Source: (2002) Paper presented at the XIII World Congress of Criminology, 10-15 August 2003, Rio de Janeiro.

The topic of my presentation is German victim-offender mediation, which I will refer to as “VOM” for short. A lot is known about the quantitative characteristics of VOM in Germany, yet we know very little about what happens during the mediation sessions. It is for this reason that I am now conducting a qualitative research study in which VOM as an interaction process is analysed from a micro-sociological point of view. Based on tape recordings from mediation sessions this project looks at how the interaction order is structured, how participants behave in the mediation process and under which conditions a mediation session can be successful. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the theoretical conception can be realized in practice, that is, what happens when id eals meet reality. In the following few minutes, I’d like to present to you some of the findings of this qualitative study. Using a case study as an example, I will attempt to explain in what way a mediation session can fail and for what reason. But first of all, I’d like to briefly mention the modus operandi of the German VOM and its theoretical conception. (extract)

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