Sara Ross and Jonathan Reams
Vol. 7 No. 2 Oct 2011
“Holistic Democracy” and Citizen Motivation to Use a More Holistic Approach to Public Decision Making
Abstract: The broad focus of this paper and the study about which it reports centre on the implications of applying holistic approaches to democracy, or more specifically to public decision making practices. This paper advocates that more complex and holistic methods be used to respond to the complexities of global issues. It describes how these processes take more time, commitment, and structure to use and it raises a question regarding citizen motivation to use such processes. It addresses this question in three ways: It presents a term 3D Democracy that highlights this complexity; it discusses why public processes need to address the task of decision making, and it reports on a small case study. Results of that study indicate that using critical reflection and deliberation on the adequacy of current methods of public involvement in decision making can stimulate citizens to be interested in and motivated to use such a holistic method. The paper ends with reflections and further questions.
Skillful Engagement with Wicked Issues: A Framework for Analysing the Meaning-Making Structures of Societal Change Agents
Abstract: The argument underlying this article is that innovative and skillful change strategies are needed in order to handle a range of complex and difficult societal issues. For many of these so-called wicked issues, conventional institutions and policies have performed rather poorly. It can be reasonably argued that societal change agents play a crucial role in catalysing developmental processes regarding our societies’ problem-solving strategies and organizational forms. The purpose of this article is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the different ways societal change agents engage wicked issues by developing a conceptual framework for analysing the meaning-making patterns of change agents. The framework integrates relevant concepts and models from the field of adult development with a specific focus on the role of awareness in five domains: task complexity, context, stakeholders, self, and perspectives. The framework is expected to be useful in analysing and explaining the variability in how societal change agents construct visions, goals, strategies, and courses of action, as well as in analysing patterns of effectiveness and success in initiatives that engage complex societal issues. Knowledge gained from such studies can (presumably) be used for designing more effective forms of scaffolding individual competence development as well as collective problem-solving and strategy development processes.
Tags: Thomas Jordan, Context awareness, perspective awareness, scaffolding, self-awareness, societal change agents, societal entrepreneurship, stakeholder awareness, task complexity awareness, wicked issues.
Abstract: Dag Hammarskjöld, United Nations’ second Secretary-General 1954-1961, is getting recent attention for two reasons: he is going to front the new Swedish 1000-kronor note, the highest value; and this September it was 50 years since he was killed in an airplane crash in UN service in Congo. With that event, the most successful career in an international service that a Swede has ever had was terminated prematurely, a service that would set an unmistakable imprint on the UN organization as well as on the world stage of politics. But what made Dag Hammarskjöld such an exceptional leader and how did he view the world and his role in it? He was not only exceptional as a leader and world-centric visionary; he was also a mystic and an aesthetician with a highly analytic mind. What is unique is the fact that large parts of his thinking and personal struggling are available to the world through a dense material of his speeches and personal writings. This has made it possible to analyse the stages of development represented in them. Using ego development theory, described by Jane Loevinger as well as Robert Kegan, I offer the analysis that his writings, including during his most severe personal crisis, indicate he passed through a transition between the individualist and autonomous stages.
Pelle Billing and Kristian Stålne
Abstract: The Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and his manifesto are analyzed from different perspectives by employing various models from the field of adult development psychology; we analyze Breivik and the movement he claims to represent with respect to hierarchical complexity, ego development theory according to Robert Kegan, and value systems according to Clare W Graves. The specific values of the Scandinavian culture in which Breivik was raised – and that he wanted to attack – are also analyzed in order to understand this terrible deed. We conclude that Breivik can be regarded as a complex thinker who is also fairly mature from an ego development perspective, and his terrorist act can be seen as traditional values attacking the postmodern values that dominate in Scandinavia. With regard to motive we argue that his attack was fueled by a fragile gender identity due to paternal abandonment issues and a less than male friendly culture. This fragile gender identity then latched onto double standards in the intersection of gender politics and multiculturalism. We also argue that while the deed itself was hideous and repulsive, these double standards need to be exposed and addressed.
Was sind, und wie wirken Grundüberzeugungen in unserer Zeit? Über „Paradigmen“ und „Paradigmenveränderungen“ in der heutigen politischen und sozialen Sphäre – und die Folgen. Ein Gespräch mit Roland Benedikter, Stanford Universität. English summary included. What are basic assumptions, and which effects do they have in our time? On “paradigms” and “paradigm change” in the contemporary political and social domain, and the consequences. A conversation with Roland Benedikter, Stanford University.
English Summary: This talk clarifies what is meant by the pervasive but seldom-precise use of the term “paradigm change.” While it appears that this term is often (unwillingly) misused particularly by integral and progressive intellectuals and civil society groups as an instrument of predicting future cultural change, it is argued that it should rather be used as a tool of analysis of the past and the present of basic cultural and scientific convictions that dominate their times. In fact, a “paradigm” is defined as a collective bias (or, to use a more technical explanation, a “knowledge-constituting collective prejudice”) on certain issues. It defines the validity of what is meant to be true, and what to be false, and what can be accepted as valid, and what not, in a given society at a given time for a given period. A “paradigm” is always functioning (a) as a “constitutive paradox” because its claim is to define what is true and what not, but at the same time it is continuously replaced by new paradigms that coin different definitions – thus contradicting the very essence of “paradigm” as such; and (b) by incubation periods, i.e., by phases where different claims on what is valid coexist or even form hybrids among them. In the end, “paradigms” are something irrational and in most cases un- or half-conscious cultural formations; but they seem to exist in every period of cultural development. This talk explains the mechanisms of how dominating cultural biases become “paradigms” in order to rule temporarily over the academic and political correctness of their times; and how and to which extent the one-sided “paradigm fetishism” of the epoch of “postmodernity” is currently coming at its end, with new, more integrative and integral blueprints arising that are in their majority trying to balance the prevailing “paradigmatic” nominalism with new, empirical forms of neo-essentialism and neo-substantialism. Specifically, integral approaches try to create a paradigm for our time that connects deconstructivism and substantialism (realism).
Tags: Roland Benedikter
A Report from the Inaugural European Society for Research in Adult Development (ESRAD) symposium on July 24-25, 2011 in Lund, Sweden