Integral Review

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

Vol. 9 No. 1 Feb 2013


Sara Nora Ross and Jonathan Reams

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Towards a Coherent Unity of Perspectives on Peace: Burton, Lederach and the Philosophy of Ken Wilber

Henry Lebovic

Abstract: This master’s degree dissertation uses the philosophical schema of Ken Wilber, known as the integral model, and the Spiral Dynamics® approach based on psychologist Clare Graves’ work and promoted by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, to explore the work of peace scholar-practitioners, John Burton and John Paul Lederach. It asks: Can the Integral model and Spiral Dynamics be utilised in analyses to explore the causes and sources of conflict, and the limitations of peace theory and practice? If so, can these schemas be used prescriptively to help design more effective approaches to peacebuilding? Such an analytical schema reveals that Burton’s human needs theory makes claims to holism that ultimately fell short, primarily because of the reduction of culture to behaviour. In addition, his reliance on cognitive approaches and the aspect of assumed neutrality were found to be problematic. In contrast, Lederach’s concern with subjective causes and solutions of conflict was closer to the “integral holism” Wilber advocates. Lederach’s values, which were made more explicit than Burton’s, were also found to be congruent with the second-tier value approach of Spiral Dynamics. Furthermore, research within the peace studies literature, as demonstrated here, lends support to the experimental analyses conducted in this dissertation. Finally, the small body of “integrally-aware” peace scholarship, which is also reviewed, illustrates how integral theory might emerge as an important tool for analysing and shaping future peacebuilding initiatives.

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The Spectrum of Responses to Complex Societal Issues: Reflections on Seven Years of Empirical Inquiry

Thomas Jordan, Pia Andersson & Helena Ringnér

Abstract: This article offers conclusions and reflections based on nine empirical studies carried out over the last seven years on how increased capacity to manage complex social issues can be scaffolded. Our focus has been on the role of meaning-making structures and transformations in individual and collective efforts to skillfully manage complex issues. We have studied capacities for managing complex issues both in terms of scaffolding group efforts through structured methods and facilitation and in terms of individual skills. Our action research gave us insights into the variability in scaffolding needs: groups are different in terms of the participants’ meaning-making patterns, which means that methods and facilitation techniques should be adapted to the particular conditions in each case. We discuss variables describing group differences and offer a preliminary typology of functions that may need to be scaffolded. In a second major part of the article, we report on our learning about individual societal change agency. We offer a typology of four types of societal entrepreneurship and discuss in more detail the properties of dialectical meaning-making in societal change agency.

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The Dynamics of Marriage Law and Custom in the United States

Elizabeth Ann Wilson Whetmore

Abstract: This article examines changes in marriage laws and related cultural norms and values in the United States across the last several decades, and discusses correlating worldview shifts. It appears that the “traditional” worldview produced earlier laws, cultural norms and values, and changes to these have corresponded with a cultural worldview shift, first into “modernism” and then towards “postmodernism.” The implications of these worldview shifts for ongoing change to marriage law and custom are also analyzed.

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Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives (by M. DeKay (Ed.) with S. Bennett, 2011)

Reviewed by Michael Schwartz

Abstract: Mark DeKay, Professor of Architecture and Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture at the University of Tennessee, a prominent scholar-practitioner in the field of sustainable design, opens his latest book with the explicit intention that the volume “help create a breakthrough in the effectiveness of the Sustainable Design movement such that it is transformed to greater power, relevance, meaning and positive effect on people and Nature” (p. xxi). His approach is thoroughly integral, taking up Wilber’s classic integral theory, more or less a version of “Wilber-4,” clarifying and extending this meta-theory in service of creating and advancing sustainable design as discipline and practice.

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The Mental Demands of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: A Constructive Developmental Lens (by V. G. DeLauer, 2009)

Reviewed by Thomas Jordan

Abstract: Our societies face a number of challenging issues that are both important, because of their impact on the wellbeing of people and nature, and complex, because many causal and conditioning factors and diverse stakeholders are involved. We find such issues in many areas, such as climate change, biodiversity, environmental pollution, intractable conflicts, crime, unhealthy lifestyles, drug abuse, mobbing, etc. Arguably, building capacities to skillfully manage complex societal issues should be a central concern for many of us. I believe most readers of this journal share a belief that the field of adult development sits on a treasure of insight that could contribute very significantly to our understanding of how we could build such capacities. However, the number of solid empirical studies using a developmental perspective on meaning-making among people with crucial roles in organizations and initiatives working on issues of great societal significance is still small. I was therefore very satisfied, not to say thrilled, when I stumbled upon Verna DeLauer’s doctoral dissertation The Mental Demands of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: A Constructive Developmental Lens. DeLauer has, in my view, written a doctoral dissertation

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The Great Indian Blackout and Elements of Positivity

Swasti Vardhan Mishra

Abstract: Though much criticized, the Indian blackout in July 2012 also possesses another side of a coin: the extent to which the blackout has served on the fronts of unity, cohesiveness, and equality is highly explicit. The currently ill-functioning Indian administration is identified as being at an intersection of a transition, a transition to more administrative efficiency. The ideas proposed in the essay are intended to perpetuate thoughts of optimism and faith through a constructively-framed perspective.


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