The 'child's best interests' as an argumentative resource in family mediation sessions
609 - 623
Discourse Studies: an interdisciplinary journal for the study of text and talk
MetadataShow full item record
We used Discursive Psychology to study the claims and arguments which occur when ‘the child’s best interests’ is produced as a resource in family mediation settings. Analysis draws on data from three pairs of separated or separating parents attempting to resolve child contact or residency disputes through mediation. Our analysis focuses on the tendency of claims to the abstract notion of the child’s best interests to exacerbate conflict, especially as parents drew on conflicting research in this area. Changing expectations of fathering could be observed in the men’s argumentative positioning, and this was taken up in different ways by ex-partners and by mediators. Participants aligned themselves with mediators’ statements by picking up details of mediators’ language, hampering mediators’ attempted neutrality. The problematic nature of acknowledging the intensity of emotions in this process was also highlighted.
AuthorsHUNTER, RC; Smithson, J; Barlow, A; Ewing, J
- College Publications