10 Build a strategy with the Other(s) for identifying and addressing the concerns that will arise within the group of stakeholders associated with each “side.” Page 4 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice (p.251) These ten steps could be seen as constituting the “craft” of negotiation as a process of narrative transformation. They do not negate the lens provided by other scholars and practitioners who have described negotiation as a dynamic process. They are intended to offer an account of how negotiation itself can be seen as a critical narrative practice. This procedure reduces marginalization and promotes natality by assessing (which is really a process of inventing/invoking) storylines in the field of narratives within one’s own group and that of the Other. This is a practice that in and of itself defies the “distribution of sensibility” because it questions who can speak and be heard. It raises the question about speaking, and it inventories the set of (p.252) narratives at play. Inevitably, this process will raise questions for negotiators about where to draw the boundaries around the set of narratives that are pertinent to the negotiation. Second, it is also a critical practice because it calls negotiators to challenge their own narratives so that they might contribute to a negotiation process that can, in the short and long run, work. This requires negotiators to head into a negotiation with an aesthetic ethics, not because it is a critical practice that will reduce totalitarianism, reduced, but because it is their craft.

Narrative Mediation as Critical Narrative Practice: Emerging a BetterFormed Story In their groundbreaking books, Winslade and Monk (2000, 2008) describe mediation as a narrative practice. Their description of externalization, of destabilization, of outsider witness practices, provides a framework for practice, and, as an added bonus, these books are intelligibly and respectfully written for readers from many different kinds of practical contexts. There is little that I feel I can add to this excellent resource, except to perhaps build on the discussion of power as a place where we can try to thicken their account of ethics, linking it to an aesthetic ethics.3 In Practicing Narrative Mediation (2008), Winslade and Monk review the perspectives on “power,” anchoring their practice on the constructionist view, one that is based on discursive processes: Where a discourse favors and privileges life opportunities for…[some] and provides diminished opportunities for…[others], the repetition (p.253) of this discourse in people’s speech patterns can blind them to the way that things could be different. (Winslade and Monk, 2008, p. 111) They recognize that mediators have the power to “govern” the evolution of the meaning and nature of the interaction: “Each time the mediators open their mouths and choose certain expressions over others, they choose one set of positions and not others” (p. 113). Their solution to this ethical dilemma, anchored by a constructionist perspective, lies in their advocacy for a “discursive empathy” (p. 115) that allows them to “unpack” the cultural (and I Page 5 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice would add historical) world of the parties; the creation of “discursive empathy” in turn rests on the “stance” of curiosity and transparency, enacted through the process of deconstruction. Clearly, although using different words, these theorists are working to ensure that the parties in the mediation emerge as three-dimensional persons, as complex characters who are trapped in a problem story. They are working, through the processes of deconstruction and externalization, to materialize natality, the value of the person. And this valuing is produced through repositioning parties as agents in their own lives, as authors Winslade and Monk (2008) argue. However, to build an ethics of practice on the notion of discursive empathy (or any other kind of empathy) is a problem, in my view. “Empathy” is an intrapsychic phenomenon, whereas the work in narrative requires that mediators do things through discourse. Although their internal states are certainly important, the instruction to be empathic pulls our attention back to the heads of individuals, which is itself an “appendage” of positivism, thoroughly critiqued as a core feature behaviorism and its epistemology (Gergen, 1994).4 I would argue that “empathy” is one of the most dangerous and damaging myths in the field of mediation altogether—it masquerades as a mental state that generates the foundation for ethical practice. Yet we have little idea what “it” is except from individuals’ descriptions of their feelings. Given the importance of ethical practice, we should not, in my view, try to ground an ethics of discourse on the production or existence of internal states. I am not denying here the importance of feelings or of experience; I am simply arguing that ethics is a practice, a praxis, and, as such, we need to ensure that it is grounded not on psychological conditions but on discursive practices themselves. To be fair to Winslade and Monk, it is likely the case that they would agree, explaining that “discursive empathy” is the process of repositioning persons as legitimate or the process of the externalization conversation itself. In my view, these are critical narrative practices that create the context for speaking and being heard (having one’s narrative affirmatively (p.254) elaborated by Others),5 and this should not be confused with a discourse that pulls us back into the heads of individuals (Sarangi, 1994). If we cannot rely on our discursive empathy to determine what changes to foster in terms of narrative evolution during mediation, then we need a map to distinguish the direction of the changes to the narrative content, over the course of the conversation. “Externalization” does provide a solid indicator of what kinds of content to foster, as Winslade and Monk (2008) note, but, in my view, this process is itself in the service of increasing narrative complexity in and through exploring/creating new positions in discourse. Winslade and Monk provide an interesting case description of repositioning (pp. 64–98). First, I would argue that the narrative resulting from the conversation is indeed a Page 6 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice “better-formed” story—both parties are positioned as legitimate, both have elaborated the Other as legitimate, and there is an increase in the contextualizing stories (the deconstruction of the notion of conflict), as well as an increase in the complexity of the history and the future. The moral frameworks have multiplied, so that the value system as a whole is more complex. But the process of getting there was organic and unstructured. It happened that Gerald Monk asked questions, as the model implies, that deconstructed the conflict; it happened that he made a fantastic summary that functioned as a “new opening.” It happened that he seized openings to invite a party to elaborate new meaning. He is an excellent practitioner. But although this case description is delicious in detail and provides an excellent description of how the new narrative emerges, we are, as readers, running after a practitioner, following his moves. Luckily for us, the description of those moves is rich in detail. But we can only see the trajectory of the moves in the examples; there is no map of the process that would forcast specific moves in the content. (p.255) I have developed this model of the better-formed story produced through the set of turning points, precisely because we need more than just descriptions, after the fact, of excellent practice. Students of narrative mediation struggle to know when to do externalizations and about what; they work on repositioning but miss opportunities to make excellent summaries, as Gerald Monk did (Winslade and Monk, 2008, p. 86). But there is more than just effective practice at stake; we need, in my view, an ethics of practice that is itself a political project (i.e., the reduction of marginalization and the emergence of natality). Although I do think the practice of narrative mediation, as described by Winslade and Monk, is indeed ethical, its ethics could be elaborated, if not crystallized. The better-formed story as a framework, materialized through a set of turning points, provides an aesthetic ethics that implies the evolution of content, and this could be tied to stages of the mediation process itself, drawing on many of the technologies described by Winslade and Monk. It develops toward the emergence of a story that allows people to speak and be elaborated as legitimate. In the sections that follow, I map the structure of a mediation process, drawing out the implications for specific turning points that sequence changes to narrative content, changes which constitute a new aesthetics that reduces marginality and increases natality. First Public Session

Framing: Here, the story of the mediation itself is framed tentatively, as a process of making sense of things together. This sense making involves talking about the problems and issues and the history of their emergence, moving toward a more complicated understanding of what has been and what Page 7 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice could be. Additionally, the mediator forecasts his or her role as facilitating this sense making and forewarns of his or her active participation through questioning. Destabilizing Turning Points 1 and 2: The mediator works6 to destabilize both legitimate and delegitimate subject positions for both parties by interacting to favor shifts in the value systems, thus ensuring that both parties are legitimate, as well as imperfect (delegitimate), in that system Private Session7

Integrating Turning Point 3: The interdependent or circular narrative is constructed by which parties knit together the story of a past in which they both contributed to the problem, and the problem is, therein, redefined. (p.256) Second Public Session

Futuring Turning Point 4: Using circular questions (“feed-forward”)8 and/or scenariobuilding, possible futures are developed that address the newly defined problem statement that has been anchored in an “integrated” history. Anchoring Turning Point 5: The new scenario is anchored in an agreement that contains a meta-agreement, or the agreements about the agreement. Parties reflect on the “solution” as it may circulate in their social networks, identifying “destabilizers” and strategizing their inclusion. Together, these phases and their associated processes constitute the turning points that comprise the move from conflict narrative to better-formed narratives. Together, they ensure that the resulting stories are not only constructed on a stable histories, in which each party has acted its own role in the creation of the tragedy, but also anchor the new story with a new (and improved) problem statement, setting the stage for the agreement. The Agreement

The better-formed story provides the foundation for the mediation agreement, which contains the following: 1. A summary of the story on which the terms of the agreement are founded; this identifies the new problem that emerges from the interdependent history; 2. The contributions to the solution that both parties agreed to; 3. The time frame and other contextual conditions of the agreement.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice This agreement is then framed in and through the construction of a “metaagreement” that describes: 1. The inevitability of “bumps in the road”; 2. Signs or indicators that the agreement is “wobbling”; 3. A plan for addressing problems with the agreement that arise (how to raise the issue with the Other, when to seek consultation, who to consult, who pays for the consultation). (p.257) Together, the agreement and the meta-agreement function to tell the story of where people have been, how they got tangled up, where they are going and why, what each party is going to contribute, and the conditions for that agreement; the meta-agreement provides a context for ensuring that the agreement is inoculated from “bumps in the road.” Agreements are not stable unless and until the narrative on which they are based is anchored in the broader social network and elaborated by the social network. From the public sessions to the agreement, the mediation session can be described as a narrative progrsssion, grounded on the redistribution of sensibility, such that speakers can recover speech. Although the mediation session is a particularly privatized space, in that the transformations do not ring out across the public sphere, it does alter the politics of the social network in which people live. If the story is complex enough, it will be able to open up the narratives in the network, fostering new connections within as well as across the group. The complexity of the social network increases with every mediation agreement. From this perspective, narrative mediation is also a form of social dialogue. In the section that follows, I discuss dialogue as a narrative practice, examining the ethics of dialogue as an aesthetic practice.

Dialogue: A Practice of Aesthetic Ethics Once upon a time, I was in an organization in which “dialogue” was the first step prior to discussion of any decisions. The intention of our fearless leader was to ensure that there would be “space in the room” for differences, for diversity. She thought that if we could follow Isaacs’s (1999) process of “listening,” “respecting,” “suspending judgment,” and “voicing” our experiences, we would be able to engage on important and potentially contentious issues more productively. And, of course, she was wrong. We all knew the drill. Everyone listened as though they cared. There were eye rolls and notes passed depicting caricatures of some of the participants. The spirit of engagement and encounter that Isaac had imagined never materialized. In its place, there was a satirical background hum in the room and a competition for making the most ironic statements. These meetings were actually effective, but for an entirely wrong reason—we came together because we could not stand being told to “listen and share.”

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice This anecdote is sad and likely unfair to our leader, as well as to the practice of dialogue as conflict resolution. The current conflict resolution practices performed under this umbrella term are multitudinous; however, there is widespread acceptance of the Bohmian model. This model differentiates dialogue from debate and presumes that the goal of dialogue is learning and relational development and that answers lie in the collective, rather than the individual (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, and Miall, 2005). Ethical practice of dialogue is all too often synonymous with the injunctions to “be authentic” and “listen (p.258) respectively.” Variations of this practice are ubiquitous in the field of conflict resolution. It is used in problem-solving workshops (Kelman and Cohen, 1976; Rouhana and Kelman, 1994), in deliberative settings (Brown, Homer, and Isaacs, 2007; Escobar, 2009), and in organizational management (Isaacs, 1993). Juanita Brown, my friend and former student, used it to develop the World Café model, in which layers of conversations on a topic accumulate as people tell stories about what other people have said, as groups come together, disband, and reform. (Brown and Isaacs, 2005). And, indeed, Juanita would likely say that there is liberation through learning together, in the tradition of Paulo Freire. All of this work resonates with Levinas and Bakhtin, who contributed greatly, as did Martin Buber, to the dissolution of the Cartesian subject, who exists in a solipsistic orbit with Self, toward a notion of subjectivity in which the Self came into being because it, in relation, connected to the Other. For these theorists, Otherness makes subjectivity possible. As Nealon (1997) explains: It seems that Levinas leaves us, then, in an odd position: there are no preexisting ethical grammars by which I might respond adequately to the other, and yet I must respond nevertheless. Finally, Levinas reworks this seeming paradox by insisting that the self “always already” responds to the other in saying or doing anything at all (even ignoring or dismissing the other is, after all, a kind of response). Levinas argues that since the ineluctable experience of the other is the founding of selfhood, “I” am never anything but that response to the other. Whatever my “self” might be is always beholden to the other, not vice versa. In the end, Levinas will give the name “ethics” to “this calling into question of my spontaneity by the presence of the other” (Totality, 43). (Nealon, 1997, p. 132) Following Nealon, peering into the theoretical foundation of the theory of subjectivity, which posits and requires engagement with the other, he notes the absence of an “ethical grammar” and indeed, many dialogues—no matter how well-intentioned and even well-executed—fall short of the possibility that Levinas imagined. Ponzio (2006) writes:

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice Otherness is not outside the sphere of the I, which does not lead to its assimilation, but, quite the contrary, gives rise to a constitutive impediment to the integrity and closure of the I as Identity, as totality, as the same. The relation with the other is intended as a relation of excess, as a surplus, as the overcoming of objectifying thought, as release from the relation between the subject and the object and from the relation of work and trade. (Ponzio, 2006, p. 13) (p.259) This begins to provide a lens on the ethical grammar when we move from the realm of the experience of the Other to our role in their social construction through narrative. Dialogue can be seen as a process of narrative destabilization (Frank, 2000). It is the process, following Ponzio (2006), of “giving rise to a constitutive impediment to the integrity and closure of the I as Identity” (p. 13). This identity narrative destabilization is precisely the process of being unable to close, to unify, our own identities, our construction of Self, out of our construction and engagement of the Other. From a narrative perspective, this is about elaborating the legitimacy of the Other tied to knowing ourselves in some polyphony, some unsettling multiplicity. This has specific and very concrete implications for narrative practice for, indeed, to block closure of our own identity, there must be instability in and through the presence of the Other. This is enacted and materialized in the production of an ironic Self, one that holds both legitimacy and (some) delegitimacy at the same time, in relation to each other. In a conflict narrative, the Other provides plenty of information that we could use to reduce our own legitimacy to ourselves, but alas, you can lead a horse to water…but you can’t make him drink. Persons in conflict will not accept (i.e., adopt or elaborate) their own delegitimacy as described by their Others. However, they can use the voice of the Other to explore the boundaries of their own ignorance about Self. And, in this process, the shadow of their own legitimacy, its underbelly, can be materialized and elaborated by the speaker. From this perspective, “destabilization” is a state of being, it is the ongoing lack of closure that accompanies complexity. And, at a second-order level—and here is what I think Levinas was describing—opening one’s narrative, one’s story of Self to a destabilizing resonance in which we are forever good and bad, right and wrong, highly legitimate but never perfect, establishes the narrative condition as a narrative grammar of identity, if you will. If this is indeed critical, not just to the resolution of the conflict, but to the enactment of subjectivity itself, then the Concrete Other calls for the emergence and creation of the ironic, or perhaps the paradoxical, where our legitimacy is the very condition that carries with it the possibility of our delegitimacy. The better-formed story, which relies on and indeed depends on complex subject positions for Self and Other, is the condition for the emergence of subjectivity itself.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice This has significant implications for the practice of dialogue in conflict resolution. It implies that the dialogic process rests on the creation of this unclosure, this instability, this resonance not with the Other, but with our shadow, the underbelly of our legitimacy. This can be materialized not through accusations from the Other, for then the pattern of reciprocal negative positioning is inevitable. Rather, we can imagine the emergence of this doubleness in and through a variety of questions and processes that could (p. 260) populate dialogue settings in peace negotiations, organizational settings, community processes, church groups, or any location where people come together to understand an issue or address a conflict. For these are the locations where we need to materialize our own subjectivity in and through the relation with the Other. For example, in the World Cafe, it would be possible to design a question early on in the process whereby people share a story about themselves that displays an example of what they find valuable about themselves in the context under discussion. They would be emerging what for them is a critical dimension of legitimacy. But they could also be asked to share a story about when they were shocked by their own behavior, relative to the topic of the Cafe. This could accompany a summary in which the facilitators themselves tell a short story in which they were shocked by their own behavior and note that it was an important moment for learning, thus inviting the Cafe participants to share those moments of learning with each other. In subsequent rounds of discussion on what people noticed about these conversations and what they meant to them, a quality of subjectivity is materialized, made present through retellings—one that is not closed, but rather indeed remains open (to the Other). In my view, this could be a prototypical move in a variety of dialogue settings. It could be incorporated into a problem-solving workshop in which parties share with each other what they do not want to face, to address, about themselves or their group; the underbelly would then be exposed in the room. As soon as it is paired or linked to the dimensions along which persons construct their legitimacy, their subjectivity is destabilized in the presence of, and thus open to, the Other. Some might argue that the construction of a complex identity (legitimacy paired to its underbelly) as a position in discourse would not be appropriate for the “weaker” party in a dialogue or problem-solving format. They would assume that the weaker party is already vulnerable, victimized by the structural violence of the Other. But if, as I have argued, narrative violence involves the denial of subjectivity, then by not allowing or expecting marginalized speakers to construct themselves with complexity, we are, in my view, perpetuating the violence—if, indeed, subjectivity depends on the relation with the Other, such that the Other is an impediment to the unity and solidarity of our identity. In my view, I think this complexity, as I have argued, is yet another way, a narrative Page 12 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice way, to describe the materialization of natality. At birth, we are not right or wrong, we are nothing and everything, and it is this complexity that is displayed and made a condition of the present itself in the production of the better-formed story. This view of the ethical grammar of an aesthetic ethics through which we create subjectivity has tremendous import for conflict resolution in the public sphere. In the next section, I discuss public deliberation as a narrative practice, examining the ethics of that practice in light of the production of the betterformed story. (p.261)

Aesthetics in the Public Sphere: Deliberation as a Better-Formed Story As Arendt might have predicted, after 9/11, public deliberation became ever more important; there was a memorial put together in the immediate aftermath containing pictures and messages from people who were in New York that morning. People went there and wept together, in public. Eventually, decisions had to be made about Ground Zero and the site itself. Polletta and Lee (2006) studied the public deliberative process relative to the nature and quality of the discourse and the role of story or narrative in those deliberations.9 The findings were interesting. They noted that the quality of the deliberation speaks to its potential for enacting democracy and that, theoretically, if the process reproduces the inequality in society, then deliberation does not improve democracy and could instead reduce it, leading to bad decisions that reinforce the status quo. Studying twelve groups, Polletta and Lee sought to understand how different rhetorical forms of reason-giving were used in a very large public deliberation about the 9/11 site. The twelve groups were composed of people from all over the city of New York—the public was invited and people chose to participate. Polletta and Lee’s findings showed that storytelling was critically important to people with a marginalized point of view: In brief, we find that narrative’s conventional openness to interpretation, in essence, its ambiguity, proved a surprising deliberative resource, especially for people with marginalized points of view. (Polletta and Lee, 2006, p. 701) However, they also found that storytelling was more likely to be used in deliberations that were not about technical issues or policy making—stories were obviously seen as “normatively compelling” but “politically unserious” (p. 701). In effect, stories were used by people with marginalized perspectives, but their stories did not make it into the portion of the deliberation in which people were making policy decisions. Polletta and Lee conclude that although public deliberation may include marginalized people, the social norms and standards about what constitutes “good reasoning” may obviate the consideration of the rhetorical forms used by disadvantaged groups. So, from this excellent study, we can see into the question that is at the ethical heart of research on deliberation: Does public deliberation ensure that marginalized people can participate in

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice decision-making in the public realm? Or, does it simply reproduce the existing status and power relations within the public? It seems to do the latter. (p.262) In my view, this is precisely the kind of research we need to challenge and improve the ethics of public deliberation. Simply inviting the public does not ensure “participation” such that the perspectives of the marginalized are legitimized and included. In deliberations in which policy decisions will be made, technical arguments based on logical reasoning will become dominant, and storytelling is, like the storytellers, marginalized. The communicative ethics of Habermas is an unlikely antidote, for if it is the form of speaking and not speech itself that determines participation, the ideal speech situation will not be able to protect those who speak in story form instead of rational reason-giving.10 If we take these findings seriously, deliberation itself needs to be framed as a storytelling process, which would legitimize, from the start, storytelling as a form of argumentation. Deliberative processes could and should be framed in a manner that takes narrative seriously and legitimates its presence and its role in the decision-making process. This would involve telling a story about deliberation as a storytelling process; just as mediation agreements should have a meta-agreement, deliberative processes should have, on the front end, a description of the process that valorizes narrative reasoning and storytelling, differentiating it from other kinds of reasoning. In this way, the “neutral moderators,” as they are often called, could ensure that the public is aware of different kinds of reasoning and that connections are made to the stories offered, linking the decision choices not only to the logic they offer but to the stories that support them. Scenario planning (Van der Heijden, 2005; Schwartz, 1995) offers a mode of pubic deliberation that does just that: It explicitly values narrative and its capacity for capturing the kinds of experiences and “facts” about the world that matter. In scenario planning, storytelling is used to gather and present the information, rather than logical reasoning, and decisions are made on the basis of an analysis of the options that are also structured and presented as stories of the future, or scenarios. Given the politics that Polleta and Lee describe regarding the preference for logical reasoning over storytelling in policy formation, scenario building has the capacity to protect against deliberations that reproduce the status quo. But not all deliberations are framed as scenario building; many continue to function, like the National Issues Forum, as spaces in which logical reasoning and facts prevail. This is the case in the arena of climate science. This conflict demonstrates, in fact, the need for storytelling as kind of reasoning that allows bridges to (p. 263) be built between groups. I was part of a team, funded by the National Science Foundation, working to understand the nature of climate change conflict to support the development of materials that broadcast meteorologists might Page 14 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice want to use to address issues of the changing climate in their reporting and in their community presentations. We have found, through surveys and in-depth interviews with broadcast meteorologists, that there is disagreement in this community as to the cause of the changing climate. For some, the scientific consensus is a foundation for their belief in anthropogenic climate change; for others, the “scientific consensus” is a plot by government-funded scientists, one that can function as a “gravy train” for them, and, in that process, misrepresent the state of the science itself. “Climategate”11 is the name for the controversy that erupted when e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom were published on the Internet and gave fuel to the story that climate science suppressed evidence that was contrary to the scientific consensus. Climate science itself became deeply politicized. From the interviews, it is clear that those who believe in the scientific consensus are using the findings from science, as well as the legitimacy of the scientific process of peer review, as the basis for their descriptions of the nature of the problem. However, those who think the science is itself politicized are likely to tell stories that discredit the scientific consensus (anthropogenic climate change) and the people who engage in the production of that science. Stories about “Climategate” and the “gravy train” abound; additionally, there are stories about legitimate scientists who were not able to publish the results of their findings because their research was in opposition to the scientific consensus. Those opposed to the consensus, the “deniers,” are then reciprocally denigrated by those who support it, referring to the science that cannot be published as “throw-enough-shit-against-the-wall-and-surely-some-will-stick science.”12 Clearly science itself is the focus of the conflict. But the point I am making here is less about the politization of science and more about the way people talk about science. Those who would tell the stories are most often the “deniers,” the “skeptics,” or the “unconvinced.”13 Building on Polletta and Lee’s findings, it is very likely that the “convinced” will approach public deliberation citing “facts” and using a scientific logic, and the “skeptics” will tell stories about the powerful, the corrupt, and the importance of independent thinking. And it is clear that, in the current status of the (p.264) policy conversation, these two different modes will not only clash, but will each be the evidence to the Other that the Other is flawed. Again, scenario building could be a process to support the development of relationships that would (a) ensure that both stories and other forms of reasoning and argumentation are legitimate; (b) ensure that marginalized people and their personal experience could be woven into the emerging accounts that provide the foundation for decision-making and policy formation; and (c) ensure that the existing distribution of sensibility would be ruptured,

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice thus increasing uncertainty. This would, according to Dewey (1927) constitute the foundation for democracy. However, it is not enough for the marginalized to be able to tell stories or to have those stories woven into the fabric of decisions or policy. This would suggest inclusion, but it does not itself redress marginalization because it is possible to incorporate marginalized points of view on the margins, as tokens of diversity. The only way to ensure that deliberation is ethical would be to ensure the repositioning of those who use facts and logical reasoning to establish their legitimacy, elaborating their own delegitimacy by acknowledging the limits of their legitimacy, and noting perhaps its disconnection to lived experience (the underbelly of abstract reasoning). And, conversely, those who establish their legitimacy using personal stories would have to, in the better-formed framework, be elaborated both as legitimate (anchored in experience) as well as imperfect, and subject to a tendency to dismiss other ways of knowing. This is essentially the dynamic emerging in discussions within the science community itself. I facilitated a strategic planning session14 in the fall of 2010 for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which is an organization of federal agencies that “integrates and coordinates” research on climate change and its implications.15 At this meeting, there was a clear tension between those who were in favor of ensuring that basic research on climate change remained a top/the top priority whereas others, more interested in end users and their needs, wanted to ensure that research would be useful to communities working to solve real-world problems. The former group used scientific logic and facts as the basis for their rhetorical arguments, whereas the latter used stories about people, their needs, and the problems they were facing. Although no one was contesting the legitimacy of the science, a real tension existed between the two rhetorical modes. This tension was not adequately addressed, in my view, because the group that planned this meeting was largely composed of persons aligned to the “basic research” camp; those more concerned with applied research and end users were invited to the meeting, but they were outnumbered by the scientists. Furthermore, the planning group decided that they, the members of the group planning the meeting, would facilitate each session; at one session there (p.265) was discussion facilitated by myself and two other trained facilitators. When the three of us compared notes afterward, it was clear that the basic research group had dominated all three discussion groups, as they had in all the other sessions. In my session, we worked to ensure that the stories that were told were integrated in the final report, but because the planning group ultimately integrated the “findings” from the break-out groups, these stories were dropped off the map. Applied research was certainly mentioned, but given its lesser status in relation to basic research, it remained, in my view, a step-child of the meeting. No better-formed story was developed.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice In summary, building on the research of Polletta and Lee, I argue that public deliberation should be a process that not only supports the inclusion of a diverse population, including those that would have more marginalized points of view, but should also ensure that narrative, as a rhetorical form of reasoning and argumentation, is legitimated and included in the construction of the logic used to make decisions and create policy. In turn, this can be done by ensuring that the subject positions, no matter the rhetorical strategies by which they are established, are elaborated by everyone as being legitimate and, furthermore, that the conditions of that legitimacy should be presented or described as having an underbelly. This is different from having a discussion of the relative strengths and weaknesses of a given proposal. The examination of strengths and weaknesses addresses the merits and problems associated with an option, whereas the better-formed story functions to ensure that the value systems themselves that undergird a given position on an issue, as well as a position in discourse, are questioned and found to contain limitations. These limitation issues present conundrums for those who are using that value system to establish their own legitimacy. From this perspective, the better-formed story ensures that the distribution of sensibility for all groups is destabilized; it also, in the case of public deliberation, would function to ensure that neither the rhetorical form, “story,” nor the people that use it, are devalued but rather are positioned as legitimate, not only for their storytelling but also for the values espoused in that storytelling. However, it should also be the case that the underbelly of those values should be explored. The better-formed story would, in the context of public deliberation, materialize the “public,” to itself, as a diverse group, as a set of human beings being human. From this perspective, natality, which refers to the condition of a person, also can be materialized in a group, about a group. When this occurs in the public sphere, it is the inevitable result of the transformation of radicalized narratives that so often populate public discourse in public settings. It results from the collective construction of a story about the group, developed and elaborated by the group, that experiences the way that their subjectivities are materialized by the process of exploring the underbelly of their own legitimacy. This provides a foundation for a much more complicated account of the history, leads to a new formulation of the problem, and unleashes the creation of new scenarios for building a future together.But it also requires intra-group work as preliminary to inter-group work, for indeed, given (p.266) the dynamics of narrative processes, it is almost impossible to explore the underbelly of one’s legitimacy when the Other is denying that legitimacy. Let me end this musing on public deliberation and use of the better-formed story with a complication. It is very likely the case that any decision or policy that emerges from a process of public deliberation will itself become the new “police,” to use Rancière’s term—the new distribution of sensibility. The subtle and complex resonance that constitutes legitimacy and its underbelly will Page 17 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice collapse in time, as people move toward closure and stability. What was new and different becomes the foundation for sameness. Although the better-formed story can indeed generate a different kind of public deliberation and no doubt provide a foundation for the creation of sustainable solutions to public problems, it also promotes the emergence of natality—the humanness of being human. Alas, it will not last. Applied to public deliberation, the better-formed story should provide a process not for one deliberation, but for an ongoing process of engaging the public in evaluating the decisions it makes—a better-formed deliberation process, aimed at the ongoing destabilization of negative and positive subject positions on issues of concern to the public. In this way, the health of the public sphere depends on the content of the stories that are told, as well as on the processes that would support their ongoing destabilization and evolution. Indeed, the dynamics of narrative suggests that its inevitable closure, a process that is coterminous with decision making, is likely to generate the development of fractures and, eventually, polarization. The better-formed story is one that creates more complex subjectivity, and then, as subjectivity becomes routinely produced in interactions, its complexity reduces in direct relation to its closure. After all, it is difficult for people to create themselves using both positive and negative positioning, which is what the better-formed story does. Negative positions drop off, and the individual, the speaker, becomes not only unidimensional (only positive) but dependent on the emergence of an Other onto which alternative, negative positions are located. The consequences for the individual speaker are dire: Because they shut off knowing Self in and through relation to Other, their own subjectivity, their natality dies on the vine. The consequences to the public sphere are tragic, if not deadly—polarization emerges, marginalization is normalized, and radicalized narratives take root. These evolutions present us, as conflict resolution theorists and practitioners, with a set of serious questions. When the public realm is colonized by radicalized narratives, is there a point at which radical narratives shut down, at the secondorder level, any possibility of a conversation about a conversation? When there is no conversation, how can we address the absence of conversation? Narrative Compression

I have coined the term “narrative compression” to refer to the condition in which (a) the dominant narrative in a given location/community consolidates and (p. 267) compacts itself, compressing nuanced differences or variations that could otherwise provide an opening for inquiry, thus leading to destabilization; and (b) the possible “openings” are not only closed off but their denial and erasure have been ritualized in interaction such that any effort by a speaker to open the narrative to inquiry triggers “routines” that thwart the development of a subordinate storyline.16 Together, these two conditions contribute to create, in the public sphere, narrative compression—the master or dominant narrative controls the narrative field by condensing available discursive resources, and Page 18 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice harnessing them to the production of its own stability. Using the connotative field as an analogy, a master narrative exists in the “tissue” of other narratives. Because of this, there are implicit links—bridges—between one component of a narrative and subordinate storylines to other dimensions of the narrative. This is not the case in narrative compression—the would-be links to other (possible) storylines feed back into the closed narrative, which is itself overly simplified. Public deliberation is too open and fluid a process to function in such an environment—the policing of a compressed narrative is almost total, and it is accomplished, day in and day out, by the general public institutionalized in their interactions. And, in fact, the “bridges” in a compressed narrative context are not only blocked, but any speaker who tries to create a link to a subordinate storyline is either labeled as an Other (“unpatriotic”) and excised from the conversation, or dismissed as incompetent (“ignorant”); thus, the narrative elaborators inoculate against the participation of that person. As I will argue in the next section, reconciliation, designed with a narrative lens, can in fact contribute to reverse narrative compression in the public sphere. In the context of reconciliation, the better-formed story ensures that those who have been publically recognized as “perpetrators” can participate in the evolution of the narrative, which I argue is critically important to the return of natality-assubjectivity.

Reconciliation: Aesthetic Ethics and the Reduction of Narrative Compression The development of narrative compression inevitably accompanies and supports the emergence of totalitarianism; as the space for public speaking that could (p. 268) contest the dominant narrative is reconfigured, the state and its cultural apparatus consolidate the dominant narrative’s police power. And the “public” turns into a set of privatized conversations between one or two people as the circle of trust shrinks. Subjectivity (in Levinas’s sense of the Self as emerged through the Other), as well as natality, evaporate. This is, as I have argued earlier, a form of narrative violence. And physical violence looms on the horizon of narrative compression. Reconciliation, from a narrative lens, can reverse this process. However, I think we can successfully argue that, to date, in the absence of an ethical framework for assessing both narratives of reconciliation and narratives in reconciliation, we are unable to evaluate the processes except for presence or absence of violence. Many of the assessments of reconciliation focus on the factors that contribute to its success, such as the excellent work of Bar-Tal (2000); he has offered a set of seven factors that seem to contribute to what he calls the “ethos of peace.” These, in turn, depend on the psychological shifts that people make. Other evaluative efforts have focused on the role of truth commissions and their effectiveness at generating democracy (Kaye, 1997). Still others, such as Avruch

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice (2010), offer a review of the issues associated with reconciliation, offering definitional terms. However, the puzzle for practitioners and for those who live through violence remains: Although scholars note that reconciliation must address both psychological and structural issues, the shift that needs to occur is at the level of meaning in the discourse. We may be able to measure shifts in attitudes, but those shifts need to be circulated and elaborated by others. Staub (2006) describes an integrated set of interventions (radio programs, community dialogues) intended to change attitudes at the local level; first, interventions are designed to engage leaders, to change their “words and actions” (p. 889), and then interventions are designed to change institutions, such as schools. The question is whether the measures developed to account for these three domains could actually alter the “narrative tissue” that comprises an authoritarian state: Are changes in attitudes and institutions across psychological and institutional dimensions enough to redress the narrative compression that accompanies the death of subjectivity? Doubtless, there are important and lasting changes made to a society in the development of an “ethos of peace,” but I argue that unless and until we attend to the evolution of narrative, practitioners, funders, as well as victims themselves will not be able to experience Self-through-Other. The aesthetic dimensions of a “better” story provide some guidelines that suggest innovative and important processes. For example, if narrative compression is a process that accompanies totalitarianism, it is the institutionalization, in the public sphere, of the story of the Other as evil/dangerous and Self as victim. And this story is reciprocally produced across groups in conflict, no matter whether the violence is between the people and the State, as in the case of Argentina’s Dirty War, or between groups (p.269) of people within the states (or across state boundaries as nonstate actors). Additionally, as I have noted, there are injunctions against speaking about violence within the public sphere. It follows that the “socioemotional” reconciliation that Nadler, Malloy, and Fisher (2008) describe must also address the narrative dynamics on which socioemotional processes arise (Vygotsky, 1978). If reconciliation is a relational process, then the reconciliation should enable the circulation, the telling, and the witnessing of not only victims stories of suffering but also the perpetrator’s stories because these could account for the history of the emergence of the ethos or culture of violence. It is not just that “perpetrators are people too” but that they are uniquely qualified to reveal, in the public sphere, the stories that account for the progression of totalitarianism. They could relate not abstract causes of the origins of the violence, which comes very close to a “justification,”17 but rather describe their experiences as

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice perpetrators. And this experience is likely not unitary but “tissued” to other subordinate storylines. Graybill (1998, 2004) notes that there have been different efforts to reintegrate perpetrators into society; South Africa used the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC),18 but an examination of its transcripts reveals that although the perpetrators confessed to their “crimes” and some even apologized to their victims, the history of violence, its etiology, remains unexposed. In Rwanda, the Gacaca courts provided a venue for perpetrators to be accused, defend themselves, or apologize and make reparations.19 And in Mozambique, leaders favored silence rather than truth-telling, given the overlapping categories of “victim” and “perpetrator” there, as well as the fact that many were conscripted into becoming perpetrators. In my view, none of these efforts to reintegrate perpetrators into the narrative fold has been particularly successful. In South Africa, perpetrators did not provide a textured account of the evolution of their own subjectivity, but rather answered legal questions about their actions. They remained, most of them, removed from themselves as human beings and unmaterialized as “human” in the public sphere. In fact, the spectacle of their testimony was riveting for me because of the relative absence of the social construction of their humanity. In Rwanda, the perpetrators may have told stories about themselves that opened to their community their experience of themselves and their participation in the violence. But these stories were played out at the local level; because only the persons attending the court heard these stories, their impact on the public sphere was limited to that community. Additionally, on the occasions in which perpetrators justified or denied their actions, neither was their (p.270) humanity materialized nor was the etiology of violence displayed. And in the case of Mozambique, the ongoing silence about the history of the violence there, the absence of any account, any personal account, of how a normal person became a murderer or a rapist simply does not exist, or if it does, it remains locked in the private sphere. The world will never know. From a narrative perspective on reconciliation, the aesthetics of a “better” story would be one in which the humanity of the perpetrator was explored, not to assist him in redemption, but to ensure that the stories about the development of violence and the perpetrator’s own moral descent circulate in the public sphere. The victims’ stories do often circulate through media or are memorialized in a variety of ways, as in the Kigali Memorial Centre.20 (Clearly, in Mozambique, neither perpetrator nor victim stories were circulated.) And the presentation of Self in these stories is complicated—victims construct their own legitimacy on the basis of their endurance (they survived), but their strength becomes their own enemy when it hardens them to the pain of Others (if it does); alternatively, they can describe themselves as shattered by the violence, legitimized through their victimization, but they also know that getting on with life, surviving, will require repositioning themselves as able to go on. But this repositioning never Page 21 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice happens with the perpetrators. If their stories do circulate in the public realm, it is all too often stories about them, told by others, documented through legal proceedings in which the stories that emerge are about their actions, not about their reflections as to how they were able to do the things they did to other human beings. The humanization of the perpetrators in the public sphere does not excuse or deny their behavior. Moral and legal judgments and punishments could remain in place. However, a story that materializes them as human beings would require the social construction of them as human beings who were human enough to know they were crossing a line, a moral line. Questions such as: • Did you want your children to know what you were doing? How did you hide it from them? • What did you tell your mother or father about your “work”? Surely, they raised you to know the difference between right and wrong? • Thinking back on the violence you came to do to Others, over the course of this period of history, can you tell us about the first time you “crossed the line” of your own moral standards? What were the circumstances, and how did you justify it to yourself? • Of all the violence you did, what is one thing that perhaps haunts you, that you regret the most? These questions construct the perpetrator as having a morality, as knowing he did wrong, as having learned the difference from right an wrong, as regretting or (p.271) being able to have regret; these questions construct the perpetrator as a human being. None of these questions was asked to Eichmann or to any of the perpetrators in South Africa’s TRC, which had more legal latitude given that the perpetrators had already confessed to their crimes and requested amnesty. None of these questions is pertinent to a court of law, such as, for example, in the International Criminal Court. We end up, if we are lucky, knowing what the perpetrators did, but little else about them. Perpetrators are critically important to reconciliation for several reasons. First, they are the site from which we can see the emergence of a culture of violence. The victims can describe its effects, but they cannot account for its progression. And we need, collectively, to know the etiology of violence in order to understand and prevent the next cycle. Second, it is all too easy for a region, group, or nation to locate “evil” in the perpetrator, rather than in the culture of violence. This forestalls more complex descriptions that address both structural and cultural violence, which are more difficult to account for and more difficult to redress than putting a few people in prison. This is not to say that Page 22 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice perpetrators should not be punished to reduce in any way their responsibility for their actions. But it is to say that the context is less likely to be addressed if and when the perpetrators are themselves the cause of the violence. We need a more complex story about the history of extreme violence. Finally, returning to Arendt, the emergence of the humanity of the perpetrators as moral human beings who did immoral acts materializes natality, not just for the perpetrators, but in the public sphere. If they are not humanized, the public sphere moves from one totalitarianizing narrative to another, without space for destabilizing subjectivity, for public reflection, for uncertainty. The better-formed story is one that requires this destabilization of the main storylines, so that closure and narrative compression are forestalled—if the subject positions could be more complex (legitimacy and its underbelly), the storylines would remain open, slightly destabilized, and the implicit connections to subordinate storylines could multiply. The result of this is that the public sphere becomes a place for increasingly complex narratives about the past, thus expanding the possibilities for collective learning and problem solving. Although this is not necessarily an ethos of peace, I do think it is enough—more than enough—to enable people to move generatively to create a new future together. Reconciliation has many meanings. It refers to accepting one’s fate and accounting for facts, as well as harmonizing relationships. The better-formed story accomplishes all of these functions: It ensures that the “fate” of people, as the history that brings them to their present, is one that people know and can come to terms with, not because they resign themselves to victimization (or perpetration, or by-standing) but because the fate of people like themselves has materialized in the public sphere, as an object of narrative elaboration, so that they are human beings being human. It also ensures that the facts of that (p. 272) history are accounted for and named. Finally, it harmonizes not by making everyone friends, but by constructing the different categories of people, victims and perpetrators, as human. In this way, the better-formed story emerges subjectivity and inoculates against either silence, or totalitarianism. Although there have not been, to date, reconciliation processes designed to generate and maintain “better” stories in the public sphere, with a theory of change anchored in narrative processes, with an aesthetic ethics to design a more “beautiful” story, reconciliation processes could be designed to generate these conditions. In fact, the model of turning points that I have offered could provide a model for sequencing the kinds of activities that should take place in the design of a reconciliation process: The public trials and criminal accounting provides a site for naming and repositioning all parties, victims and perpetrators alike (turning points 1 and 2); the schools become a site in which the new history, based on these repositionings, is institutionalized (turning point 3); governments at local and national levels host public deliberations for collaborative planning and problem solving on real issues (turning point 4); and, finally, reflections on the moral implications of the history as it lives in emerging Page 23 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice decisions and policies is fostered through art, theater, memorial sites, and public ritual (turning point 5). No doubt some of the reconciliation processes that have already taken place or are in process have led to the creation of better-formed stories, despite the fact that they were not designed to do so. But if human relations do indeed rely on the meaning created in and through narrative processes, then reconciliation should be seen as a narrative process, one that can heal the public sphere from the ravages of totalitarianism.

Conclusion Conflict resolution is a practice that has hampered itself with a set of ethical guidelines founded on neutrality and participation. Thanks to Galtung’s work on structural violence and Burton’s efforts to make conflict resolution a practice to redress violence and meet human needs, we have some ethical goals, even if the guidelines for practice are not equipped to help us get there. The aesthetic ethics that I have offered, arising from and modeling the features of a betterformed story, provides a framework for practitioners to use to generate the conditions, conversation by conversation, that are tied back to the critical goals outlined by Galtung and Burton, as well as to critical narrative theory, which calls for the redistribution of sensibility linked to the emergence or production of natality. This aesthetic ethics provides a framework for narrative transformation that can be downloaded into existing conflict resolution practices. In this chapter, I briefly addressed the implications of the better-formed story download into negotiation, mediation, dialogue, public deliberation, and reconciliation. But this is just a taste, some musings, toward the redesign of conflict resolution practices (p.273) that were developed in a more positivistic epistemology (hence the mandate for neutrality and the problematic understanding of participation), redescribing these practices in terms of narrative dynamics. This discussion was not intended to do more than “wet the whistle” of theorists and practitioners in the field who are interested in the possibility of critical narrative theory. But it is intended to theorize an ethics of practice based on narrative that could become a foundation for redesigning practices. Aesthetic ethics, as I have described it, follows Jabri’s mandate to constitute people as “works of art.” Applied to conflict resolution theory, this, in turn, mandates the social construction of certain kinds of positions in discourse (based on legitimacy and its underbelly), a particular kind of plot logic (circular and interdependent), and complex moral frameworks. These are aesthetic criteria for the evaluation of narratives, narratives that are themselves productive of the emergence of natality and subjectivity. And that, after all, is what makes them beautiful. Bibliography Bibliography references:

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice Avruch, K. 2010. “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Problems in Transitional Justice and the Reconstruction of Identity.” Transcultural Psychiatry 47 (1): 33–49. Bar-Tal, D. 2000. “From Intractable Conflict Through Conflict Resolution To Reconciliation: Psychological Analysis.” Political Psychology 21 (2): 351–365. Brown, J., and D. Isaacs. 2005. The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Brown, J., K. Homer, and D. Isaacs. 2007. “The World Cafe.” In The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems, ed.P. Holman, T. Devane, andS. Cady, 179–194. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Burnet, J. E. 2008. “The Injustice of Local Justice: Truth, Reconciliation, and Revenge in Rwanda.” Genocide Studies and Prevention 3 (2): 173–193. Deutsch, M., P. T. Coleman, and E. C. Marcus. 2006. The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Dewey, J. 1927. The Public and Its Problems. New York: H. Holt and Company. Escobar, O. 2009. “The Dialogic Turn: Dialogue for Deliberation.” In-Spire Journal of Law, Politics and Societies 4 (2): 42–70. Frank, A. 2000. “Illness and Autobiographical Work: Dialogue as Narrative Destabilization.” Qualitative Sociology 23 (1): 135–156. Gergen, K. J. 1994. Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Graybill, L. 2004. “Pardon, Punishment, and Amnesia: Three African PostConflict Methods.” Third World Quarterly 25 (6): 1117–1130. Graybill, L. S. 1998. “South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Ethical and Theological Perspectives.” Ethics and International Affairs 12 (1): 43–62. Honeyman, C. 1990. “On Evaluating Mediators.” Negotiation Journal 6 (1): 23– 36. Isaacs, W. 1993. “Taking Flight: Dialogue, Collective Thinking, and Organizational Learning.” Organizational Dynamics 22 (2): 24–39. ———. 1999. Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together: A Pioneering Approach to Communicating in Business and in Life. New York: Currency.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice Kaye, M. 1997. “The Role of Truth Commissions in the Search for Justice, Reconciliation and Democratisation: The Salvadorean and Honduran Cases.” Journal of Latin American Studies 29 (3): 693–716. (p.274) Kelman, H. C. and S. P. Cohen. 1976. “The Problem-Solving Workshop: A SocialPsychological Contribution to the Resolution of International Conflicts.” Journal of Peace Research 13 (2): 79–90. Kolb, D. M. andJ. Williams,.2000. The Shadow Negotiation: How Women Can Master the Hidden Agendas That Determine Bargaining Success. New York: Simon & Schuster. Leary, K., and M. Wheeler. 2003. “Crossing the Threshold: First Impressions in Psychoanalysis and Negotiation.” Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 5 (1): 81–105. Nadler, A., T. Malloy, and J. D. Fisher. 2008. Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation: From Violent Conflict to Peaceful Co-Existence. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Nealon, J. T. 1997. “The Ethics of Dialogue: Bakhtin and Levinas.” College English 59 (2): 129–148. Penn, P. 1985. “Feed-Forward: Future Questions, Future Maps.” Family Process 24 (3): 299–310. Picard, C. A. and K. R. Melchin. 2007. “Insight Mediation: A Learning-Centered Mediation Model.” Negotiation Journal 23 (1): 35–53. Pizer, S. A. 1998. Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge. Polletta, F., and J. Lee. 2006. “Is Telling Stories Good for Democracy? Rhetoric in Public Deliberation after 9/II.” American Sociological Review 71 (5): 699–723. Ponzio, A. 2006. “The I Questioned: Emmanuel Levinas and the Critique of Occidental Reason.” Subject Matters 3 (1): 1–46. Putnam, L. L. 1994. “Challenging the Assumptions of Traditional Approaches to Negotiation.” Negotiation Journal 10 (4): 337–346. Ramsbotham, O.,T. Woodhouse, and H. Miall,.2005. Contemporary Conflict Resolution: The Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity. Rose, C. M. 1990. “Property as Storytelling: Perspectives from Game Theory, Narrative Theory, Feminist Theory.” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 2: 37– 57. Page 26 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice Rouhana, N.N, and H. C. Kelman. 1994. “Promoting Joint Thinking in International Conflicts: An Israeli-Palestinian Continuing Workshop.” Journal of Social Issues 50 (1): 157–178. Sarangi, S. 1994. “Intercultural or Not? Beyond Celebration of Cultural Differences in Miscommunication Analysis.” Pragmatics 4 (3): 409–427. Schwartz, P. 1995. The Art of the Long View [Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World]. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing. Singer, T. 2006. “The Neuronal Basis and Ontogeny of Empathy and Mind Reading: Review of Literature and Implications for Future Research.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 30 (6): 855–863. Staub, E. 2006. “Reconciliation after Genocide, Mass Killing, or Intractable Conflict: Understanding the Roots of Violence, Psychological Recovery, and Steps toward a General Theory.” Political Psychology 27 (6): 867–894. Stone, D., B. Patton, and S. Heen. 1999. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York: Viking. Turner, M. 2006. “Compression and Representation.” Language and Literature 15 (1): 17–27. Van der Heijden, K.2005. Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation. 2nd ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Von Foerster, H. 2003. Understanding Understanding: Essays on Cybernetics and Cognition. New York: Springer. Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. 14th ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Waldman, E. 2001. “Credentialing Approaches.” Dispute Resolution Magazine 8: 13. Watzlawick, P., J. H. Weakland, and R. Fisch. 2011. Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution. New York: W.W. Norton. White, M. 1986. “Negative Explanation, Restraint, and Double Description: A Template for Family Therapy.” Family Process 25 (2): 169–184. ———. 2007. Maps of Narrative Practice. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton. Winslade, J., and G. D. Monk. 2000. Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice ———. 2008. Practicing Narrative Mediation: Loosening the Grip of Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Notes:

(1) I first heard this play on words from Heinz von Foerster in a lecture on “Understanding Understanding.” See Von Foerster (2003). (2) See Pizer (1998) and Leary and Wheeler (2003) for discussions of how psychoanalysis and negotiation are resonant. (3) My goal here is to integrate this view of the better-formed story into the existing frame of “narrative mediation” as developed by Windslade and Monk; it is not, therefore, my intention to review the literature on mediation in general. There are many good reviews of the field of mediation; see Deutsch, Coleman, and Marcus (2006). There is an additional mediation practice that has emerged called “insight mediation.” See Picard and Melchin (2007) for a description of this practice. I have chosen not to address it in this section because, not only do these authors mischaracterize, in my view, the narrative approach to mediation, insisting that it does not focus on the “problem” but also because it functions to recreate a cognitive, rather than discursive, approach to change. Their assumption is that the mediation process can generate “insight” for parties into their “cares and concerns,” thus helping break the interdependence of the way each party sees the other as a “threat.” Leaving aside the epistemological confusion of working in language and tracking psychological processes (the “apples and oranges” problem), the notion that insight precedes solutions, rather than follows solutions, is an issue as well. See Chronicle, MacGregor, and Ormerod (2004) for an intriguing paper on the relation between “insight” and solutions. However, good practitioners with sound judgment and solid experience come in all “flavors,” and I have no doubt that the limitations I see in the notion of “insight” and its application to the study of the transformation of meaning does not imply that the practice of insight mediation by its followers is not sound. I simply prefer to function in a theory in which the domain of focus (the social construction of cares and concerns) is tracked as a social construction (which is inevitably in discourse). (4) This critique has not stopped cognitive science from exploring empathy at the neurological level (Singer, 2006). Honeyman (1990) named “empathy” as one of the seven core competencies in his skill-based approach to mediator credentialing, and we can imagine the serious problem of evaluating people’s internal states. See Waldman (2001) for a description of this evaluation schema. (5) I have often reflected on the “heat” that I feel over this issue of using intrapsychic language (“empathy,” “curiosity”) to describe discursive processes. I sense the presence of two things, looming on the horizon, both of which are suspect: first, this intrapsychic language is epistemologically confusing, in my Page 28 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice view—we use it as shorthand, but it stands in place of extremely complicated discursive processes, the kind described so well by Winslade and Monk. And the result of this is not only theoretical confusion, but poor or inappropriate evaluation of practice. It is simply not enough to feel empathic as an indicator of ethical practice. A mediator should be engaged in the transformation of meaning as discourse. Second, intraspychic language is itself a slippery slope because it is a discourse that downloads, in a conversational context, a worldview in which “someone” has permission to evaluate the internal states of Others. Usually, this is granted to psychologists and other “psy” experts. But these people are not experts on the internal states of Others. And I resist the deployment of a language game in which it becomes possible for “experts” to presume they can know the internal states of Others. In my view, if we want to know the internal states of Others, we can ask. This does not mean we cannot share our own internal states, as I am doing here with you, the reader. And I am not suggesting that Monk and Winslade presume to know the intrapsychic states of others—I see their practice as aligned, theoretically, with what I have described as critical narrative theory; and I presume they use the word “empathy” more to connect with readers, as it is an important folk concept in mediation, than to describe the evolution of meaning in narratives. (6) This process includes the use of reframing, positive connotation, relabeling, irony, externalization, and negative explanation. See Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch (2011) and White (1986), as well as the description of externalization and deconstruction provided by Winslade and Monk (2008). (7) This may not be needed and is not required to effect “integration.” The private session may be a place to consolidate the emerging story, building a new history with each party and then coming together to elaborate it, or it can be consolidated with the parties in a public session. It is nonetheless useful to have a private session with the parties so that they can have a space to say things they are otherwise afraid to say in the public space. Then it falls to the mediator, working with the party, to “story” the withholding or sharing of this information, as the party sees fit. (8) See Penn (1985) for a discussion of “feed-forward” questions that build maps of the future. (9) This paper provides an excellent review of the literature on deliberative processes, as well as of narrative and storytelling. (10) The National Issues Forum is a good example of a deliberative format in which stories themselves can be marginalized in favor of logical reasoning. See its online forum “Partiipedia,” which describes the process of deliberation as one in which the advantages and disadvantages of given approaches to an issue are discussed by participants. They vote on the solutions that are generated, and Page 29 of 31

Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice majority rules. This process clearly fosters rhetorical forms that favor logic over narrative. This process, as well as the voting process at the end, makes it likely that the marginalized will remain so. See http://www.participedia.net/wiki/ National_Issues_Forum. (11) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy for a description of this controversy, a description that is itself controversial. (12) See a blog at http://one-blue-marble.com/climate-change-myths.html. (13) The word “skeptic” has been adopted by those who disagree with the scientific consensus; they note that to be skeptical is itself an attribute of good science. The label “unconvinced” is less attractive to these skeptics because they say it reinforces the notion that there is something to be convinced about—it anchors the scientific consensus as the center. (14) See http://www.globalchange.gov/component/content/article/67-themes/153strategic-planning. (15) See http://www.globalchange.gov/about for a description of the mission of this group. (16) The term “narrative compression” also circulates in studies of language and its relation to cognition. See Turner (2006) for an excellent example. He presumes that language is a representational system; narratives are compressed when the links between events are omitted or otherwise elided. Turner writes: Compression, as a term in cognitive science, refers not specifically to shrinking something along a gradient of space or time, but instead to transforming diffuse and distended conceptual structures that are less congenial to human understanding so that they become more congenial to human understanding, better suited to our human-scale ways of thinking. (Turner, 2006, p. 18) (17) See this study (as yet in press) on the experience of being within the

dictatorship within the Dirty War: http://kulturwissenschaften.academia.edu/ LucasBietti/Papers/168870/ The_construction_of_the_moral_self_in_autobiographical_memory_being_an_ordinary_man_within (18) Approximately 1,000 perpetrators were “reintegrated” through this process (Graybill, 2004). (19) See Burnet (2008) for discussion of the limits of the Gacaca courts. (20) See http://www.kigalimemorialcentre.org/old/index.html for a description of the center.

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Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution

Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb


Abstract and Keywords “Good” narratives support human development, they are the foundation for peaceful relations, preventing conflict and nurturing a context for learning and exchange. Good narratives are more than formulaic, they are poetic. This chapter offers a poetics for conflict resolution practice, focusing on the role of language not just as a mechanism for the production of meaning, but also as the production of poetry, dense meaning, that is indeterminate, slightly unstable, and evocative. In the context of conflict, the development of narrative itself, in interaction, is enhanced by the presence of certain poetic features of language that are defined as pertinent to critical narrative theory. Keywords:   poetic, mimesis, serious play

If, as Feldman (1991) has argued, the material world is subjective, shaped by the way we make sense of it, and the subjective world is materialized in our institutions and our relation to our environment, the conflicts in the world, as well as their resolution, depend on how we make sense of ourselves; and this sense-making, I have argued throughout this book, is simplified and reified, compressed, in an through the conflict. Indeed conflict narratives structure the nature of the meaning systems used to frame problems, characterize self and Other, and delineate history; they are, as Winslade (2009), drawing on Deleuze (1995) has noted, “lines of force” that govern and regulate, as well as restrict or compress, the meaning that are in use. Alternatively, a “line of flight” creates a

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution new trajectory for the development of new meaning, new relations, and new interaction (Winslade, 2009). Lines of flight are shifts in the trajectory of a narrative that escape a line of force or power. These diagrams of lines of power are also ‘‘places of mutation’’ (Deleuze, 1995, p. 85) where people bend the lines and seek out lines of flight to somewhere else. (Winslade, 2009, p. 337) And these new narratives need not be seen as flights of fancy, separated from reality; rather they are disobedient to “lines of force” and function, like poetry, to allow new associations, new meaning. Hardy (1987) discusses the blurred lines between poetry and “reality,” quoting a poem by Jarrell, making sense, for and with us: What some escape to, some escape: if we find Swann’s Way better than our own, an trudge on at the back Of the north wind to—to—somewhere east Of the sun, west of the moon, it is because we live By trading another’s sorrow for our own; another’s Impossibilities, still unbelieved in, for our own… “I am myself still?” For a little while, forget: (p.276) The world’s selves cure that short disease, myself, And we see bending to us, dewy-eyed, the great CHANGE, dear to all things not to themselves endeared. —Randall Jarrell 19551

Here, in “Children Selecting Books in a Library,” as Hardy (1987) notes, Jarrell portrays the paradox that …to be mature involves escape or rehearses a nonattachment to Self which is perfected in death. Thus, we may be engaged in telling ourselves stories in a constant attempt to exchange identity and history, though many of us stay in love with ourselves, sufficiently self-attached to rewrite the other stories for our own purposes. But “escaping” and “escaping to” form only a part of narrative activity and function. We tell stories in order to change, remaking the past in a constant and not always barren esprit d’escalier. (Hardy, 1987, p. 3)2 And, I would add, this is a poetic process. Aristotle (1987) defined poetics as mimesis—the imitation of life through art; tragedy, one of the three basic forms, when well-formed, creates pity and fear, as I noted earlier. He provides a detailed description of the features that make tragedy an art form and that constitute a “better-formed” story. Poetics therefore refers to the rules that constitute the interior structure of story, such that it contributes to “recognition,” which leads to pity and fear on the part of the audience: “Recognition, as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to Page 2 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution knowledge” (Aristotle, Poetics, Chapter XI).3 Although the better-formed story as I have described it does not follow the dictates of the tragic form or structure, it does constitute knowledge of the Other and of the Self, of history, and of possible futures. But what is “known” is much more complicated than Aristotle described and more complex in practice. Jakobson defined poetics as addressing “what makes a verbal message a work of art” (Jakobson, 1960, p. 85); in turn, the “message” is a core component in the communication system he defined, and mimesis is a function of the message. He answers his own question by saying that it is the work of the poet (of poetry) to “make the ordinary strange.”4 This is done, he argues, by “project(ing) the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the (p.277) axis of combination” (Jakobson, 1960, p. 71); under “ordinary” circumstances, we select words from a set of equivalences (child, youth, kid) and pair them with another word from a different set of equivalences (play, jump, sulk). But poetry involves blurring the lines between these sets so that the axis of combination is itself equivalent to the axis of selection. Siegel (1995) explains: Jakobson (1960) identified two modes of arrangement in language: the syntagmatic and the paradigmatic, each of which may be thought of as an axis rotating in space. Elements are arranged horizontally by combination on the syntagmatic axis whereas along the paradigmatic axis elements are arranged vertically, since the elements belong to the same class and can be substituted for one another. This construct allowed Jakobson to propose a hypothesis to explain the poetic function of communication, namely, “The poetic function projects the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection [the paradigmatic axis] into the axis of combination [the syntagmatic axis]” (p. 358). His claim, in other words, is that a message becomes poetic or aesthetic when the principle guiding the selection of elements on the vertical axis is applied to the selection of elements along the horizontal axis. (Siegel, 1995, p. 462) The result is that we end up putting words together that do not usually go together—the ordinary is made strange. Applied to the better-formed story, this suggests that when we create contiguity between the terms through which persons know Self as legitimate (“strong”), and we make these contiguous to a term in the same set but with a different meaning (“rigid”), we create the unfamiliar, the strange. And this is what happens when the legitimacy of a person, as a speaker, is linked or contiguous to its underbelly: The result is that we know “strong” differently. Suddenly, there is a poetic fluidity, a semiotic destabilization, in the message itself. Poetry destabilizes.

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution Poetry is, from this perspective, description. But by definition, a description does not flow through time—is it synchronic. Genette and Levonas (1976) have critiqued the traditional view of mimesis arguing that, first, it continues to posit an objective reality that is re-presented, or imitated, when in fact, any description is, as they say, the “the handmaiden of the narration…, the slave always necessary, always submissive, never emancipated” (Genette and Levonas, 1976, p. 6). Diegesis (narration) is the process of telling the description— mimesis cannot escape its own reality; it will be forever encased in and a function of diegesis. As Genette and Levonas (1976) said: “Mimesis is diegesis” (p. 5). This has two important implications for the poetics of conflict resolution, for the kind of narration that materializes subjectivity and breaks up the distribution of sensibility: First, any description of people, places, or things only has any meaning within a plot, within the flow of events. And, given the (p.278) systemic nature of narrative components, any changes to the description alter the plot sequence and vice versa. However, this does not imply, in my view, that they are equivalent: If conversations generate changes in a plot line, it is likely that this will imply changes to the subject positions in the discourse. But if those subject positions are not legitimate, then the proposed plot line will not be elaborated by people if it obliterates their legitimacy, except to deny, justify, or excuse their actions denoted in that accusatory plot line. So, first and foremost, speakers/parties to conflict are concerned with maintaining their legitimacy. For this reason, changes in their subject positions that permit the elaboration of new plot lines must be created and anchored prior to elaborating a new plot line or history. Second, mimesis is possible only from a perspective, from a point of view; the telling of a story (diegesis) is the political process of building a world and positioning people in it, Self as well as Others. Mimesis may still refer to “imitation” but, rather than describe the connection with the world, it refers to what is represented as the worldview of the speaker. So, one of the central poetic functions of narrative in the context of conflict resolution is to ensure that the point of view is made transparent. From this perspective, we might say that the role of narrative in conflict resolution is to move narrative itself from mimetic descriptions that purport to imitate the world to narration, which makes clear the presence of the narrator, as a person, as a human being. This is a critical feature of the poetics of narrative in conflict resolution—the narrator is materialized and made transparent, reducing the mimetic capacity of the story he or she is telling to try and represent the world. In turn, this requires what Stewart (1999) calls “mimetic breach,” in which the presentation of imitation itself is framed as such, denounced, and called out. The narrative is being told by someone with a point of view, and, inevitably, a politics and “point” appears; in this process, the narrative becomes its own object of Page 4 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution interrogation, of exploration and reflection. Narrative, in this poetics, makes itself suspect. This move from a representational to a constitutive view of poetics is, at the level of the conversation, complicated because no narrative wills itself onto the stage, under the lights, as one of the players in its own play. When this happens, subject positions, evaluative frameworks, and plot lines are called, by the context, into question. The text, rather than providing the context, becomes interrogated by the context. Bruner discusses this issue, which has been thoroughly presented by Todorov (1978): And so Todorov sees the poetics of narrative as inhering in its very language, in a reliance on the use of linguistic transformations that render any and all accounts of human action more subjunctive, less certain, and subject withal to doubt about their construal. It is not simply that “text” becomes dominant but that the world to which it putatively refers is, as it were, the creature of the text. (Bruner, 1991, p. 16) (p.279) The reflexive move to open a narrative to itself, as narrative, requires the repositioning of voice, from monologic to dialogic. Bakhtin and Holquist (1982) have described the communicative space as fundamentally dialogic in nature—the meanings we appropriate, the sense that is made, is never singular (in direct contrast with the sender/receiver models of communication), but plural, poly-vocal. “Heteroglossia” is Bakhtin’s term to describe the way that discourse is itself diverse, internal to itself; meanings ricochet off themselves, for the dialogic condition of speech itself refers to both the interaction in dialogue with others, inevitably and inescapably with Others, as well as speech that is already infested with many meaning-as-it-is-used, everyday. Theoretically, speech and interpretation are thus forever unstable. But in the case of conflict, the speakers have managed to cut out, reduce, and otherwise tame this heteroglossia such that their stories that deliver them as victims to their audience have already done their work to cut off alternatives, to make meaning monologic. It is this diversity, the attraction, if not love for the carnivalesque, for parody and irony, that must be returned to the fore, to the speech situation, if the conflict narrative is to open to heteroglossia, to include a mimetic breach that reveals the storyteller as a storyteller, choosing a storyline that advances his or her legitimacy. Bakhtin’s “sideways glance” at the Other is an ontological condition of speech itself: We are as speakers always engaged in an imagined dialogue (hence the title of Bakhtin’s book, The Dialogic Imagination) with Others, within ourselves and with Others. This “sideways glance” play is critically important in this process of mimetic breach, although Bakhtin did not discuss this in these terms. The mimetic breach is one that breaks the frame of the narrative as mimesis and clarifies the role of the narrator in the construction process itself. The sideways glance at the narrative-as-construction permanently breaks open the existing heteroglossia of Page 5 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution language and opens it to the speakers—it becomes a resource for the transformation of narrative itself, not that the conflict narrative seeks it—in fact it conflict narratives hide from heteroglossia. So, I would add heteroglossia as another dimension of the better-formed story, another feature of the poetics of conflict resolution. To open a narrative to heteroglossia, to destabilize its monologic and mimetic presentation, requires play. Direct challenge to a given narrative only engages it/ speakers in defensive and justificatory reactions. However “shingling” (layering an alternative frame over an existing one or substituting a new frame),5 positive connotation (attributing positive intention), externalizing or deconstructing through circular questioning, all are plays on or with meaning. Meaning becomes poetic, mimetic, and dialogic, and, in this process, narratives evolve. (p.280) Conflict resolution from this perspective is “serious play.” It is, at its core, invested, if not infested with irony. Schopenhauer (1966) defined irony as a (discursive) condition in which “something…is brought under the concept of its opposite” (p. 95). “Serious play” is an irony itself, in that “play” is contradicted by “serious,” and this forecasts my intention to link a theory of play as a serious activity to the practice of narrative transformation more generally and to the construction of the better-formed story more particularly.

Conflict Resolution as “Serious Play” “Serious play,” a term coined by Roos and Victor (1999), refers to the important, and serious work of “as if” conversations, of inventing new descriptions of problems. The meaning of the word “play” turns on the “serious,” the “deadly.” The Online Oxford English Dictionary (third edition) defines play as: “Active bodily exercise or movement; brisk and vigorous action of the body or limbs, as in fighting, fencing, dancing, leaping, etc.”6 There are several surprising features to this word “play.” First, it is active, it is of the body. Applied to conflict resolution, it is critically important that a theory of practice founds itself on the materiality of meaning. Johnson (2007) and Lakoff and Johnson (1999) work to undermine the Cartesian distinction between mind and body that has hampered, if not crippled, our understanding of the role of meaning and it materializations in the world. Lakoff and Johnson call for an “empirically responsible philosophy” that can enable human beings to get some practical purchase on themselves, their actions, and the material world they constitute through the meanings they help create. Conflict resolution should be founded on an empirically responsible philosophy that allows people to alter the meanings that materialize their worlds. Second, “play” is active. It is a practice, a process. But play in the context of narrative transformation has multiple meanings—it refers to the practice, the doing of play, but it also refers to what is done in and through the play—what is accomplished: Play is movement, and it makes movement possible. “Making the Page 6 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution ordinary strange,” as Jakobson said, is poetry, it is playing on and with words. And this process makes other movements possible. It is not that narrative transformation is a state change from one narrative to another, but it is a process by which play with meaning is an outcome of itself. Bateson (1955), in his seminal article, “A Theory of Play and Fantasy,” describes the complicated process by which animals play; it is complicated because they must signal to each other that “this is play” in order not to have the chasing and nipping interpreted as “this is a fight.” “Play” is signaled through the reference to what it is not denoted; this, in turn requires attention to the signals as themselves signals. The signals are (p.281) not representations of “things” in the world, they are signals about the signals. Bateson noted that this form of metacommunication refers to the relational dimension of communication. In narrative transformation, much of the conversation is about the meaning of the signals, what they used to mean, what they mean now, and what they could mean—it is a process of metacommunication about the relationship. It is, from this perspective, activity, engagement, with the meaning of meaning. What results from metacommunicative practices is not just new meaning—it is the experience of being active and agentic, creating the meaning about the meaning. It is agency in its purest form. So “play,” from this perspective, is a practice that is critical to being human, to being/becoming an agent, to being heard, to having a voice. Third, the word “play” has its history linked to activity with swords and weapons. It conjures an “as-ifness” in relation to war, conflict, violence. It mimics fighting, but frames itself, as Bateson notes, as not fighting. I am pointing to the deadly seriousness that is denoted, made present, through play. It vibrates with conflict. It conjures conflict as it signals that it is not conflict. “Play” as a practice in narrative transformation is, from this perspective, what shimmers on the horizon of narrative violence. This can be seen in terms of what Freeman (2009) calls “foreclosed” narratives; he defines narrative foreclosure as “the premature conviction that one’s life story has effectively ended” (Freeman, 2009, p. 83). Applied to conflict narratives, foreclosure is an important lens from which to see the terrible consequences of these stories in people’s lives, for indeed, these are stories in which there is no future (beyond the conflict) and no hope. Stuck in these narratives, people are compelled to tell them, but they are then rendered passive and powerless; further, conflict narratives bristle at any alternative to themselves, guarding their fortress (coherence) and keeping watch against anything that would destabilize them. Direct challenge, charging the gates, never works. All are repelled, all of the time. And even if the gates open, it is a trick—narratives can function as though they have opened themselves, as speakers agree to change their minds/meanings, but then, once we are thoroughly within the walls of the narrative, we are singled out as enemy, captured, and thrown in the dungeon, there to rot or recant.

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution Circling back to Winslade (2009), he describes the alternative to direct challenge as an “invitation,” to play with narrative, with description, reconnecting and reimagining Self-in-relation. But this “invitation” can also be enacted not as an explicit invitation to escape foreclosure, but rather as an invitation to elaborate, to layer on to meaning that is under production. An invitation can be understood as a “speech act” that proposes a given relationship between the speaker and their conversants. Watzlawick, Bavelas, and Jackson (2011) describe communication as occurring on two levels simultaneously: the report level, which is the referential meaning, the content of what is said, and the command level, which refers to the nature of the relationship that is implied by what is said. Although “command” as a descriptor may imply a (p.282) hierarchy that does not exist, these authors were attempting to address the way a given speech act has “implicative force” for the interlocutor, even though it may dissipate in the context of a diverse group with multiple conversations over time. But I am not interested here in whether implicative force actually holds over time and provides observers with an opportunity to retrace the emergence of a conversation. This is an interesting research question, but I am thinking here instead about praxis, about the realtime evolution of meaning, in a specific conversation. And invitation has implicative force in that it calls for the acceptance or elaboration of a proposed relationship. In a conflict resolution process, whether we, as practitioners, are negotiating in the context of our own conflicts or are functioning as a third party, we offer relationships with our reframing, positive connotations, externalizations, and the like. And this relationship is one in which we position ourselves as someone who could impact the discourse, who has the privilege to offer alternatives. This relational proposal highlights the significant difference between narrative mediation and narrative therapy. In therapy, there is a culture arising from the all-knowing gaze (Behan, 2003); this gives an additional “force” to the therapist’s invitations, even though the therapist may eschew this force. However, in mediation, the mediator has no special knowledge about the psyche of the involved people; he or she is an expert in a process but has no psychological or ethnographic privilege. As a mediator, I routinely and transparently construct my privilege in the opening of the first session by indicating that I will do my best to “catch up and keep up” (defining the parties as the agents), but I will need to ask questions and “poke around.” This signals to the parties that I will be, largely for my own sake, trying to make sense of the action. So, the implicative force of my questions is reduced at the “command” level. But, at the report level, relative to the content, poetic descriptions are extremely difficult to undo. They have force. They are compelling. Although an interlocutor may decry a given poetic description, he cannot erase it. He can propose a Page 8 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution different formulation, which is essentially an invitation to me, as a third party, to (a) not force him to adopt the description I have offered and (b) to elaborate instead the one he provides. I always comply. And I experience this as the (polite) decline of my invitation to a particular new meaning I have offered. And I take note—persons decline my “invitations” when there is a lack of fit between their discourse, their experience, and the descriptions I mobilize. However, this only gives me opportunity, as a practitioner, to elaborate, respectfully, the descrition that was offered back to me. While I comply, and elaborate that description, if it maintains the perfection of the speaker, and the “evil Other,” I look for new ways to complicate such a description, ways that will be, eventually, elaborated by all parties. In terms of the better-formed story, perhaps the most complicated and difficult, if not relationally dangerous invitation, is the one associated with the construction of the complexity of the speaker, an invitation to consider first her legitimacy and the terms on which she founds it, and second, its (p.283) underbelly. The invitation to elaborate legitimacy is always welcomed and accepted. Always. People may “decorate” this description or modify it slightly, but they elaborate it, nonetheless. But the invitation to elaborate its underbelly can risk my relationship, as interlocutor, with them. First, it posits the invitor (me, as third party) as someone who can make such a description, who has the privilege to alter meaning. Parties may simply deny that privilege and not accept the invitation at the level of the definition of the relationship. Second, the parties can refute, deny, or otherwise negate the terms used to open the “underbelly” conversation. It can function as a “line of flight” off a relational cliff! For this reason, it is an extremely delicate moment, one that requires much care, as in love. I refuse to provide a literature review on love. However, if I would, I might be able to ease you, the reader, into consideration of this topic as it relates to the invitations for narrative transformations in conflict stories. For indeed, this topic is not addressed in the field of conflict resolution. It is a form of heresy to combine it with an academic or even a public enterprise. It is a discourse that fits the private realm, perhaps some religious or spiritual discourses, and it is at odds with narrative theory. So the invitation I am making to you is transparent, and I ask, kindly, for a moment or two of your indulgence. I practice in the field of conflict resolution, as well as teach it, and I get attached. Fast. I appreciate the complexity of people, and they are to me walking art forms, puzzles of layered meanings, much of which I will never know. It is not that I feel people deserve to be seen this way—love is not about rights. Rather it is, first, that I almost literally see the narrative tissue in which they are enmeshed, and I delight in exploring it with people, if and when they permit it. Second, I appreciate their complexity and presume good intentions. This is, of course, not easy to do when they are delegitimizing me; and, given the Page 9 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution restrictions of gender and role, over the years in professional settings, I have often held my tongue, only to bite it off later, fuming over inhuman treatment by Others. I have, upon occasion, been able to construct the legitimacy of my Other, as well as the underbelly of my own legitimacy, toward the construction of a new relational history; I have never done this without preparation, without talking it through with someone who can help me try out new formulations. The betterformed story has led, in some cases, to a new relationship with my delegitimizer. But there have been times when I could not discuss the Other with anyone else for a variety of reasons, and, in these cases, I simply was not able to make the “turn” that would construct my Other as legitimate. This is a reflection on me, on the limits of my poetic ability, as well as a description of how my Other routinely mobilized members of our shared social network to elaborate a delegitimizing descrition about me, in an act of triangulation. And it certainly is a function of narrative foreclosure and, indeed, the relationship with the Other died, largely, in my view, because there was a totalitarian and authoritarian organizational culture where conflicts were privatized and (p.284) framed as personality problems—the public sphere was also dead and talking only reproduced more of the same. I know firsthand how hard it is to construct one’s Other as a “work of art,”7 But this does not mean it cannot or should not be done. The act of constructing people as works of art, as colorful and multilayered is the work of the beholder, the witness, and does not demand particular conditions to be present, as though only some people deserve to be characterized as complex human beings. But it does demand that we locate and engage specific kinds of conversational partners that do not simply elaborate the narrative of our Other (“they are right”) or our own victim narrative (“the Other is terrible”). And without someone to support the emergence of a better-formed story, it is not likely to appear. Arendt argues that people are human because they were born. And I would add that because they are born, they are legitimate as human beings. The dimensions of that legitimacy and its relation to its own underbelly are constructions that can be created in interaction, at any time. But love is not just a moment within a narrative transformation process. It is the practice of continually, persistently, appreciating the complexity and the beauty of people, and continually and persistently constructing them so, with them, about them, with others. It is, in fact, an artistic project, one that calls for new “lines of flight,” new configurations of meanings, and the social construction of a relationship through which complexity emerges without destroying legitimacy. The beauty of people does not lie in their legitimacy—it is present wherever they elaborate themselves as complicated, and as complicating their own lives and the lives of Others.

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution The politics and poetics of narrative transformation may not require love, but they do require an attention to aesthetics, “theirs” and “ours.” If “love” is too foreign a word to be included here, “affirmation” is perhaps less disjunctive, and, indeed, it helps us move from the intrapsychic world of inside the head of someone to the practice, the activity of affirming. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word means “to strengthen.”8 This process of affirmation involves, as I have argued, the poetic construction of subject positions and storylines such that both the legitimacy and its underbelly are elaborated by all parties. And from this perspective, conflict resolution is the poetic process of strengthening the narratives people tell, so that, paradoxically, they can be free to be human beings, being human. (p.285) Bibliography Bibliography references: Aristotle. 1987. The Poetics of Aristotle: Translation and Commentary. Trans. Stephen Halliwell. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Bakhtin, M. M. and M. Holquist. 1982. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bateson, G. 1955. “A Theory of Play and Fantasy: A Report on Theoretical Aspects of the Project of Study of the Role of the Paradoxes of Abstraction in Communication.” Psychiatric Research Reports (2) (December): 39–51. Behan, C. P. 2003. “Some Ground to Stand On: Narrative Supervision.” Journal of Systemic Therapies 22 (4): 29–42. Bruner, J. 1991. “The Narrative Construction of Reality.” Critical Inquiry 18 (1): 1–21. Deleuze, G. 1995. Negotiations. Trans. M. Joughin., New York: Columbia University Press. Feldman, A. 1991. Formations of Violence: The Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Freeman, M. 2009. Hindsight: The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward. New York: Oxford University Press. Genette, G., and A. Levonas. 1976. “Boundaries of Narrative.” New Literary History 8 (1): 1–13. Hardy, B. 1987. The Collected Essays of Barbara Hardy, Vol. 1: Narrators and Novelists. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution Jakobson, R. 1960. Linguistics and Poetics. In Style in Language, ed. T. A. Sebeok, 351–377. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Johnson, M. 2007. The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lakoff, G., andM. Johnson,.1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books. Laws, D., and M. Rein. 2003. “Reframing Practice.” In Deliberative Policy Analysis, eds.M. Hajer, and H. Wagenaar, pp. 172–206. New York: Cambridge University Press. Roos, J., and B. Victor. 1999. “Towards a New Model of Strategy-making as Serious Play.” European Management Journal 17 (4) (August): 348–355. doi: 10.1016/S0263–2373(99)00015–8. Schopenhauer, A. 1966. The World as Will and Representation. New York: Dover. Siegel, M. 1995. “More than Words: The Generative Power of Transmediation for Learning.” Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation 20 (4): 455–475. Stewart, G. 1999. Between Film and Screen: Modernism’s Photo Synthesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Todorov, T. 1978. The Poetics of Prose. Translated by Richard Howard. First Printing. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ Press. Watzlawick, P., J. B. Bavelas, and D. D. Jackson. 2011. Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes. New York: W.W. Norton. Winslade, J. 2009. “Tracing Lines of Flight: Implications of the Work of Gilles Deleuze for Narrative Practice.” Family Process 48 (3): 332–346. (p.286) Notes:

(1) The date for this poem was located http://library.uncg.edu/info/depts/scua/ collections/ manuscripts/ead/Mss009.xml where the Jarrell’s papers are described. (2) This term refers to “staircase wit,” which is the wit we summon, after the fact, as a comeback or response to something. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ L%27esprit_de_l%27escalier. (3) See http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Aristotle/Poetics.html. (4) See Bruner (1991). Page 12 of 13

Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution (5) See Laws, D., and M. Rein (2003), “Reframing Practice” in Deliberative Policy Analysis ed. M. Hajer and H. Wagenaar, pp. 172–206. New York: Cambridge University Press. (6) This link to the Oxford English Dictionary is only available through subscription: http://www.oed.com.mutex.gmu.edu/view/Entry/145474? rskey=L8S8RQ&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid (7) This phrase was given to me by a friend, Chas Williams, who compared the aesthetic work of an artist or someone who works to appreciate art with the work of appreciating people in general. I found it poetic and very important as strategy for relationships in conflict. (8) See this definition in the OED Third Edition online at http:// www.oed.com.mutex.gmu.edu/view/Entry/3418?redirectedFrom=affirm#eid.

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Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

(p.287) INDEX Abbott, H. P., 22n7 accusation, dynamics of, 33, 65, 89 ACOFOP (Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén), 45, 46, 50, 57, 58, 61–66, 68, 70 aesthetic, “functional,” 244 aesthetic approaches to conflict resolution and international relations, 232–233 aesthetic ethics defined, 233, 234 dialogue as a practice of, 257–260 as foundation for conflict resolution practice, 238–243 marginalization and, 255 for narrative elaboration, 183–186 natality and, 234, 244, 255, 265 reduces radicalization, 235 and the reduction of narrative compression, 267–272 and speaking and being heard, 233–234 totalitarianism and, 235, 252 Vivienne Jabri on, 188, 233, 234, 273 aesthetics Jacques Rancière on, 148, 233, 234 in the public sphere, and deliberation as a better-formed story, 261–267 affirmation, 284 Agamben, G., 26 agency, 151–152. See also moral agency identity and, 151, 152 language of, 25–26, 29, 32, 33, 179 natality and, 92, 126, 222, 224 a relational view of, 153–155 aggression syntax, 53, 54f, 55, 56 Al-Qaeda, 4 Al Shabbab, 163 Page 1 of 21

INDEX Althusser, L., 62, 125 altruism syntax, 53, 54t, 55 amnesia, “chosen,” 101 Andrews, M., 87 antinarratives, 161 Arab Spring, 98 Arendt, Hannah on the aesthetic and the moral, 233 on Eichmann and the “banality of evil,” 39 on freedom, 126–127 on humanity, 128, 271, 284 narrative and, 182 on natality, 92, 96, 126, 127, 129, 162, 190, 221, 223 on the Other, 153 on pain-in-public, 173 on perpetrators, 271 on pity and compassion, 174, 224 on plurality, 188–189 on political action, 181, 182, 188–190, 221 on power, 115–116 on “radical evil,” 124, 134 on totalitarianism, 37, 97, 126, 127, 135, 136, 188–190, 271 on violence, 115, 116 Argentina. See Dirty War Argentine Dirty War, 230–232 Aristotle, 60, 276 Arnstein, S. R., 145 associational engagement, 89 asymmetrical conflicts, 28–29, 143, 162 asymmetrical legitimation, 153 asymmetries, typology of, 143 asymmetry. See also symmetry/equality of delegitimacy, 73, 90–91 in power and suffering, 173 Atkins, K., 159 attractor landscape, 107 Bakhtin, Mikhail M., 64, 74n11, 83, 187n20, 258, 279 Bamberg, M. G. W., 87 Bar-On, Dan, 199 Barach, A., 74n11, 184 Beck, Glen, 83 Benhabib, S., 153 Benzien, Jeffrey, 137 (p.288) Bernstein, R. J., 142, 144, 188 better-formed story, 234–235, 244, 260, 271, 276, 277, 282–284. See also under magic realism aesthetic dimensions, 268–270 from conflict to, 207 critical narrative practice and, 223–227, 252–257 Page 2 of 21

INDEX deliberation as a, 261–267 destabilization and, 242, 271 heteroglossia and, 279 natality and, 190, 223, 266 nature of, 203, 222–223, 234–235 negotiating toward a, 250–252 origin of the idea for the, 203n9 play and, 280 vs. radicalized narratives, 223 reconciliation processes and, 271–272 scaffolding for, and negotiation as narrative practice, 248–250 subjectivity and, 259, 272 turning points and, 203, 210, 217, 219, 221, 222 “betwixt and between” space, 103–104, 106 Biesta, G., 128, 155–156 bin Laden, Osama, 116, 135 Bleiker, R., 232 bonding social capital, reduction of narrative complexity and increase of, 88–89 Bracken, P. J., 170 bridging narratives, 30–31 bridging social capital, 88, 89, 98 Bruner, Jerome, 56–57, 278 Buckley-Zistel, S., 101 Burton, John W., 15, 48, 145–147, 272 Bush, R. A., 74n11, 94, 184, 185 Butler, Judith, 32, 176 cancer, psychological perspective on, 179 Carroll, J., 59–60, 225 Carter, Jimmy, 71 catastrophes, learning from, 124–125 categorical imperative, 36n26 chaos theory, 107 “chosen amnesia,” 101 Clean Community Council, 118–119 climate change, 83, 130n22, 262–265 Climatic Research Unit email controversy (“Climategate”), 263 “co-constructing” a new story., 240 collaboration syntax, 53, 54t, 55 communicative action, theory of, 38n28, 128nn19–20, 148–149, 181 communicative ethics, 38n28, 262 communicative power, 149 community activism. See Help Save Manassas community mediation sessions, 71–72 compassion, 173, 174 competing stories and narratives, 5, 30, 144 competition syntax, 53, 54t, 55, 56 compression, 267. See also narrative compression CONAP (Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas), 44 conflict escalation Page 3 of 21

INDEX and de-escalation, 94, 108 narrative patterns of restricted participation and, 88–99 as narrative process, 78–88, 98 conflict narrative(s), 207–210. See also specific topics as judgment, 35–39 as storylines, 38 as structure, 47–49 structure and dynamics of, 47 structure and politics of, 49–52 conflict resolution, 236–237. See also specific topics defined, 69 journals in the field of, 142 narrative contribution to, 10–16 nature of, 67, 178, 284 as “serious play,” 280–284 “symmetrizes,” 30 conflict “spoilers,” 11, 73 conflict transformation as narrative destabilization, 99–100 conflict(s). See also specific topics destructive vs. constructive, 201–202 development of the capacity to manage, 56 examining the “root causes” of, 200 narrative and, 23–25, 207 nature of, 30, 146 and recognition of a wound, 26–27 consensus building, 72, 235–237 conservation, habitat. See Mirador Basin contact hypothesis, 148 contextualization and contextualizing narratives, 27, 50–51, 68, 69, 81, 83, 87, 89. See also recontextualization conversations, 6–9, 81, 240, 248–249 “as if,” 280 function, 248 “re-authoring,” 239 “underbelly,” 283 conversations-as-proposals, 8 cosmopolitan communication, 155 counternarratives, 87, 160–161 counterterrorism, 4 Cover, R. M., 150, 152n11 criminal narrative, 5 critical intelligence, 55 critical moments, 107–108, 248 defined, 107 critical narrative practice, 15 better-formed story and, 223–227, 252–257 narrative mediation as, 252–257 negotiation as, 251, 252 (p.289) Page 4 of 21

INDEX critical narrative theory, 144–145, 161–162, 164, 202, 221–222, 242, 248, 272, 273. See also specific topics conflict resolution and, 154, 201 negotiation and, 147–148 oppression and, 241 and speaking and being heard, 144, 155–161 cross-cultural negotiation, 52n3 damaged identities, 69, 87, 92, 154, 160, 161, 221 Lindemann Nelson on, 69, 87, 157–158, 160, 162 Damaged Identities, Narrative Repair (Nelson), 157 Dandi March, 97–98 de-escalation of conflict, 94, 108 Deane, Police Chief, 122 Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, 34 Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), 52n3 deforestation. See forest concessions; Mirador Basin dehumanization, 79 Deitelhoff, N., 128n20 delegitimizing, 65 deliberation, 13, 116, 127, 265. See also under aesthetics as a better-formed story, 261–267 democracy and, 10, 22, 124, 127n18, 148–149, 261 institutional practice of, 133 normative foundation for practicing, 148 production of meaning in, 13 deliberative processes, 10, 12, 13, 129, 261, 262. See also deliberation deliberative spaces, 37, 38, 127, 128, 134–135. See also deliberation deliberative theory, 127n18, 148 democracy, 133, 134, 212 deliberation and, 10, 22, 124, 127n18, 148–149, 261 dream narrative of, 24 foundations for, 10, 22, 30, 264 judgment and, 39 pragmatism and, 30 “deniers,” 263 deprivation of opportunity, 158–159 Derrida, Jacques, 146 destabilization, narrative better-formed story and, 242, 271 conflict transformation as, 99–104 creation of a space in which narrative is destabilized, 103–104 dialogue as a practice of, 259 and the liminal space, 103–104 nature of, 259 reflective judgments destabilizing radicalized narratives, 138 semiotic, 277 determinant judgments, 36–39, 130, 133, 138 determinate judgment, 36 Dialogic Imagination, The (Bakhtin), 279 Page 5 of 21

INDEX dialogue, 12–13, 37, 38, 172, 176, 279 as a practice of aesthetic ethics, 257–260 as a practice of narrative destabilization, 259 diegesis (narration), 277 differends, 57–59, 73, 74, 147, 153, 154. See also speaking and being heard conversations about, 8 definition and nature of, 7–8, 57, 73, 153, 154 erasing, 73 production of, 93 Dirty War, 230–232 Disch, L. J., 181 disciplinary power, 85 disclosive language, 36, 37, 125, 130, 132–134 discourse analysis, 71–72 dissensus, 6, 156, 234–237 defined, 234, 235 distribution of sensibility, 144, 233, 234, 236, 241, 251, 257, 272 altering the, 136, 144, 157, 234, 235, 237, 242, 264–266, 277 defined, 233 deliberation legitimizing the existing, 133 dissensus and, 234, 237 reproduction and reenactment of existing, 128–129, 155 distributive justice, 73 “Domestication” (Cobb), 185n18 dominant narrative, 36, 87, 239, 266–268. See also conflict escalation: narrative patterns of restricted participation and; master narrative Dore, I., 151 double bind, 84–85 double voice, 64, 74n11, 83 Drexler, J. M., 181–182, 189–190 Duhozanye, 78, 102–103, 105–107 eco-tourism project, 45–46, 50, 66, 70 Egyptian Revolution of 2011, 86 elicitive model of peacegathering, 156–157 embodiment as narrative interpellation, 62–67 emergence, 107 empathy, 172–174, 184–185, 253, 254n5 “discursive,” 253–254 emplotment, 49–50, 57–59, 65 therapeutic, 226 empowerment, 156–157 enmity system, 6. See also “evil” perpetrator/Other environmental justice narrative, 5. See also climate change (p.290) equality syntax, 53, 54t, 55, 56 escalatory syntaxes, 54t, 55, 56 ethics. See also aesthetic ethics for communicative practice, 38n28, 262 of conflict resolution, paradox of recognition as an, 174–177 narrative violence and, x, 15–16 Page 6 of 21

INDEX for transformative practice, 177–178 ethnic narrative, 5 ethos, 47, 64 of peace, 268 evaluation, 64–65. See also judgment(s) as the point of narrative, 35 evaluative point of a story, 64 evil, 97, 127 “banality of evil” narrative, 39 meanings, 39 “radical,” 124, 127, 134 “evil intention” narrative, 53, 55, 96, 97 “evil” perpetrator/Other, 28, 53, 60, 94, 96, 108, 135, 138, 234, 268, 271, 282 exception, state of, 27–35, 38, 135 exceptional suffering, myth of, 4 exclusion. See also inclusion/exclusion institutionalization of, 30, 32, 132 externalization of responsibility, 92–93 family business, 7. See also under magic realism fear, 11 Feldman, A., 33 Felman, S., 180 Fernandez, Gaudencio, 21 first-order positioning, 61, 62 Folger, J. P., 74n11, 184, 185 foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), 85 forest concessions, 44–47, 50, 57, 61–63, 66, 68. See also ACOFOP forest fires, 46, 51, 57, 58, 63, 64, 68, 70 Foucault, Michel on discourse, 59, 66, 99, 150–152, 154, 240 on narrative, 66, 70, 99, 184 on power, 85, 99, 150–152, 161, 223, 240 on subject positions, 63 free speech, 85, 133 freedom, 126–127, 224 Freytag, G., 48 Freytag’s pyramid, 48 “frozen conflicts,” 11, 24, 220 Gacaca courts, 91, 93, 101n13, 269 Galtung, J., 27, 145, 226, 272 Gandhi, Mahatma, 31, 32, 97–98 gender of perpetrators, 136n23 Genette, G., 277 genocide, 96, 121, 124–125. See also Holocaust; Rwandan Genocide genre, narrative, 56–57, 59, 60, 85 Gergen, Kenneth J., 141, 207, 236n4, 238 Gergen, Mary M., 207, 236n4, 238 Giller, J. E., 170 Global Heritage Fund, 45, 46, 50, 63 Page 7 of 21

INDEX Global War on Terror (GWOT), 4. See also “war on terror” Goldstone Report, 33–34 grammar, narrative, 53. See also syntaxes Greimas, A. J., 53 grievances. See differends Guantanamo Bay detention camp, 28, 96, 135 Guatemala. See Mirador Basin Habermas, Jürgen, 149, 150 agency and, 152, 153 communicative ethics, 262 on deliberation, 13, 148–149 discourse and, 188n21 on emancipation, 128 on learning from catastrophe, 124 on speech, 154 theory of communicative action, 38n28, 128nn19–20, 148–149, 181 habitat conservation. See Mirador Basin Hajer, M. A., 154 happiness, narratives and, 7 hard-line narratives, 81–88, 96 Hardy, S., 59 Harré, R., 61, 62 Hasty, J., 79 hate narratives, 78 hate radio, 79, 80, 83 hate speech, 84 hatred, 4, 28. See also Rwandan Genocide healing, 226 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 47–49 Help Save Manassas, 5–6, 20, 118, 121n9, 132–133 heteroglossia, 279 hidden transcripts, 23 Hispanic immigrants. See Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 85, 135 Holocaust, 29, 34, 96, 124, 179. See also Nazi concentration camps Hulse, R., 94 human dignity, 127 hurting stalemates, 11 Huspek, M., 149 Hutus. See Rwandan Genocide identification vs. subjectification, 128–129 identity, 84. See also damaged identities moral agency and, 87, 92, 158, 162, 220, 221 ontological condition of, 151 social construction of, 151, 152 Vivienne Jabri on, 151 identity “thickening,” 220 ideology, 62n5 (p.291)

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INDEX “illegals” (illegal immigrants), 131, 132. See also Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution Imagine Coexistence Project, 102, 107 immigration policy, 123–124. See also Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution impartiality, 184 imperialism, structural theory of, 145 inclusion/exclusion. See also exclusion narratives of, 5–6, 132 indigenous practices, 101–104 individualism syntax, 53, 54t, 55, 56 infiltrated consciousness, 158 ingando solidarity camps (Rwanda), 101 injustice narratives, 57 insight mediation, 252n3 Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 236–237 institutionalization of exclusion, 30, 32, 132 of violence, 26, 27, 29, 30, 116, 137 institutionalized discourses, 38, 87, 151 institutionalized stories and storylines, 154, 159 instrumental reconciliation, 14 intentionality, 151 Interagency Conflict Analysis Framework (ICAF), 142–143, 200n5 interest-based discourse, 11 interest-based negotiation, 147 interpellation, narrative, 62, 125 defined, 125–126 embodiment as, 62–67 intersubjective networks, 199n4 intersubjective web of meaning, 6 “invasion,” 117–124, 132–134 inversion of meaning, 93–94 inverting, 103 Islamic terrorism, 4. See also September 11 attacks Israeli Declaration of Independence, 34 Israeli–Palestinian conflict, vii–viii, 3, 33–34 inequality and power differential in, 31, 147 problem-solving workshops, 31, 147 state of exception and, 29, 34–35 storytelling workshops, 199 Jabri, Vivienne, 142 aesthetic ethics and, 188, 233, 234, 273 on social construction, identity, and agency, 150–153, 190 Jakobson, R., 276–277, 280 Jarrell, Randall, 275–276 journalism, 35 judgment(s). See also evaluation; reflective judgments conflict narratives as, 35–39 determinant, 36–39, 130, 133, 138 Page 9 of 21

INDEX determinate, 36 Maria Pia Lara on, 35–39, 125, 127, 130, 133, 233 normalizing, 152, 164 justice, 150 juvenile delinquency, 159–160 Kant, Immanuel, 36 Kassem, Fatama, 199 Kellow, C. L., 80n7 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 31, 129 Kristeva, J., 30, 178n11, 187 Kuperman, A. J., 90 Lakoff, G., 280 Lara, Maria Pia, 124 on disclosive language, 36, 37, 125, 130, 132 on evil, 39 on judgments, 35–39, 125, 127, 130, 133, 233 on narratives, 37 Latino immigrants. See Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution Laub, D., 180 law, 149–150 Law, J., 62, 63 Laws, D., 128n18 learning from catastrophe, 124–125 Lederach, John Paul, 13, 71, 72, 156 Lee, J., 261 legitimacy, 65, 282–283. See also specific topics ignoring and denying claims to, 89–92 and its shadow, 210–211 the delegitimacy of the Other and its (legitimate) shadow, 211–213 reciprocal elaboration of, 104–106 “levels of analysis” approach, 8 Levinas, Emmanuel, 258, 259 Levonas, A., 277 Li, D., 80 life narratives, 23n8 Limbaugh, Rush, 83–84 liminal space, narrative destabilization and the, 103–104 listening, active, 72, 74n11, 182. See also reflective listening “lived” vs. “told” narratives, 22–23 love, 283, 284 Lyotard, J. F., 57, 153–155 Mackenzie, Catriona, 159 magic realism, 197–198, 223 in a family business, and building a “better” story, 198, 203–211, 223, 226, 241. See also turning points from conflict to better-formed narrative, 207 Manassas, Virginia. See Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution (p.292) Mandela, Nelson, 31 marginalization, 146–148, 150, 175, 217, 223, 226, 241–242, 251 Page 10 of 21

INDEX and (not) speaking and being heard, 146, 147, 162, 226 aesthetic ethics and, 255 damaged narratives and, 157 distribution of sensibility and, 144 empowerment and, 156–157 moral agency and, 87, 157 and the narrative contribution to conflict resolution, 12–15 narrative violence and, 223 participation and, 145–146 public deliberation and, 261–262 scenario building and, 264 storytelling and, 261 structural violence and, 15 totalitarianism and, 223 master narrative, 9, 87, 160–161, 267. See also dominant narrative Mattingly, Cheryl, 185n18, 186n19, 225–226 Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), 44–45. See also ACOFOP meaning, inverting the speaker’s, 93–94 meaning making, 11, 13 mediation, 147. See also narrative mediation neutrality in, 147, 202 satisfaction after, 177n10 mediation model, transformative, 74n11 mediation sessions, community, 71–72 mediators, 71 meditation in mediation practice, 177n9 melodrama, 59 meta-agreement, 256–257, 262 metacommunication, 281 mimesis, 276–278 mimetic breach, 278 Mirador Basin, conflict in, 44–47, 49, 50, 57, 58, 61–65, 68, 70 Mirador Basin Plan, 45–46. See also eco-tourism project Mitchell, George, 71 Monk, Gerald D., 202n7, 239, 243 on discourse, 252–253 on discursive empathy, 253 on externalization, 253, 254 on narrative mediation, 200–201, 217, 238, 252, 255 on power, 252–253 on repositioning, 253, 254 moral agency, 12, 157, 159–162, 226 damage to, 29, 93, 157–158, 173 definition and nature of, 29, 157, 164, 188 freedom as the return of, 224 identity and, 87, 92, 158, 162, 220, 221 infiltrated consciousness and, 158 Lindemann Nelson on, 29, 87, 92, 157–158, 160, 162, 188, 220 narrative should promote, 164 Page 11 of 21

INDEX narrative violence and, 29 turning points and, 220–222 moral frameworks, “describing” vs. “disclosing,” 220–221 moral system and moral values, 64–65. See also ethos Müller, H., 128n20 mutually disqualifying narratives, 30–31 Nakba (1948 Palestinian exodus), 3 narrative. See also specific topics defying, 26–31 as founded on collision, 47–49 narrative aesthetic ethics. See aesthetic ethics narrative closure, 67–70, 82, 86, 103 and bonding and bridging social capital, 88–89 conflict and, 86 counternarratives and, 87 hard-liner narratives and, 85 narrative coherence and, 67–69, 99, 107 simplification of narrative and, 86, 88, 99 “surface area” of narrative and, 100 narrative coherence, 87, 99, 183n13, 202 dimensions of, 68, 68f narrative closure and, 67–69, 99, 107 narrative complexity, 108, 164, 201, 203, 221, 234, 254 reduction of, and increase of bonding social capital, 88–89 narrative compression, 266–267 aesthetic ethics and the reduction of, 267–272 narrative emergence, as nonlinear process, 106–109 narrative form and function, a structural perspective on, 52–61 Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends (White), 99 narrative mediation as critical narrative practice, and emerging a better-formed story, 252–257 Winslade and Monk on, 200–201, 217, 238, 239n8, 252, 255 narrative point, 64 narrative practice as craft, 243–244 narrative surface area, 100 narrative tendrils, 78, 239 narrative tissue, 100, 158 narrative violence, 28, 31–33, 39, 208, 268 institutionalized violence and, 29 involves denial of subjectivity, 260 Israeli–Palestinian conflict and, 29, 34–35 marginalization and, 223 narrative ethics and, x, 15–16 nature of, 27–30, 260 state of exception and, 29, 34–35 (p.293) narratives. See also storylines; specific topics importance, 32–35 nature of, 32–33 Winslade and Monk’s assumptions about, 201 Page 12 of 21

INDEX natality, 92–93, 126, 150, 161, 198–200, 208, 214, 221, 242, 251, 253, 255, 260, 265 aesthetic ethics and, 234, 244, 255, 265 agency and, 92, 126, 222, 224 better-formed story and, 190, 223, 266 consensus building and, 236 definition and nature of, 92, 126, 127, 162, 223, 224, 253, 265, 266 dissensus and, 234 experience of, 191 as framework for differentiating good from evil, 127 freedom and, 126–127, 224 genocide and, 96 Hannah Arendt on, 92, 96, 126, 127, 129, 162, 190, 221, 223 legitimacy and, 161–164 materializing, 128–130, 134, 135, 190, 244, 253, 260, 265, 271 narrative complexity and, 164 public sphere and, 127, 129, 130, 164, 235 reconstruction of identity and, 221 recovering, in the public sphere, 136–139 speech and, 97 subjectivity and, 223, 234, 260, 266–268 totalitarianism and, 127, 221, 223, 235, 236 National Geographic Society, 58 Nature Conservancy, 47 Nazi concentration camps, 26 Nealon, J. T., 258 negative externalities, 24 Negotiating Across Cultures conference, 52n3 negotiation, 11 as critical narrative practice, 251, 252 critical theory and, 147–148 as narrative practice, and scaffolding for the better-formed story, 248–250 of peace agreements, 11, 220 as process of witnessing, 202–203 realist, 93 toward a better-formed story, 250–252 Nelson, H. Lindemann. on counternarratives, 87, 160–161 on damaged identities, 69, 87, 157–158, 160, 162 on deprivation of opportunity, 158 on infiltrated consciousness, 158 on moral agency, 29, 87, 92, 157–158, 160, 162, 188, 220 on narrative closure, 69 on narrative tendrils, 78, 239 on narrative tissue, 100, 158, 239 on normative self-disclosure, 220, 221 “neutral moderators,” 262 neutrality, 144, 184, 235–237 consensus and, 72, 235–237 critique of the discourse of, 70–75 Page 13 of 21

INDEX in mediation, 147, 202, 262 nature of, 70–71 9/11 terrorist attacks, 4, 20, 28, 115 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), 58. See also specific NGOs nonviolence, 97–98. See also peace North Korea, negotiation with, 93, 94 Obama, Barack, 82–83 Oliver, Kelly, 12, 32, 175, 176, 177n9, 179–181 oppression, 240–241. See also specific topics Othering, 123. See also “evil” perpetrator/Other; Self and Other; specific topics outsider witnesses, 249, 250, 252 pain made public, 173, 174 Pakman, Marcelo, 159, 160 Palestinian exodus. See Nakba Palestinians. See israeli–Palestinian conflict Pappe, I., 30–31 paradoxical meanings, 103 Parent’s Circle, 198 participation and conflict resolution, 145–152, 235 peace. See also nonviolence ethos of, 268 neutrality and, 73–74 positive vs. negative, 27 peace agreements broken, 11, 73 conflict “spoilers” and, 11, 73 criteria for assessing them using a narrative lens, 73–74 distributive justice, equality, and, 73 durability, stability, and success of, 73 narrative analysis of, 73 negotiating, 11, 220 that incorporate justice narratives, 74 peacebuilding, 13, 237 elicitive model of, 156–157 foundational assumptions of, 174 peacemaking, 13 perpetrator, role of and recovering natality in the public sphere, 136–139 play, 280–281. See also “serious play” plot (narrative), 27, 47–50, 52, 53, 60, 221 as “conditional” in storyline, 81 vs. story, 225 plot lines, 50–51, 67–69, 207–208, 221, 278 plurality, 188–189 (p.294) Poetic Unfolding of the Human Spirit, The (Lederach), 71 poetics of conflict resolution, 277–278 defined, 276 as mimesis, 276–278 Page 14 of 21

INDEX Polletta, F., 261 Ponzio, A., 258, 259 positioning, 61–66, 253. See also repositioning first- vs. second-order, 61–62 interpellation and, 62 negative, 58, 65, 70, 259, 266 positioning dynamics, 70 positioning theory, 62, 79, 164 positivism, 141–143, 200n5, 253 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 170, 171 power, 115–116, 151, 173, 252–253 communicative, 149 defined, 143 disciplinary, 85 Michel Foucault, 85, 99, 150–152, 161, 223, 240 positivist notions of, 143 sovereign, 134 violence and, 115–116 power-sharing agreements, 13–14 practical identity, 159 pragmatics, 9, 234 pragmatism, 9, 30 Prince William County, Virginia. See Help Save Manassas; Rule of Law Resolution principled negotiation, 147 problem-solving workshops, 12, 31, 74n12, 147, 172 proposal(s), 8 for a relationship, 23 request for proposal (RFP), 90, 91, 237 Propp, V., 53 psychiatry, transcultural, 170–171 public sphere, 130. See also specific topics Putnam, Linda, 248 Rabinow, P., 134 racism, 120, 121. See also genocide radicalization, 116. See also radicalized narratives aesthetic ethics reduces, 235 of conflict narratives, 109 as a narrative process, 116 radicalized narratives, 116, 124–136, 149, 150. See also radicalization vs. better-formed stories, 223 characteristics of the content of, 131–133 and conversation, 266 and de-radicalizing narratives, 139 legitimacy and, 116, 126, 129, 131, 133, 135, 136 processual features, 133–134 public realm colonized by, 266 reflective judgments destabilizing, 138 totalitarianism and, 134, 138–139 transformation of, 265 Page 15 of 21

INDEX Rancière, Jacques, 156, 235 on aesthetics, 148, 233, 234 on consensus, 236 on the contradiction of inequality, 130, 144 on dissensus, 234, 235 on “distribution of sensibility,” 129, 144, 157, 233, 234 on “police” (order), 129, 134, 144, 155–156, 233, 236, 266 on speaking and being heard, 127, 128, 146, 153–157, 159–160, 162, 226, 233 on speech and being human, 93, 128, 153–155 on subjectification vs. identification, 128–129 Ransom, D. C., 84–85 rationality, 36 “re-authoring,” 239, 241 recognition, 12–13, 32, 157, 177n10, 190, 224. See also under suffering as an ethics of conflict resolution, paradox of, 174–177 as an “exchange,” 32 Aristotle on, 224 empathy and, 184, 185 of suffering, 172–174 witnessing and, 32, 177 reconciliation, 267 aesthetic ethics and the reduction of narrative compression, 267–272 defined, 271 instrumental, 14 recontextualization, 51, 67–68, 81–89, 93, 99–100 reflective double voice, 64, 74n11 reflective judgments, 125, 130–138 defined, 36, 125 Maria Pia Lara on, 36–39 reflective listening, 74n11, 170, 184–185, 190. See also listening: active reflective thought, 24 regressive narratives, 49, 57, 207 relational proposals, 23 relativism, 144 repositioning, 66, 253–255, 264, 270, 272 repression, 97 responsibility, externalization of, 92–93 “restoring justice,” 233n3 revenge, 80–81, 90–92, 115 Rifkin, Janet, 71, 147, 161, 183n14, 202 rights discourse, 55 “ripeness,” 11 “Roadmap for the End of Transition” (Somalia), 172 Roe, Emery, 161 Rose, Carol M., 249 Rose, N., 134 (p.295) Ross, Mark, 30n14 Rove, Karl, 83n4 rule of law, 20, 32 Page 16 of 21

INDEX Rule of Law Resolution (The Resolution), 5–6, 20–21, 117–123, 126, 131–133 Rwandan Genocide, 78, 96, 100–105, 107–108 and conflict escalation as a narrative process, 78–82 externalization of responsibility, 92 factors that led to, 79 ignoring and denying claims to legitimacy, 90–92 Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), 90–91 Salt March, 97–98 Scarry, E., 25, 88, 95, 178–180 scenario planning, 262 School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 236–237 Sebenius, J. K., 94 second-order positioning, 62 Self and Other, 6, 123, 151, 153. See also “evil” perpetrator/Other; identity; specific topics self-disclosure, normative, 158, 220–221, 224 Senehi, J., 201–202, 214 September 11 attacks, 4, 20, 28, 115 “serious play,” conflict resolution as, 280 settings of narrative conflict, 6 shared narratives, 30, 31, 85, 89, 202 “sideways glances” at the Other, 64, 279 Siegel, M., 277 “skeptics,” 263 Slemon, S., 197 Slocum-Bradley, N. R., 79 Sluzki, C. E., 84, 226 “smoothing” narratives, 7 social construction of the world, narrative and the, 22–23 social constructionism, 141–144, 152, 164, 202n7, 240 Vivienne Jabri on, 150–153, 190 social identity theory and hard-line narratives, 84 social justice narrative, 5 socioemotional reconciliation, 14, 269 Somali Civil War, 169–171. See also Somalia Somalia, 162, 163, 169–172, 190–191 Al Shabbab and, 163 clan conflicts and violence in, 170n3 instrumental reconciliation in, 14 post-transition roadmap, 172 power-sharing agreements negotiated in, 13–14 reconciliation initiatives, 171 reconciliation plan written by Cobb, 163 reconciliation process in, 190 Transitional Federal Government (TFG), 162, 172 South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), 14, 106, 136–137, 224, 269, 271 sovereign power, 134 speaking and being heard, 58, 95, 144, 175, 253 Page 17 of 21

INDEX aesthetic ethics and, 233–234 Al Shabbab and, 163 and being able to alter the experience of the other, 58 as the condition of being human, 92–93, 128, 153–154 conflict and, 185 conflict resolution and, 74, 147, 155, 177 critical narrative theory and, 144, 155–161 definition and nature of, 253–254 discursive practices and, 150 distribution of sensibility and, 233, 251 evolution of meaning and, 155 externalization of responsibility and, 93 freedom and, 127 identity construction and, 152 Jacques Rancière on, 127, 128, 146, 153–157, 159–160, 162, 226, 233 knowing one’s interests and, 147 marginalization and, 146, 147, 162, 226 moral agency and, 159, 160, 164 narrative foundation for, 173 narrative practitioners as ensuring people’s, 241 natality and, 164 opposition and, 241 people unable to speak and be heard, 70, 74, 93, 95, 144, 146, 148, 150, 154, 155, 157, 159–161, 163, 185, 199, 241–242. See also differends police order and, 129 relational agency and, 153–154 Somalia and, 162, 163 storytelling practices and, 199 structural violence and, 226 victimization and, 153 speech, 97 Spelman, E. V., 172–174 “spoilers,” 11, 73 spontaneous action, 189, 190 state of exception, 27–35, 38, 135 Steeves, H. L., 80n7 story battles, 203 story vs. narrative, 22n7, 27 storylines, 8, 61, 79–80, 154. See also specific topics conflict, 38 legitimacy and, 279, 284 simple, 81, 154 subordinate, 239–244, 249–250, 267, 269, 271 storytelling in conflict resolution, 172 and the limits of folk practice, 198–203 storytelling workshops, 199 Straus, S., 80–82 (p.296) strength of weak ties, 89 stripping, 103 Page 18 of 21

INDEX structural perspective on narrative form and function, 52–61 structural theory of imperialism, 145 structural violence, 29, 48, 223–224, 226 cessation of, as condition of “positive peace,” 27 is difficult to “story,” 27 marginalization and, 15 narrative violence as justification for, 39 nature of, 15, 26–27 subjectification vs. identification, 128–129 subjectivity, 63 is changed by reducing narrative reliance on rejection/disqualification of the Other, 186–191 narrative construction of, 153–155 natality and, 223, 234, 260, 266–268 subordinate storylines and narratives, 243–244, 249–250, 267, 269, 271. See also aesthetic ethics: as foundation for conflict resolution practice suffering and its recognition, 172–174 stories of, 178–183 Summerfield, D., 170 suspicious perspective, 200 symmetry/equality. See also asymmetry assumption of, 12, 30, 31, 147 syntaxes, narrative, 53, 54f, 55–56 Tahrir Square, 86 Taliban, 52 Taylor, C., 6, 32, 175, 176 Tea Party narrative, 82–83 terrorism, 4, 11, 85. See also September 11 attacks and counterterrorism, 4 “war on terror,” 4, 8, 28, 135–136 tipping points, 107 Todorov, T., 278 “told” vs. “lived” narratives, 22–23 totalitarian narrative regimes, 223 totalitarianism, 209, 211, 214, 224, 226 aesthetic ethics and, 235, 252 conflict narratives and, 221 consensus building and, 236, 237 exclusion and, 234 Hannah Arendt on, 37, 97, 126, 127, 135, 136, 188–190, 271 humanity, human nature, and, 127, 138, 189–190, 223, 234, 271 judgments, disclosive language, and, 37, 39, 134, 138 marginalization and, 223 narrative compression and, 267–268 natality and, 127, 221, 223, 235, 236 plurality and, 188–189 public sphere and, 37, 39, 97, 127, 134, 136, 138–139, 150, 188–189, 235, 268, 269, 271, 272, 283 Page 19 of 21

INDEX radicalized narratives and, 134, 138–139 structural violence and, 223–224 tragedy/tragic form of narrative, 59–60 transcultural psychiatry, 170–171 transformation, narrative, 99, 186–187 transformative mediation model, 74n11 transformative syntaxes, 54t, 55, 56 Transitional Federal Government (TFG), 162, 172, 190 trauma. See post-traumatic stress disorder triangulation, 64 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), 14, 106, 136–137, 224, 269, 271 Turner, M., 267n16 turning points, 107–108, 203, 206, 210, 219–222, 248, 255, 256, 272 defined, 107, 203 turning point 1: creating legitimacy and its shadow (delegitimacy), 210–211, 219, 220, 224, 225, 255, 272 turning point 2: creating delegitimacy and its shadow (legitimacy) for the Other, 211–213, 219, 220, 224, 225, 255, 272 turning point 3: creating an interdependent history (an ironic narrative), 213–214, 219, 220, 224, 225, 255, 272 turning point 4: creating/choosing a new future, 214–215, 219, 220, 256, 272 turning point 5: anchoring the new narrative(s), 215–220, 256, 272 Tutsis. See Rwandan Genocide United Nations (UN), 71 United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. See Goldstone Report United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR), 102, 107 U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), 264 “us” vs. “them,” 6 van Gennep, A., 103, 218 van Gogh, Theo, 6, 123 van Langenhove, L., 61, 62 Vatter, M., 126, 127 Versteeg, W., 154 victim and victimizer. See also revenge roles of, 58–59 vigilance, 176–178, 182 violence, 116. See also specific topics domestication of, 25–26, 178n11, 185n18 as fundamentally relational, 25 institutionalization of, 26, 27, 29, 30, 116, 137 from silence to, 95–99 (p.297) voice, 148, 184–185, 233. See also speaking and being heard active vs. passive, 64 singular vs. double, 64, 74n11, 83 Volhardt, J., 84 “war on terror,” 4, 8, 28, 135–136 Washington, D.C., 57 weapons, 27 Page 20 of 21

INDEX White, Michael, 239, 243–244, 253, 254, 281 on centered vs. de-centered authors, 239, 240 on narrative, 99, 186, 239, 240 on normalizing judgments, 152, 164 on outsider witnesses, 249 winning, defined, 86 Winslade, J., 202n7, 239, 243 on discourse, 252–253 on discursive empathy, 253 on externalization, 253, 254 on lines of flight and lines of force, 275 on narrative mediation, 200–201, 217, 238, 252, 255 on power, 252–253 on repositioning, 253, 254 witnessing, 21, 31–32, 171, 172, 182, 187. See also specific topics an ethics for transformative practice, 177–178 definition and nature of, 32, 182, 190 negotiation as process of, 202–203 Wizard of Oz, The, 60, 211 wounds, 25–27, 178–179

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