Dialogue, an exercise

A quarrel on one hand can be between equals. A conflict-perspective means that we acknowledge that our spaces are unjust to start with, because of large-scale processes and power structures (history, norms, administrative hierarchies, what is centred in organizing and what we see as knowledge/epistemology). A dialogue that is arranged between Cam (a person who has experienced injustice) and Riki (one performing or becoming responsible of that injustice) will therefore not by itself be equal. The risk with this kind of dialogues is that it tries to re-establish the power relationship between the two by

– having Cam explain what happened and justify their feelings and their claim of injustice
– Riki (as a representative of the system) evaluating Cam and the situations probability/credibility and compare it to how “discrimination” is defined legally
– Cams testimonial being dismissed as a misunderstanding, an incident or something that only has to do with Cams sensitivity or previous bad experiences
– appropriating the situation to Cam. Cam who points out the problem is seen as being the problem as the system views itself and Riki as its representative as neutral
– having Cam comfort Rikis hurt feelings for being accused of discrimination
– labelling Cam as threatening or impossible to talk with if they show emotional stress over what has happened


What can we do to balance the dialogue and make it as equal as possible?
What support and resources may the different parties need?
How can they both be heard?
If someone is moderating the dialogue, what skills are required of that person?
What kind of mindsets do we wish have, entering the dialogue?
What are the desired, general, outcomes of this kind of dialogues?
What are the probable effects of an unequal dialogue, for Cam, Riki, the systems that they are in and the society?

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