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.
Award Identifier / Grant number: 10001C_17004/1
About the authors
Sara Greco received her PhD in Communication from USI-Università della Svizzera italiana and is currently Associate Professor of Argumentation at the same university. Her research is focused on argumentation as an alternative to conflict, with a specific focus on dispute mediation and public controversies. She is currently leader of the Empirical Working Group of the European Network for argumentation and public policy analysis. Her most recent book-length publications are Inference in argumentation (2019, with E. Rigotti, Springer,) and Dal conflitto al dialogo (2020, Maggioli).
Sara Cigada received her PhD in Linguistics, Philology and Literature from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, where she is currently Full Professor of French linguistics. Her research interests include French language, discourse analysis, emotions in discourse and in argumentation. Her most recent book-length publication is Les Procédés du discours argumentatif en français. Etudes de cas (2014, Bookelis).
Chiara Jermini-Martinez Soria received her PhD in Communication from USI-Università della Svizzera italiana in 2021, where she was a collaborator in the RefraMe project. Her dissertation focused on argumentation in dispute mediators’ reframing. She is currently a post-doc researcher at the Institute of Argumentation, Linguistics and Semiotics at USI.
Sara Greco and Chiara Jermini-Martinez Soria are grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation for generous funding of the project RefraMe “The inferential dynamics of reframing within dispute mediators’ argumentation”, Contract no. 10001C_17004/1, 2017–2021; applicant: Sara Greco, collaborator: Chiara Jermini – Martinez Soria). We are also grateful to all the mediators and the parties who kindly agreed to collaborate on this study. Moreover, we are indebted to Christine Guy-Ecabert, from CEMAJ (Centre de recherche sur les modes de règlement amiable et juridictionnel de gestion des conflits, University of Neuchâtel), for facilitating contacts with the mediators in the French-speaking Swiss cantons. Finally, we are grateful to Judy Nagle for language editing.
Research funding: This work was supported by Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (10001C_17004/1).
Declaration of authorship: The authors worked together and assume joint scientific responsibility for this paper. However, Sara Cigada takes particular responsibility for the following aspects: Section 2.4; the linguistic aspects in Section 3; the identification of examples in the corpus and linguistic commentary in Section 4; the conclusions regarding linguistic aspects in Section 5.
|Identified participant||One, two or three capital letters at the beginning of each word turn|
|Word turn||M1 (indicated after the participant and constitutes a paragraph)|
|[||A left bracket indicates the point of overlap onset|
|=||Turns following one another with no interruption (latching)|
|:||Lengthening of preceding vowel phone|
|::||Longer lengthening of preceding vowel phone|
|(.)||Pause of 1 s or less|
|(2)||Pause of more than 1 s (the duration in seconds is indicated)|
|↑||Rising intonation (question)|
|YOU||Capital letters indicate emphasis|
|0 xxx 0||Text between two 00 is pronounced with a lower volume than the surrounding text|
|(looking at M)||Essential non-verbal elements and actions are indicated in italics inter brackets|
|[…]||Omitted from transcription|
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