Browsing by Author "Shewell, Emma Anne"
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- ItemMediation as a tool for conflict transformation : a comparative analysis of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rwandan Gacaca courts(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Shewell, Emma Anne; Steenekamp, Cindy; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Within the broad field of conflict resolution, mediation has traditionally been conceptualised as a tool for conflict management or settlement. In other words, in both theory and practice, mediation is assumed to be a process of interest-based negotiation facilitated by a third party with the aim of arriving at a tangible agreement. Whether the agreement be in the form of a ceasefire, partial settlement or signed peace treaty, this outcomes-based approach has traditionally dominated the mediation discourse. In African practice this trend remains, with most mediation efforts being restricted to the elite level in the form of political negotiations between high-profile leaders. This study aims to extend these assumptions of traditional mediation concerning the conflict resolution potential of the mechanism. Given that mediation brings disputants together in communication that is otherwise unlikely to have taken place, it opens a unique possibility for dialogue and improved mutual understanding. By developing a newer model of mediation, that of ‘process-based’ mediation, this study resituates the mechanism as a tool for holistic conflict transformation. This approach prioritises the process of mediation as an end in itself, as opposed to a means to settlement ends. When formulated according to the five characteristics of the process-based model, mediation projects are argued to engender transformations of conflict at their root cause by improving the quality of relational interaction between disputants. These characteristics are community participation, context-specificity, the use of an Insider-Partial mediator, limited resource pressure, and a relational focus. Through a comparative case study analysis of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rwandan gacaca courts and using the process-based model as an analytical framework, the study demonstrates the applicability of this model in cases of protracted conflict on the African continent. In comparing the relative manifestation of the model within these cases and their subsequent transformative success, the study provides support for the use of process-based mediation as a conflict response in Africa. The case comparison finds that the five characteristics of the process-based model are in many ways linked, with the most important transformative elements being community participation and a relational focus. By demonstrating the transformative potential of mediation practice, the findings contribute to a contemporary movement in mediation literature away from its limited traditional conceptualisation.