Source: (2004) In Catherine Bell and David Kahane, eds, Intercultural Dispute Resolution in Aboriginal Contexts. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Pp. 28-56.

I make the case that generalizations about cultural identities and values should play a key role in designing procedures to resolve disputes; that is, in deciding who needs to be at the table, who can legitimately represent different parties and what structures of communication and decision making can do justice to the varying cultural perspectives involved. Claims about culture, however, always imply analyses of social power, and deciding how to incorporate culture into particular dispute resolution processes requires explicit attention to power relations between the groups involved. I describe this “politics of cultural generalization” in theoretical terms, then consider its implications for concrete elements of dispute resolution training and process design. (excerpt)