The naming of emotions in dispute mediators’ strategic manoeuvring: A case study using a French language corpus.
This paper sets out to analyse why dispute mediators identify disputants’ euphoric and dysphoric emotions in the context of mediation discussions, turning them into “said” emotions. Our analysis is based on a corpus of seven role-played mediation sessions, which took place in French. Adopting the notion of strategic manoeuvring from argumentation studies, we consider recurring instances of the presentational device of naming emotions, as used by the mediators. Our findings show that the mediators name emotions in two ways. First, they identify dysphoric emotions that lie at the root of the parties’ conflict, making these explicit. Second, they present to the parties a trajectory of their emotions, which moves from dysphoric to euphoric through the discussion that takes place during mediation. These two presentational strategies correspond to three functions that relate to the mediator’s goal of helping the parties find a solution to their conflict: clarifying the core of the conflict, empowering the parties as co-arguers and making emotions part of an argumentative discussion.
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argumentation, emotions, dispute mediation