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Language as the Fabric of Conflict—And the Foundation for Dialogic Negotiation
Language as the fabric of conflict—and the foundation for dialogic negotiation

My speech surprises me and teaches me my thoughts.

—Merleau-Ponty (1962/1979, p. 178)

As the opening quote suggests, there is much we can learn about our conflicts and about ourselves from listening carefully to our own speech as we engage in conflict. In fact, Merleau-Ponty (1962/1979) recognized that it is only in speaking that we fully understand how we feel and what we think about a conflict. The language we choose during conflict is crucial in both forming the basis of our conflict stories and in moving those stories forward strategically. Effective conflict management relies on this ability to listen to and analyze the language that ...

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