Claims, counter claims and mitigation : a reconceptualisation of intergenerational family mediation

O'Sullivan, A 2011, Claims, counter claims and mitigation : a reconceptualisation of intergenerational family mediation , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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This thesis offers a critique of the dominant model of intergenerational family mediation practiced in the United Kingdom. Its key aim is to avoid the essentialist tendencies of gender scholars within the mediation community. The government report 'More than a roof (DTLR, 2003) outlined the need for new approaches to homeless prevention such as intergenerational family mediation. Following this report a statutory duty was placed on local authorities to carry out homeless reviews and to formulate strategies to prevent youth homelessness (Smith, 2003). A new priority need group was created in the subsequent housing legislation. It consisted of those 16 and 17 year olds who were not owed a duty of care from social services, whose familial relationships were under strain. These 16 and 17 year olds were now to be the focus of interventions such as intergenerational family mediation, to rebuild family relationships rather than allocating them alternative accommodation. At this juncture intergenerational family mediation became an instrument of policy choice in the context of youth homelessness, rather than housing provision. The introduction of intergenerational family mediation in the context of youth homeless prevention is still relatively new. I argue that the importation of such a process into homeless prevention strategies has been undertaken with little understanding of intergenerational family conflict, or intergenerational family mediation in practice. The broad aim of this thesis is to further our understanding of intergenerational family mediation. Through my own analysis I highlight that intergenerational family mediation as currently practiced is a process that further subjugates already marginalised individuals. I argue that the narratives protagonists tell in the context of intergenerational family mediation are not 'about' conflict. I show that these narratives 'in' mediation function to co-construct accusations of breaches of gender norms, and mitigation in response to such accusations. My work takes on board this co-construction by placing myself as audience in relation to the text, alongside a simultaneous analysis of the influence of dominant gendered discourse that pre-exist the text. Thus this thesis has important contributions to make to both theory and practice of intergenerational family mediation. Through making an alignment with an ethno-methodologically informed narrative analysis I argue that gender identity, or subjectivity, is shaped by the 'meaning' people give to their experiences through locally co-constructed narratives (Bruner, 1990). Informed by a post structural feminist perspective I argue that these local narratives are in turn constrained (Butler, 1990) by dominant normalising discourses (language and cultural practices). Key Word: Gender, Narrative, Discourse, Family Conflict

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Hicks, S
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:25

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