Although there exists an extensive literature on mediation, little attention has been given to the close analysis of talk in actual mediations. This article applies various analytic techniques, particularly those of conversation analysis and sociolinguistics, to provide a culturally contexted account of a mediation. At issue is the division of a rice harvest between a sharecropper and the owner of a ricefield in a Northern Thai village. Practices with regard to accusation and criticism, defense and denial, expression of anger, formulation of parties, and perspectival shifting are central to the analysis.
In order to understand what is taking place, it is necessary to have some knowledge of a variety of cultural and “contextual” matters, for example, genres and styles of local speech, traditional and current share-cropping practices, the national law regarding sharecropping, and local administrative practices, as well as the history of relations between the parties to the negotiation. On the other hand, a close analysis of the talk reveals a good deal about general cultural contexts, as well as about Northern Thai mediation. (Mediation, conversation analysis, Thailand)