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Ls308 Unit 4 Assignment

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LS308 -Unit 4: - Assignment
Nyree Griffith
Kaplan University – July 23, 2013

According to anthropologists Lauren Nader and Harry F. Todd, disputes are described as “a problem that escalates beyond an initial disagreement” (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009). There are three stages to the dispute process that Nader and Todd talk about. The first stage is called grievance, the second conflict, and the final dispute. Every stage has its own description and characteristics

In the first stage, grievance, there is a situation or disagreement that one part has found has unfair or unjust. Nader and Todd make sure to point out that this grievance can be real or just imagined by the individual, but that it still gives the party the feeling that they were wronged in one way or another. Once the one party feels this grievance they may just let it go or hide it under the surface, but once the grievance is brought to the attention of the other party is moves on the next stage. At this moment that the other party is aware of the grievance the dispute is now in the second stage of the process. In the second stage we now officially have a conflict. In this stage the parties’ can either not bother to resolve the conflict or they can attempt to come to a resolution through one or more ways. The third stage is now the dispute. The only way the conflict stage can go on to the dispute stage is when one or more third parties become knowledgeable about the grievance and involved in the resolution of it. There are different types of resolutions that involve a third party which include mediation, arbitration, and adjudication (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009).

An example of Nader and Todd’s dispute process is when one roommate stops doing their share around the house to contribute to the up keep and bills.
If Mary and Ann are roommates and share in the costs of all the shared bills and in the up keep of the house, and Ann begins to slack on her part, Mary may begin to get upset about it. Mary and Ann are in the first stage, grievance. At first Mary tries to lump it by deciding to pick up the slack and hope that Ann catches on and begins to do her share again.

Once Ann continues to slack off and Mary gets fed up she brings the problem to Ann. They are now in the second stage, conflict. If Mary and Ann can talk about the situation and come to a conclusion on their own, they will not go into the third stage. Mary tells their mutual friend Greg, who then steps in to try and help them resolve the problem. They are now they are officially in the third stage. Say for instance though, that Mary decides that if Ann does not get it after she has had to pick up her slack she will just file a lawsuit in civil court against her for her share of the bills. This would mean that they skipped the conflict stage and went right on to the dispute stage. If while in the dispute stage Ann decides that she does not want to fight with her friend Mary and decides to give in a pay half of all the bills and do half the up keep, then they went from dispute back to grievance.

An additional typology of dispute comes from scholars William L.F. Felstiner, Richard L. Abel, and Austin Sarat (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009). In this typology they focus on a concept and four stages in the dispute process. The concept they focus on is the concept of an injurious experience (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009). An injurious experience is a “situation where people are being hurt (in terms of their health, finances, or some other way) whether they realize it or not.”
The first stage is called the unperceived injurious experience stage (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009).

In the popular case involving Erin Brockovich, the residents of Hinkley were being poisoned by Pacific Gas & Electric through their drinking water (Erin Brockovich, Biography. (2010) http://www.brockovich.com/mystory.html (Retrieved on 7/17/2013). The residents did not know. Brokovich was able to uncover that PG&E had been leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water and affecting the populations’ health ((Erin Brockovich, Biography. (2010) Biography. (2010) http://www.brockovich.com/mystory.html (Retrieved on 7/17/2013). According to Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat those residents were in the first stage of the dispute process.

When the residents of Hinkley learned about their health issues, they entered into the second stage, the perceived injurious stage. This stage occurs when they name the problem because they are now aware of it (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009). The residents who were aware of their health problems and then connected them to the poison in the drinking water put there by PG&E were then in the stage of grievance. They entered this stage when they began blaming their health problems on PG&E and their actions of poisoning the drinking water. Consequently, the grievance stage occurs when the person decides that another party is responsible for their problem. The person must feel that a wrong doing has happened and must feel that it needs to be remedied in this stage. Once the grievance is communicated to the offending party, the problem enters into the dispute stage this is done through claiming (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009).
When the residents realized their problems needed a remedy they entered into the dispute stage and were able to file suit and win one of the biggest direct action lawsuits in U.S. history (Erin Brockovich, Biography. (2010) http://www.brockovich.com/mystory.html (Retrieved on 7/17/2013).

Individually these typologies of dispute can be seen in everyday life. They are similar in that the aggrieved party must make three key decisions (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009).
It must be decided whether a situation is unjust, whether to confront the offender with the problem, and whether to take the problem to a third party if they cannot resolve it on their own (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 2009). The differences are found in the explanation of the typology.

In Nader and Todd’s typology they explain that the process between stages can skip one stage, reverse, or have multiple outcomes, whereas in Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat’s explanation, the process can begin in different ways but they never talk about the process changing or coming to another outcome. They have different names for the stages and different explanation as to how to go through to each stage, but each stage has the same basic meaning.

REFERENCES

1. Barkan, S.E. (2009). Law and Society: An introduction. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, Inc.
2. Brockovich, Erin. Biography. (2010). Retrieved on 7/17/2013, from http://www.brockovich.com/mystory.html…...

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