Definition of mediation
From Late Latin mediātiō (perhaps via Middle French mediation/mediacion) from mediārī ("intervene") from Latin medius ("middle").
mediation (plural mediations)
- negotiation to resolve differences conducted by some impartial party.
- the act of intervening for the purpose of bringing about a settlement.
Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or "appropriate dispute resolution", aims to assist two (or more) disputants in reaching an agreement. The parties themselves determine the conditions of any settlements reached- rather than accepting something imposed by a third party. The disputes may involve (as parties) states, organizations, communities, individuals or other representatives with a vested interest in the outcome.
Mediation, in a broad sense, consists of a cognitive process of reconciling mutually interdependent, opposed terms as what one could loosely call "an interpretation" or "an understanding of". The German philosopher Hegel uses the term 'dialectical unity' to designate such thought-processes. This article discusses the legal communications usage of the term. Other Wikipedia articles, such as Critical Theory, treat other usages or "senses" of the term "mediation," as for example cultural and biological.
Mediators use appropriate techniques and/or skills to open and/or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement (with concrete effects) on the disputed matter. Normally, all parties must view the mediator as impartial. Disputants may use mediation in a variety of disputes, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, community and family matters. A third-party representative may contract and mediate between (say) unions and corporations. When a workers' union goes on strike, a dispute takes place, and the corporation hires a third party to intervene in attempt to settle a contract or agreement between the union and the corporation.
Mediation is the only way assisted by one third, which promotes freedom of choice of protagonists in a conflict.
History of mediation
The activity of mediation in itself appeared in very ancient times. Historians presume early cases in Phoenician commerce (but suppose its use in Babylon, too). The practice developed in Ancient Greece (which knew the non-marital mediator as a proxenetas), then in Roman civilization, (Roman law, starting from Justinian's Digest of 530 - 533 CE) recognized mediation. The Romans called mediators by a variety of names, including internuncius, medium, intercessor, philantropus, interpolator, conciliator, interlocutor, interpres, and finally mediator.
Some cultures regarded the mediator as a sacred figure, worthy of particular respect; and the role partly overlapped with that of traditional wise men or tribal chief.
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