Integral Review

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

Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Developing an Inclusive Perspective for a Diverse College: Inclusion = Diversity + Engagement

Cheryl Whitelaw

This article describes a project at the NorQuest College Center for Intercultural Education to develop an inclusion model for a post-secondary, two-year college. Inclusion = Diversity + Engagement is a model for action based on the integration of integral theory, particularly the all quadrants component of the AQAL model by Ken Wilber and the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity by Dr. Milton Bennett. The author views inclusion as a perspectival phenomenon, socially constructed; a culture of inclusion is, in part, founded on perspective seeking behaviors. Within the model, the focus for translative and transformative change is guided by the Intercultural Competence Stretch Goals document, a map created by the author and her project collaborators to identify selected attitudes, knowledge and skills to support more inclusive communication behaviors. The model is informed by concepts arising out of discourse on inclusion and intercultural competence, specifically on a capacity for perspective taking within a Canadian socio-cultural surround. Within the context of a college with identifiable diversity in terms of country of origin, languages spoken, race, ethnocultural origin including First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples and the level of ability requiring supports (for physical and/or learning challenges), this article describes an organizational change project sparked by an applied research study to create the Inclusion = Diversity + Engagement model and the organizational change initiatives that flowed out of the model. The applied research question asked: “In what ways might Student Services enhance intercultural communication skills during face-to-face interactions with students.” We found a need to focus on the enhancement of intercultural communication skills based on a primarily ethnocentric, minimization worldview for student services staff. Specific skills included developing a deeper understanding of staff’s own worldview with a focus on identifying preferred communication styles and practicing less familiar, less comfortable styles. We also found a need to practice perspective taking to increase staff capability to check for inclusion in service interactions. Results were used to design inclusion training; the project evolved to develop an integrally informed inclusion map. These organizational change initiatives are continuing through an ongoing inclusion focus at NorQuest College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Although written from a single author perspective, I want to acknowledge the project team members and the community of participants that engaged in this project from project proposal to ongoing inclusion initiatives.

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The Arc from the Body to Culture: How Affect, Proprioception, Kinesthesia, and Perceptual Imagery Shape Cultural Knowledge (and vice versa)

Michael Kimmel

Abstract: This essay approaches the complex triadic relation between concepts, body, and culture from an angle rooted in the empirical cognitive research of the past three decades or so. Specifically, it reviews approaches to how the body shapes conceptualization, reasoning, and communication. One main section examines how the body contributes to cultural learning and another how abstract cultural concepts are grounded in sensorimotor experience, perception, and inner somatic states. Their purpose is to survey and briefly critique different theoretical frameworks, probe into their complementarity, and summarily evaluate to what extent higher cognition is embodied. The third main section outlines elements of an epistemological framework that connects culture, concepts, and the body in a sensible way. The paper closes with a discussion of how the embodied cognition paradigm advances a rapprochement of different areas both within cognitive research and beyond.

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The U.S. Imperial Jugger-not: Saturation Points and Cultural Globalization

Meg Spohn Bertoni

Abstract: Globalization is not merely inevitable western cultural conquest. The assumption that the juggernaut of western hegemonic domination will continue until the world is consumed is a common one, but not an accurate one. That accuracy is compromised by a number of related misconceptions about the nature of globalization. Some of these have to do with an attachment to dichotomy in a world too complex for dualism. Some of them are related to assumptions about the nature of trade, of trends, of inevitability, and of statistical prediction that turn out not to be accurate—and by extension misconceptions about the unidirectionality of cultural exchange. Most are related to misconceptions about the nature of culture—particularly in oversimplifying, and making strange assumptions about, nonwestern cultures. Cultures change over time, with generations and historical forces—today’s cultural changes make up tomorrow’s cohesive culture. Cultures die not when they change to reflect the new attitudes and lifestyles of the peoples who live in them, but when they stagnate and become static, preserved only in museums, artifacts and books, and not in the everyday lives of the people themselves. Finally, phenomena do reach a saturation point, from biological populations to the motion of catamarans to absorption of cultural values, and these can be observed using methods of nonlinear dynamics. This project considers common misconceptions about globalization and culture, and uses concepts from nonlinear dynamics to expose the nature of the movement and saturation points of cultural globalization.

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