Where You Sit is Where You Stand: Table Arrangement Battles in Middle East Peace Conferences

In: International Negotiation
Joel Singer Independent scholar

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This article analyzes one procedural prenegotiation issue that may seem minor in comparison to the substantive questions at hand, but can become consequential regarding its impact on the negotiation and its outcome. How the negotiating table is configured and where the parties will sit is the focus of our analysis. We examine how these questions were addressed in advance of key Vietnam and Middle East peace talks. The study assesses various strategies that were employed effectively to blur potential visual manifestations of symbolic and precedential advantage by one side.

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