Quote of the week, the month, the year …?

Yes, he is touting his most recent fiction publication. Here is the bit from his essay in the Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum 25-26 July, 2009.

Here’s a bit of unashamedly subjective truth: when I undertake social analysis, I constantly wrestle with doubts about the authenticity of what I am doing.  Not the validity of the statistics, nor the accuracy of my reporting of what people say; that’s easy to get right.  But the account of what’s really going on; whether it means anything much; how it might illuminate our understanding of human experience.  And if research can’t do that, what’s the point of it?  Survey piled upon survey doesn’t get us any closer to the truth if people have simply been mouthing plausible-sounding tosh in response to misguided inquiries that look for rational responses to questions better left unasked.  .. – Hugh Mackay (Reputable Australian social researcher and commentator.)

This goes well with his item, earlier, about the poetic, and qualitative and quantitative research. (Mackay, H. (1999). Words that are lovely, dark, and deep. Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum(4 September 1999), 22s.)
It also links in with what I noticed when reading Lombard and Ditton, and about their introductory remarks to the effect that the artists, dramatists, and designers of current forms of ‘presence’ in intermediary media, make design decisions ‘by trial and error, lore, and “seat of the pants” exploration’.  My response was to take exception to what I read as this dismissal, since the very low tech form of paper and ink and literary authorship has been able to generate a sense of presence of fictional characters, and virtual but realistic places, milieus, and consistent interactions, for generations.

Lombard, M. and T. Ditton (1997). “At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence.” Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 3(2).

Managing expectations

This is a connection with a teacher from the past …

One of the lessons I learned from thesis work was about the necessity of managing my expectations, especially some unexamined assumptions about the nature of thesis work, and how the level was different from PhD to masters …

Right now, I am listening to a podcast from the National Mediation Conference, 2008, and from John Wade, one of my referencing standards for reflective practice, and he is talking about lowering expectations, as part of the process of ‘persuasion’ in ‘negotiation and mediation’ … interesting connections.

Ideas coming through:

Rights talk, power talk and goals talk (interest-based bargaining); risks talk/analysis against goals; and the mediator’s responsibility to know (to recognise) them and their differences, and then to be able ot apply the appropriate one at the appropriate time and to cycle through all three to help the disputants recognise the realities in the dispute, and decide, in a bit more balanced way, between these to reach ‘satisfaction’ …

Rights: justice, fairness, entitlements …

Rights talk: facts, evidence, credibility, rules …

Downsides of rights talk – justice system is flawed


Power talk: threats, multilayered, time, power corrupts (delusion); power shifts with time and circumstance

categories of power: persistent, organised, memory, … emotional, scorched earth, information, expert, … skeletons-in-closet … wild irrationality …

scorched earth speech

skeletons-in-closets ‘behind every great wealth is a great crime’

Influence science and practice Cialdini marketer = mediator; negotiator =

  • consistency principle
  • authority principle
  • reciprocity principle
  • similarity principle
  • scarcity principle
  • coalition principle

negotiation = organised deception (including self-deception)

human beings hardwired to make bad decisions ( )

persuasion is complex … the task for the effective mediator is how to convert some of this knowledge into language and behaviour in the mediation room