Marco Genovesi

Arguing and bargaining in international forums: The need for a novel approach

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Most of the literature examining forum-based social interactions considers arguing and bargaining as the main modes of communication used by negotiating parties, and authors have often claimed that arguing interactions can be distinguished from bargaining ones on the basis of the presence/absence of some validation mechanisms. Starting from this assumption, authors have tried to study real-world international negotiations and to distinguish arguing from bargaining empirically. These attempts, however, have encountered several paralyzing methodological hindrances. This paper claims that the current differentiation between arguing and bargaining is built on erroneous assumptions and on a certain degree of undertheorization of bargaining types of forum interaction. The position advanced in this paper is that both arguing and bargaining types of interaction rely on similar validation mechanisms. Furthermore, the study shows that this erroneous distinction is the reason why authors have hitherto been unable to isolate and distinguish arguing from bargaining while looking at real-world international negotiations. The final goal of this paper is to challenge the current definitions of arguing and bargaining, and to provide the first step of a long-term research project aiming at the reconceptualization of these two types of interaction.

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