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Learning Lessons from Waco
When Parties Bring Their Gods to the Negotiation Table

Jayne Seminare Docherty
With a Foreword by Kevin Avruch

Paper $24.95s    |   0-8156-2776-9    |   2001

This intensive case study derives lessons for negotiation theory, research, and practice from the Waco disaster.

The siege at Waco simply refuses to disappear. Recently uncovered evidence, an on-going civil suit, and the Danforth investigation fuel public interest and controversy.

Heated debates about "what really happened in Waco" are a recurring public drama. Yet, little or no attention has been given to the work of the negotiator who talked with the Branch Davidians. This important book utilizes largely unexplored sources of data to explain why fifty-one days of negotiations by federal officials failed to get Branch Davidians to exit the compound, as desired. Learning Lessons from Waco applies a theory of worldview conflict to the more than 12,000 pages of negotiation transcripts from Waco.

Through perceptive analysis of the situation, Jayne Seminare Docherty offers a fresh perspective on the activities of law enforcement agents. She shows how the Waco conflict resulted from a collision of two distinct worldviews-the FBI’s and the Davidians’—and their divergent notions of reality. By exploring the failures of the negotiations, she also urges a better understanding of encounters between rising religious movements and dominant social institutions.

Finally, the resulting model is applicable to other conflict resolution processes such as mediation and facilitated problem solving.

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Jayne Seminare Docherty is associate professor of conflict studies in the conflict transformation program at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

6 x 9, 506 pages, 12 figures, 2 appendixes, notes, index

Learning Lessons from Waco

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