"Docherty presents a conceptual model of worldview conflict, using the example of Waco to extract principles for negotiating with communities motivated by unconventional beliefs. Having researched transcripts of the negotiation tapes, official reports of events surrounding the negotiation, and interviews, she argues that parties with fundamentally different worldviews must first deal with reality, or "worldnaming," before they can begin to confront the issues. Docherty suggests that because they used different "naming, framing, and blaming" language, the two sides in the Waco negotiation were destined to fail. . . . Docherty concludes with 14 lessons for future crisis negotiators dealing with such groups, not the least of which is that they must know their own worldview and work to understand that of the parties with whom they are negotiating."—Library Journal
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 negotiators who talked with the Branch Davidians. In this important book, Jayne Seminare Docherty utilizes largely unexplored sources of data to explain why fifty-one days of negotiations by federal officials failed to get all of the Branch Davidians to exit the compound.
Learning Lessons from Waco applies a theory of worldview conflicts to the more than 12,000 pages of the negotiation transcripts from Waco. Through perceptive analysis of the situation, 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.
Jayne Seminare Docherty is the Academic Programs Director at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.
Series: Religion and Politics
6 x 9, 372 pages