Power Inequities


The Problem of Unequal Power

Angela Khaminwa quotes Susan Collin Marks, "If we don't coexist, we all co-destruct."
Kevin Avruch suggests that cultural differences sometimes obfuscate power differences.
Carolyn Stephenson asserts that power plays a key role in the success or failure of Track II efforts.
Deborah Kolb suggests that power inequities often prevent women from being effective negotiators.
Nancy Ferrell talks about coercive power in the context of family relationships.
Nancy Ferrell talks about the difference between "power over" and "power with," and discusses how a transition can be made from the former to the latter during mediation.
Stephen Thom discusses the need to "level the playing field" for mediation between parties of unequal power.
Werner Petterson describes the symptoms of a power imbalance, and talks about what can be done to lessen its destructive effects.

Addressing Power Differences

William Ury describes the role of the equalizer in intractable conflicts. Equalizers build up the power of the low power group to enable them to be able to negotiate fairly with the other side.
William Zartman discusses several "gaps" between different approaches to conflict resolution. The "peacenik" approach makes itself irrelevant, he says, by refusing to recognize the importance of power.
Nancy Ferrell discusses the important fact that empowerment of one party is a benefit to all, and doesn't diminish anyone else's standing in a mediation.
Will Reed emphasizes that empowerment is a side-effect of the work that he does, not the primary goal.
Julian Klugman discusses a situation involving a school system, in which empowerment of a minority population was achieved partly through nonviolent direct action.
Ozell Sutton discusses empowerment and "systemic illiteracy" -- a lack of understanding about how to work within "the system" to become empowered.
Stephen Thom talks about how police officers can empower community members to deal with problems.
Wallace Warfield describes how parties often try to disempower each other before even reaching the table, and talks about how this can be addressed by the intervenor.

Case Examples

Mari Fitzduff talks about policies of inclusion in Northern Ireland. Catholics used to be excluded from many parts of society; now they are included, which has greatly helped transform that conflict.
Tamra d'Estrée describes a conflict where one side was forced to change his identity in order to acheive personal legitimacy.
Deborah Kolb talks about the impact of gender bias on a company's compensation scheme.