The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Arby Aiwazian


Transformative mediation’s promotion of understanding, acceptance, and inclusion fosters a purer democracy by cultivating the individual self-empowerment of traditionally disempowered individuals that is vital to strong and robust democracies. By transforming relationships and empowering individuals, transformative mediation helps foster an arena for self-governance, which inevitably leads to self-empowerment and a purer democracy. Optimistically, as more individuals are empowered through transformative mediation, communities plagued with violence, hatred, and misunderstanding could also reap the benefits by fostering acceptance, communication, inclusion, and understanding. The nature of the United States’ current passive and procedural democratic system further perpetuates inequality by placing political power solely in the power to vote. Coupled with vast disparities in economic and political power and cultural differences, the United States is kept from becoming a substantive and inclusive democracy. Wider utilization of transformative mediation in both legal and nonlegal settings would help alleviate the effects of the differential exclusion approach the United States historically uses to manage diversity. Dispute resolution proceedings, such as transformative mediation, that work to overcome the above disparities allow for the restoration of personal fortitude and encourages individuals to empathize with each other’s problems, transforming the current procedural and passive form of democracy to a more inclusive system that accounts for the voices of all. These sort of proceedings would encourage the current democratic system to shift to a more substantive form because they work toward all citizens having relatively equal chances to influence and control the making of decisions that affect them, the hallmark of a substantive democracy.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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