Mediation, at its most basic level, is a practice in which an impartial facilitator intervenes to assist parties in resolving a conflict. In this chapter, we trace the history of this conflict resolution practice. In so doing, we demonstrate that the evolution of mediation follows a jagged path, beginning as a communitybased practice, but breaking into a variety of legal, business and social justice-based models. This multiform development requires an assessment of mediation that is sensitive to its varied and contradictory forms. In this regard, we situate mediation within the informal-formal justice complex so as to highlight both its susceptibility to co-optation, owing to its immersion in the hegemonic field of law, and its potential for generating oppositional ideas and practices.