Negotiation as Drama: How "Games" Become Dramatic

in International Negotiation
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Abstract

The metaphor of drama has recently been proposed as a means of extending game-theoretic methods of analysis to include an understanding of irrationality, emotion and the way in which players "reframe" their situation so as to create for themselves a new, different game. This paper attempts to describe in terms accessible to non-mathematicians how to model and analyze a negotiation process as a drama. The central idea is that by analyzing a game (renamed a "frame") and certain objects within it, we can find its gradient, i.e., the tendency of its different parts to change under the pressure of the emotions generated by its perceived fixity. Thus rather than an analysis of what must happen inside a given game, we have an analysis of the transformations the game - now a "frame"- must undergo in order to solve the problems it generates. To illustrate, the endings of two recent films -Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction - are analyzed to show why the three-way duel in the first case ends in a shoot-out while in the second case, it ends peacefully. The same model, with a few changes, is then used to model "peace-keeping" negotiations such as might take place between the UN and a group involved in ethnic conflict.

Negotiation as Drama: How "Games" Become Dramatic

in International Negotiation

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