Expanding the Policy Infrastructure for Resolving Family-Related Disputes: Mediation as a Technology

By Malia, Julia A.; Cunningham, Jo Lynn et al. | Family Relations, January 1995 | Go to article overview

Expanding the Policy Infrastructure for Resolving Family-Related Disputes: Mediation as a Technology


Malia, Julia A., Cunningham, Jo Lynn, MacMillan, Elsa, Wynn, Elaine, Family Relations


Public policy has been defined as "the sum of government activities, whether acting directly or through agents, as it has an influence on the lives of citizens" (Peters, 1993, p. 4). Family policy, then, may be seen as everything government does that affects families (Zimmerman, 1979). More specific is Aldous and Dumon's (1990) definition of family policy as "objectives concerning family well-being and the specific measures taken by governmental bodies to achieve them" (p. 1137).

Family policy can be characterized by such dimensions as "explicit and implicit family objectives, direct and indirect family effects, manifest and latent family content and effects, and intentional and unintentional family effects or consequences" (Zimmerman, 1992, p. 10). It also can be characterized by level (organizational, community, county, state, regional, national, international) and by sector (public, quasi-public, private) (Zimmerman, 1988). Thus, family policy development involves addressing problems affecting family life as perceived by policy makers at all levels (e.g., national or international, local, or intrafamilial) (Anderson, 1993) and in various social systems and institutions. For example, school boards set policies in public educational institutions, legislatures pass laws establishing roles of families in special education services, and the judicial system structures procedures for divorce and custody cases.

Policy science has a dual focus on a) public policy development and implementation and (b) policy analysis and evaluation (Monroe, 1988). Most visible and most often examined by family scientists are explicit policies with manifest family content and direct family effects, particularly those from the legislative arena. Specific policies typically are examined using a process such as statutory analysis (Moen & Schorr 1987; Monroe, 1987; Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1979) or policy impact analysis (Culler & Cunningham, 1980; Cunningham, Hughes, Philpot, & Pentz, 1981; Perry, Heathington, Philpot, Pentz, & Lo, 1980). A different level of analysis involves examination of the broader policy framework, or policy infrastructure. This less frequently used approach is the basis of this article.

The cultural and historical underpinnings of the U.S. policy infrastructure are individualistic (Aldous, 1987; Hafen, 1990; LeLoup, 1991), making it hard to develop an authentic family policy (Aldous, 1987; Schorr, 1979). In fact, there is no mention of the family in the U.S. constitution (Langley, 1991). Individual freedom, which is tolerated and indeed valued, exists within a framework of limited social control that sometimes results in what are to many members of society unacceptable actions, such as the use of living wills, privacy of adolescents' contraceptive decisions, and abortion. Because our society values the sanctity and privacy of home and family and views these values as rights, it is very hard to institute policies that violate them (Wilcox & O'Keeffe, 1991). Nevertheless, some laws do put protection of the child's welfare over privacy of the family; examples include compulsory education, mandated use of child passenger restraint devices, and obligatory reporting of child abuse.

Furthermore, a cornerstone in our nation's policy framework is legal process. This adversarial model, a classic win-lose approach to dispute settlement, presents various problems. It is costly in both money and time, and it often exacerbates existing tensions, resulting in further relationship damage even if the legal outcome is favorable for one of the disputants. The impact of this model, with its hierarchical system of appeals, is magnified by its use in other social systems such as school grievance procedures, methods of dealing with conflicts in the workplace, and current options for addressing conflicts in the health care system. In family-related disputes (both within the family and between the family and other social systems), disruption of relationships is especially unfortunate and potentially destructive, reinforcing contemporary American culture's preoccupation with what often is perceived as the erosion of the family as an institution (Hafen, 1990; Wisensale, 1992). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Expanding the Policy Infrastructure for Resolving Family-Related Disputes: Mediation as a Technology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.