Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘Sara Ross’

More Perspectives, New Politics, New Life: How a Small Group Used The Integral Process For Working On Complex Issues

Sara Ross

Abstract: This article reports on a small research project with citizens who wanted to address their community’s chronically adversarial behaviors and atmosphere. It complements a longer research report on the same project, which is also published in this issue of Integral Review. The project used a structured public discourse process, The Integral Process For Working On Complex Issues (TIP). This article supplies background on TIP’s origins, then focuses on two areas. First, it explains the process steps used in the project in conjunction with the issue that participants developed by using them. Second, using examples from participants’ experiences of transformative impacts from their work in the project, it reports on two themes that underlie the main impacts and outcomes. The group worked on an issue about how its own intentions and tones needed to be chosen carefully if participants wanted to improve the adversarial local culture. The article includes links to “products” the group created in the course of its work. The themes were about dissolving “us versus them” mindsets and behaviors, and the liberation of being able to use multiple perspectives (as compared to only one point of view). This article is aimed at a diverse audience of individuals and organizations interested in promoting healthy individual and social change by addressing complex public issues and relationships. A brief epilogue sketches how TIP embeds criteria of integral theory.

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Perspectives On Troubled Interactions: What Happened When A Small Group Began To Address Its Community’s Adversarial Political Culture

Sara Ross

Abstract: This study investigated fostering political development (as defined in the report) through an integration of adult development, public issues analysis, and structured public discourse. Entitled The Integral Process For Working On Complex Issues, that multi-session discourse methodology includes issue analysis and framing, deliberation, and organizing systemic action. Its issue-framing template helps users generate multiple approaches to issues that reflect different levels of complexity and incorporate the conceivable human and institutional perspectives and environmental life conditions. The small group used the discourse process to select a public issue of concern and to begin to address it. It was about how to change the community’s adversarial political culture. They conducted a deliberative action inquiry into their own tones and intentions toward that issue as the starting point to address it, and did deliberative decision-making on that basis. The political reasoning and culture of the group developed during the study, evidenced by the group’s work and changes that participants experienced. The study is the first of its kind in several respects, which are: (a) to use this public discourse process as part of the research methodology, (b) to perform this kind of empirical research on public discourse and deliberation, and (c) to foster political and adult development while addressing complex issues. This extended length research report departs from traditional journal article formats not only by its length but also by integrating its report of findings with analyses of the processes that resulted in the findings. It is complemented by a shorter article in this issue of Integral Review, which describes the steps of the process and the major themes evident in participants’ experience.

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Integral Review and its Editors


Abstract: In this introduction to Integral Review’s inaugural issue, we explain the meaning we give to the title of this electronic journal which is open-access, both refereed and peer-reviewed, and why that meaning is important for us in today’s world. The draft of the basic article, which was intensely discussed among the members of the editorial committee, was written by Sara Ross and Reinhard Fuhr,* and following it, other members of the editorial committee added their personal emphases in reference to the integral paradigm as well as their (critical) evaluation of the premises made in the basic article. Thus Thomas Jordan offers a set of categories and criteria for integral qualities which turned out to be most important in practice and evaluation processes. Michel Bauwens makes distinctions about the multi-perspectival nature of the integral paradigm, points out ways to avoid four different kinds of reductionism, and highlights layers of awareness. Russ Volckman emphasizes the connection between the diversity of worldviews and methodologies, which allow us to also integrate recent developments in behavioral approaches in his professional field of organization and leadership development. Jonathan Reams emphasizes the new, transcendent quality of an integral approach that enables us to use different qualities of “reflection” flexibly and – as we have a meta-framework of human perceptions and values – to recognize everybody’s truth and feel compassionate with it. We then close with a discussion of the relationship between Integral Review and the mission of its non-profit publisher, ARINA, Inc.

Editor’s note: Sara Ross is president of ARINA, Inc. and coordinator of IR, Reinhard Fuhr is editor-in-chief of IR

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Toward An Integral Process Theory Of Human Dynamics: Dancing The Universal Tango

Sara Ross

Abstract: This article is an outline toward developing a fuller process theory of human dynamics aimed at practical applications by a diverse audience. The theory represents a transdisciplinary synthesis of a universal pattern and integrates humans’ projection dynamics with complex systems dynamics. Five premises, presented in lay language with examples, capture basic elements involved in the meta process of human development and change: reciprocity, projection, development’s structural limits, oscillations, and structural coupling. Based on a fractal dialectical pattern that shows up wherever complex systems are involved, the theory’s applications are scalable. It could be useful for personal development, public policy design, issue analysis, and systemic action on intransigent issues. It may be a complementary adjunct to developmental stage theories because it deals in an accessible way with the processes involved in stage transitions. Throughout the article, its practical relevance at some individual, social, and political scales is illustrated or mentioned. Readers interested in individual and social change may gain a sense of the human dynamics involved in it, and thus the potential usefulness of a process theory that describes what goes on in human change and development.

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