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Conflicts with intercultural dimensions are ubiquitous in today’s legal practice. Lawyers need cultural fluency to navigate and manage diverse values and expectation, communication norms, and worldviews. Cultural fluency is the ability to communicate and problem-solve across a wide range of differences. As the roles of lawyers change and a growing accent is placed on effective negotiation, the importance of cultural fluency only increases. Experiential education will be used to explore processes, capacities, and creative tools for addressing intercultural conflict. This subject will apply theory, research and practical skills to a variety of practice contexts, integrating insights from neuroscience research.
Drawing on current interdisciplinary literature and case examples from scholarly and personal sources, students will:
- Explore intrapersonal, interpersonal and intergroup dynamics of intercultural disputes
- Learn about processes to address deep-rooted intercultural conflict
- Examine and critique cultural dimensions of conventional dispute resolution processes including in-person and online mediation
- Analyse implicit meanings and cultural values of a continuum of dispute resolution processes as applied in a variety of sectors and settings, including private and public sector organisations and communities
- Identify ways that chaos, complexity and neuroscientific theories inform conflict analysis and implications for dispute process design
- Experience and apply imaginative and creative tools for transforming cultural disputes
- Experiment with somatic, arts-based methodologies including applications and limitations in intercultural dispute intervention
- Apply cultural fluency in a range of case types and practice settings through small-group discussion and practice outside the classroom.
Successful completion of the course will expand participants’ abilities for culturally- fluent analysis, intervention and follow-up as third parties, participants or advocates in negotiation and dispute resolution processes. Participants will learn valuable skills of integrative thinking and creativity through experiential exercises and the final paper.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Articulate and critically reflect on comparative theoretical and philosophical values and constructs shaping dispute resolution processes and programs as they are becoming institutionalized in Australia and elsewhere
- Critically evaluate existing and alternative dispute resolution processes in relation to cultural fluency
- Apply a range of tools to effectively manage conflict across cultures informed by neuroscientific research and the latest work on intercultural conflict management
- Demonstrate cultural fluency in communication, problem-solving and advocacy in relation to a range of legal problems
- Engage in ongoing self-reflection and skills development to increase sensitivity and adeptness in addressing complex disputes
- Provide meaningful input into dispute system process design for private clients and public programs based on sound theoretical understandings
- Consistently infuse creativity in negotiation, problem-solving and advocacy to enhance their capacity for effective legal work.
Last updated: 11 February 2021