Why dialogue in politics?


  • Kenneth Cloke Center for Dispute Resolution, Los Angeles




mediation, conciliation, dispute resolution, arbitration


In thinking about how to discuss political differences, the essayist Isaiah Berlin offered a useful way forward, proposing that we regard political ideas, rhetoric and communications as ‘inherently un-philosophical’, in the sense that they are based on values over which people naturally disagree because they flow from dissimilar interests, orientations and experiences, and therefore on entirely different sets of facts.

Author Biography

Kenneth Cloke, Center for Dispute Resolution, Los Angeles

Kenneth Cloke is director of the Center of Dispute Resolution, and a mediator, arbitrator, consultant, and trainer, specialising in resolving multiparty conflicts and designing dispute resolution system for organisations. He holds BA and JD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, and PhD and LLM degrees from UCLA. He did post-doctoral work at Yale, is a graduate of the National Judicial College, and teaches at Pepperdine University, Southern Methodist University, Saybrook University and USC. He is a founder and first president of Mediators Beyond Borders. His most recent book is Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy: How to Discuss Race, Abortion, Immigration, Gun Control, Climate Change, Same Sex Marriage and Other Hot Topics (GoodMedia Press, 2018).


Berlin, I. (1997) The Proper Study of Mankind. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Bohm, D. (1996) On Dialogue. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203180372

Cloke, K. (2015) Conflict Revolution: Designing Preventative Solutions for Chronic Social, Economic and Political Conflicts. Dallas, TX: GoodMedia Press.

Cloke, K. (2006) The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey into the Heart of Dispute Resolution. Toronto: Janis Publications.

Cloke, K. (2013) The Dance of Opposites: Explorations in Mediation, Dialogue and Conflict Resolution Systems Design. Dallas, TX: GoodMedia Press.

Cloke, K. and Goldsmith, J. (2000) Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict: Stories of Transformation and Forgiveness. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dalai Lama (Undated) Dalai Lama quotes about peace. Retrieved from www.beliefnet.com/faiths/buddhism/2009/03/dalai-lama-quotes.aspx?p=12.

Foucault, M. (1984) The Foucault Reader (ed. P. Rabinow). New York: Pantheon Books.



How to Cite

Cloke, K. (2018). Why dialogue in politics?. Mediation Theory and Practice, 3, 19–33. https://doi.org/10.1558/mtp.37045



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