University of Nebraska at Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A.
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
This chapter examines an established organizing process, known as mediated negotiation, that has become evident in planning, resource management, program development, and delivery, and policy-making decisions in the United States. Our overriding argument is that the mediated negotiation setting is an effective container for the working through of public issues in a way that furthers both individual and societal development. From our perspective, the unit o f analysis is relationship-the reflexive relationship one has with him or herself ( the o ther) and the relationship that he or she has with the other members of the mediated negotiation environment.
The intent of this chapter is to provide a brief historical overview of the emergence of public policy mediation, and a clarification of our definition of democracy, through reference to major writers on the topic and to elaborate on the connection between notions of democracy and consensus-building practice.
Over the last one-third of the 20th century, public decision-making in the United States underwent considerable change. During the tumultuous 1960s, demands