Cognition and International Negotiation: The Historical Recovery of Discursive Space

G. Matthew Bonham, Christer Jönsson, Stefan Persson, Michael J. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The research reported in this article represents a continuation of work begun earlier on developing a cognitive mapping approach to collective decision-making. It is based on two shifts in the structure of previous theoretical thinking. First, the emphasis is on discursive rather than psychological imagery. Second, the idea chain or path is privileged over the person or the actor. The cognitive map is thus conceived less as a psychological template than as a discursive space. Rather than conceiving of persons having positions which they bring to decisions and then hold to them or alter them in confrontation with other positions, we conceive of positions as having persons. As a process of negotiations unfolds, its degree of success, within our conception, is to be related to the degree to which the parties can construct a shared discursive space, which amounts to their building of a shared reality. The new model is situated with respect to extant game-theoretical, manipulative, and cybernetic conceptions of bargaining. By way of illustration, applications of cognitive mapping to the negotiations on the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian union in 1905 and the 1919 Paris Peace Conference are analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognition and International Negotiation: The Historical Recovery of Discursive Space'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this