Narrative Approaches to Conflict Resolution Across Technologically Mediated Landscapes

Narrative Approaches to Conflict Resolution Across Technologically Mediated Landscapes

Luka Lucić (Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2016010103
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Young migrants across the globe increasingly interact and socialize with culturally diverse others across technologically mediated spaces. Bicultural and transnational development are becoming norms for contemporary youth as new media technology allows them to engage in interactions with diverse others across multiple cultural landscapes. What cultural tools do young migrants use to resolve conflicts with diverse peers across technologically mediated interpersonal interactions? To answer this question 44 individuals (ages 15-20) participated in a quasi-experimental workshop engaging them in the process of sense-making. During the workshop participants wrote projective narratives in response to a vignette depicting text-massage mediated interaction embedded among monocultural and bicultural groups of peers. Quantitative and qualitative data analyses focus on physical, psychological and communicative conflict resolution strategies used in narrative construction. The results indicate that immigrant youth are able to employ and coordinate varied strategies when approaching conflict resolution across culturally diverse landscapes of social interactions.
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The widespread use of smartphone-based technologies—such as cross-platform mobile messaging applications—for peer-to-peer communication constitutes a new and important dimension in the study of migrant social and cultural development. Given the speed of contemporary communication and the rapidly increasing movement and mobility of large segments of population, young migrants across the globe are frequently interacting with culturally diverse others across technologically mediated landscapes. Owing largely to time-space compression of interpersonal interaction, migration is no longer seen as a clean, more or less permanent, break with the country of origin (Suarez-Orozco, 2000; Lucić, 2016). Rather, migration is best understood as a multidirectional dynamic movement, a networked system facilitated to a great extent by information and communication technologies such as the Internet and smartphones (Alonso & Oiarzabal, 2010). As a result, a number of essential questions regarding the abilities of migrants to engage with and maintain interpersonal interactions with others in their host countries, home countries, and across various other transnational landscapes remain largely unanswered.

Human development is rarely a smooth and linear process of growth and maturation. Developmental psychology recognizes that conflict, trouble, crisis, and disequilibrium are fundamentally tied to the development of cognitive and psycho-social functions (Freud, 1923; Piaget, 1932; Erikson, 1968; Kohlberg, 1976; 1981; Bruner, 2002; Turiel, 2002; Daiute, Beykont, Higson-Smith, Nucci, 2006; Daiute, 2010). For example, Piaget (1932) conceptualizes the development of logical-scientific knowledge as a gradual process of adaptation. He describes adaptation as the establishment of equilibrium between the organism and its environment. Equilibration functions according to the dialectical theory which holds that development occurs when individuals encounter counterevidence to currently held ideas. At this point a conflict caused by the counterevidence motivates a modification to existing logical structures in order to formulate more functional concepts. More recently, within the narrative development framework Bruner (2002) and Daiute (2013) extend the strictly literary element of peripeteia towards the notion of ‘trouble’ in order to highlight its relevance for developmental process. In everyday narratives trouble occurs when something interrupts the expected (canonical or scripted) circumstances, thus disturbing the dramatic pentad. From this perspective, the act of grasping the narrative implicates the developmental process of making sense, through which the narrator or the listener relates its various semantic, pragmatic, and syntagmatic elements to each other. Hence, language actively woven into a narrative serves as a tool for organizing consciousness and perception.

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