The Narrative Muses of John Winslade
John Winslade, PhD, is a Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Education at California State University San Bernardino & part-time Associate Professor at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He is the co-author of Narrative mediation: A new approach to conflict resolution (2000), Practicing narrative mediation: Loosening the grip of conflict (2008) & When Stories Clash (2012).
What has had the greatest influence on your narrative practice?
I would have to say seeing and listening to the work of Michael White and David Epston. Others as well. The family therapy origins of the work has been most influential for me. What I have been interested in doing is pushing those ideas from the family therapy field into other domains — schools, conflict contexts like mediation, restorative justice, grief counseling, or various other things. My main focus has been pushing it out into other places. I am hopeful that people like yourself can help push it further.
What book best explains the intersection of narratives and conflict?
It is hard to narrow down to one as different books have different values. Sara’s book was useful in that regard [Cobb, Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution]. I have been more influence by taking ideas, questions, and concepts from therapy into mediation and conflict resolution; so it has helped to read those texts. Michael White’s Maps of Narrative Practice, for example, is one book that can be put it into other contexts.
I don’t know if there are other practice-oriented books that would do the job. There are pieces here and there rather than particular books. I would add Alan Jenkins, Invitations to Responsibility and his latest Becoming Ethical. That’s has steps that are really important. His books are really important.
What is the next step, next horizon for narratives and conflict resolution?
When conflict resolution first arrived, it was all about mediation and negotiation. I think it has diverged a lot. Mediation still is relevant, but it is not the only thing that matters. What’s happing at S-CAR is important in that regard. It is looking at how to engage in the analysis of conflict; I think there is a lot more that needs to be done with that. In the end, it is not just analysis it is actually articulating and facilitating movement and shifts and changes in the larger scale community and political levels as well.