Sellman, Edward Mark (2003)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis is concerned with the analysis of processes of implementing peer mediation services for interpersonal conflict resolution in schools and outcomes attributable to this intervention. To illuminate such an analysis, the thesis argues the utility of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). This argument is based on the need for a theoretical approach that conceptualises processes of social and individual transformation, including the structure of the social world and the creation of new possibilities for thinking and acting in its analysis. Concepts from CHAT are elaborated to give greater description of I) the principles of power and control underpinning alternative models of activity, and II) different forms of conflict. The thesis analyses the implementation of a peer mediation service at one school undergoing transformation and at eight others where peer mediation has been implemented in the past with mixed success. Despite limitations regarding some of the data collection tools chosen, interview data highlights that those schools where principles of power and control are modified to give pupils greater responsibilities in the regulation of their peers’ conflicts, produce new mediational tools that expand the range of possible actions available to individuals in conflict.
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