Integral Review

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wilber’

Metatheory Building in the Conflict Field

Karim Fathi

Extended Abstract in English

Given the increasingly complex nature of conflicts, a corresponding increase of new methods can be observed in Peace and Conflict Studies. At this juncture, metatheories aimed at integrating this labyrinth of diverse methods is becoming necessary. This paper will draft a conceptual proposal, discussing two well-known holistic approaches of mediative conflict management in an integrative context:

– The Conflict Management Approach by Prof. Dr. Friedrich Glasl (2004).
– The Conflict Transformation Approach (The Transcend Method) by Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung (2000).

The theoretical assumptions of this paper are based on the integral approach by Ken Wilber (2001) – a highly discussed “Theory of Everything“ that has thus far remained widely ignored in Peace and Conflict Studies, yet. Therefore, it is also of interest to scrutinise the integral approach with regard to its contribution for an integrated Peace and Conflict Studies. The analysis was conducted as follows:

1. Introduction of two holistic Peace and Conflict Studies approaches:

a. The Conflict Management Approach by Glasl implies a number of categories and entry points (Ansatzmomente) resulting in a complex intervention spectrum. In this regard, the consideration of escalation levels is highly important, integrating perception-oriented (low escalation), emotion-oriented (medium escalation) and behaviour-oriented (high escalation) measures. The spectrum may be combined with other categories such as conflict type (hot or cold) or criteria of conflict analysis (issues, conflict trends etc.).

b. The Conflict Transformation Approach by Galtung is characterised by a three-fold schematic, enabling a complex understanding of violence (direct, cultural, structural), conflict (behaviour, assumptions, contradictions) and peace (non-violence, empathy, creativity). Moreover, Galtung’s model implies three conflict phases (before, during, after violence) as well as five styles of conflict management.

c. The integral approach can be understood as a “Theory of Everything“ presupposing that no perspective can be 100% wrong (but “partially true”). Its methodology is based on “map making” by categorizing established paradigms, methods and theories in a holistic metacontext. By means of five categories – quadrants, levels, lines, types, states (altogether AQAL: All Quadrants All Lines) – the integral approach claims to consider as many aspects of reality as possible in a holistic concept.

2. Outline of an integration model:

a. Possibility of an epistemological integration of the introduced methods:

The five AQAL-dimensions enable the epistemological foci of the approaches by Galtung and Glasl to be revealed. A point in which both approaches may complement each other becomes apparent by combining a vertical spectrum of escalation levels (Glasl) and a horizontal axis of different fields of violence (Galtung). It might be of further research interest to analyse the potential extent of a correlation to evolution oriented level schemes (Wilber), e.g., referring to development psychology or evolution theory. Are there different development levels (Wilber) of direct, cultural and structural violence (Galtung)? Is there a correlation between levels of development (Wilber) and regression (Glasl)? This paper concludes for both cases a cautious “yes.” In doing so, the consideration of the other AQAL-dimensions (types, lines, states) provides further information.

b. Proposal for an integral heuristic:

The consideration of vertical (levels) and horizontal (quadrants, types, lines) AQAL-categories is also useful to integrate heuristics. However, the integral approach itself does not represent a method of heuristic and practical effect, though it is useful to adapt the AQAL-categories and to consider new tools that are highly relevant for the Peace and Conflict Studies. The heuristic integral concept is based on the vertical conflict scheme by Galtung (three conflict phases) and Glasl (escalation model) and additionally considers horizontal analysis categories (e.g., types: conflict type; quadrants: fields of violence) on each level. A complex integral Peace and Conflict Studies heuristic is the result, under the consideration of an adapted AQAL-model.

3. Conclusion and critique:

The analysis shows that the primary use of the integral approach for Peace and Conflict Studies lies in its ability to integrate the epistemological benchmarks of different approaches. Thereby, the integral concept provides information about some points in which the epistemes and heuristics of Glasl and Galtung may complement each other which could enrich the construction of a metatheory in the Peace and Conflict Studies (especially with regard to the combination of Glasl’s escalation model and Galtung’s three-folded schematics). However, it should be noted that the examples of Glasl’s and Galtung’s meta-approaches provide other important integration and categorisation concepts which are not be covered by the integral approach (at least in its present form). Thus, the AQAL itself may be inappropriate to integrate methods in the context of their orientation (e.g., process, client, solution oriented) or regarding the modus operandi (e.g., (a) conflict analysis, (b) intervention planning, (c) action). The AQAL is not only lacking meta-categories which are adapted to the particular heuristic requirements of Peace and Conflict Studies, also the contextualisation of its dimensions – e.g., the evolutionary scope of the level dimension – may not always be adequate and useful.

Generally, it can be concluded that metatheory building requires to consider different – in some respects contradicting – possibilities of formulating meta-categories. With regard to Peace and Conflict Studies, there remain a lot of research questions to be opened, since different meta-contexts may follow differing “main interests.” Preliminarily, it can be concluded that a really integrated Peace and Conflict Researcher should be familiar with epistemological and heuristic contexts, but also metatheoretical and theoretical contexts as well.

Abstract – Deutsch

Angesichts immer komplexerer Konflikte in der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (Friedens- und Konfliktforschung) sind Metatheorien von Nöten, die diese unübersichtliche Vielfalt unterschiedlicher Methoden zu integrieren vermögen. Im Rahmen des vorliegenden Papers soll hierzu ein konzeptioneller Vorschlag skizziert werden, indem zwei holistische und bekannte Ansätze der mediativen Konfliktbearbeitung in einem integrativen Kontext diskutiert werden:

– Der Konfliktmanagement-Ansatz nach Prof. Dr. Friedrich Glasl (2004).
– Die Transcend-Methode nach Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung (2000).

Den theoretischen Rahmen, auf den sich die Überlegungen dieser Arbeit stützen, liefert der Integrale Ansatz (IA) von Ken Wilber (2001) – eine viel diskutierte philosophische „Theorie von Allem“, die im Rahmen der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung jedoch noch weitgehend unberücksichtigt geblieben ist. Daher ist es im Rahmen der Arbeit von weiterem Interesse den IA auf seinen Mehrwert für eine integrierte Friedens- und Konfliktforschung zu untersuchen.

Die Untersuchung verlief wie folgt:

1. Vorstellung der in der Untersuchung berücksichtigten Ansätze:

a. Der Konfliktmanagement-Ansatz von Glasl unterscheidet eine Vielzahl von Kategorien und Ansatzmomenten, die ein komplexes Interventionsspektrum ergeben. Sehr wichtig ist hierbei unter anderem die Berücksichtigung von Eskalationsstufen, die eine Unterscheidung zwischen perzeptions- (niedrige Eskalation), gefühls- (mittlere Eskalation) und verhaltensorientierten (hohe Eskalation) Maßnahmen ermöglichen.

b. Die Konflikttransformation nach Galtung zeichnet sich unter anderem durch dreigeteilte Schematisierungen aus, die ein komplexes Verständnis von Gewalt (direkt, kulturell, strukturell), Konflikt (Verhalten, Annahmen, Widerspruch) und Frieden (Gewaltlosigkeit, Empathie, Kreativität) ermöglichen. Darüber hinaus unterscheidet Galtung unter anderem auch drei Phasen des Konflikts (vor, während, nach der Gewalt).

c. Der IA versteht sich als eine Methode des metatheoretischen „Map makings“. Mittels fünf Kategorien – Quadranten, Ebenen, Linien, Typen, Zustände (zusammen AQAL) – folgt der IA dem Anspruch, so vielen Aspekten der Realität wie möglich in einem Gesamtkonzept Rechnung zu tragen.

2. Skizze eines Integrationsmodells:

a. Möglichkeit zur epistemologischen Integration der vorgestellten Konfliktbearbeitungsansätze:

Mittels der fünf Dimensionen des AQAL lassen sich die epistemologischen Schwerpunkte der Ansätze von Glasl und Galtung darstellen. Ein gegenseitiger Ergänzungspunkt bietet sich vor allem bei der kombinierten Berücksichtigung eines vertikalen Spektrums von Eskalationsstufen (Glasl) und eines horizontalen Rasters von mehreren Gewaltbereichen (Galtung).

b. Vorschlag für ein heuristisches Gesamtkonzept:

Der IA stellt keine heuristisch-praktische Methode dar, daher ist es in diesem Fall sinnvoll, die AQAL-Kategorien anzupassen und sogar neue Kategorien, die für die Friedens- und Konfliktforschung besonders relevant sind, zu berücksichtigen. Das heuristische Gesamtkonzept nimmt das vertikale Konfliktschema von Galtung (drei Phasen des Konflikts) und Glasl (Eskalationsmodell) zum Ausgangspunkt und berücksichtigt zusätzlich auf jeder Ebene horizontale Untersuchungskriterien (z.B. Quadranten: Gewaltart etc.)

3. Fazit und Kritik:

Die Untersuchungen dieser Arbeit verdeutlichen, dass der Mehrwert des IA für die Friedens- und Konfliktforschung vor allem darin liegt, die epistemologischen Bezugspunkte unterschiedlicher Ansätze zu integrieren. Am Beispiel der Ansätze von Glasl und Galtung zeigt sich aber auf, dass ein heuristisches Metamodell zusätzliche Metakategorien erfordert, die von der Schematisierung des IA nicht erfasst werden. Es lässt sich daher schließen, dass sich die Metatheoriebildung für die Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, vielfältigen Herausforderungen und weiterführenden Forschungsfragen gegenübersieht, zumal sich unterschiedliche Metakontexte unterscheiden lassen, mit differierenden Geltungsansprüchen und „Integrationslogiken“. Ein wirklich integrierter Friedens- und Konfliktforscher sollte sich im Idealfall sowohl im Bereich der epistemologischen und im heuristischen, im metatheoretischen und im theoretischen Kontext sicher bewegen können.

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“Sweet Science:” A Proposal for Integral Macropolitics

Daniel Gustav Anderson

Abstract: This treatise proposes the practice of becoming-responsible as a basis for integral micropolitics, defined as taking active responsibility for the well-being of the totality of living beings without exception, for the sake of that well-being alone. After reviewing two extant integral models for political action and interaction, demonstrating some of the limitations inherent in them, some ways are outlined in which the characteristic features of becoming-responsible—including critical clarity, compassion, competence, and consciousness—can be expressed in the realm of public concern; first, theoretically, drawing on a model proposed by poet and artist William Blake, and second, also historically, reflecting on an experiment in radical democracy in Chile (1970-1973), such that both examples critique and advance the claims and methods of mainstream integral theory as well as the alternative approach elaborated in this essay.

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Using Developmental Theory: When Not to Play Telephone Games

Sara Nora Ross

Abstract: As a powerful way to help understand the behaviors of people and social groupings of all kinds, developmental stage theory attracts attention and use outside of purely academic environments. These uses take the form of written materials and many kinds of interventions. The level of accuracy of developmental theory information generated and used outside of academe demonstrates wide variety. This variety is reflected in materials and interventions. The information used in materials and interventions becomes increasingly distorted as it becomes further removed from original theoretical sources. This has major implications for the ethics and expertise issues that are inherent in applied developmental theory. A classification scheme of information-use behaviors, many of which contribute to distortion processes, is used to code actual cases of creating and disseminating distorted developmental theory information, invoking the metaphor of telephone games. Case evidence indicates that casual, illustrative figures in a 2006 book by Wilber were used by others for various serious and theoretical purposes, and resulted in major distortions of developmental theory. Wilber’s figures represent problematic issues and errors, including distortion of theory, if they are used—as they indeed were—for any purpose more serious than his original purpose. Stemming from those issues and errors, a highly distorted picture of cognitive development and a pseudo-version of Commons and Richards’ Model of Hierarchical Complexity theory emerged, telephone game-like, in the cases discussed. Errors were widely propagated on the internet. Because outside of academe, specialized expertise in developmental theory is difficult to acquire, the sub-field of applied developmental theory requires not only accurate information but also strong communication ethics to govern behaviors of information providers. Such providers need to protect themselves at the same time they protect and inform consumers of their information. This process of knowledge sharing and knowledge building can be shaped by adopting guidelines and a basic operating principle proposed here. Guidelines and principles, without institutionalization, are insufficient support. A new Institute of Applied Developmental Theory could provide the supports, standards, and effectiveness the sub-field of applied developmental theory needs if its power to address 21st century challenges, which sorely need it, is to be realized.

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The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views

Jennifer Gidley

Abstract: In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism. I then broaden the discourse by introducing integral evolutionary theories using a transdisciplinary epistemology to work between, across and beyond diverse disciplines. I note the conceptual breadth of Wilber’s integral evolutionary narrative in transcending both scientism and epistemological isolationism. I also draw attention to some limitations of Wilber’s integral project, notably his undervaluing of Gebser’s actual text, and the substantial omission of the pioneering contribution of Steiner, who, as early as 1904 wrote extensively about the evolution of consciousness, including the imminent emergence of a new stage. I enact a deepening of integral evolutionary theory by honoring the significant yet undervalued theoretic components of participation/enactment and aesthetics/artistry via Steiner and Gebser, as a complement to Wilber. To this end, I undertake an in-depth hermeneutic dialogue between their writings utilizing theoretic bricolage, a multi-mode methodology that weaves between and within diverse and overlapping perspectives. The hermeneutic methodology emphasizes interpretive textual analysis with the aim of deepening understanding of the individual works and the relationships among them. This analysis is embedded in an epic but pluralistic narrative that spans the entire human story through various previous movements of consciousness, arriving at a new emergence at the present time. I also discuss the relationship between these narratives and contemporary academic literature, culminating in a substantial consideration of research that identifies and/or enacts new stage(s) or movements of consciousness. In particular, I highlight the extensive adult developmental psychology research that identifies several stages of postformal thinking, and recent critical, ecological and philosophical literature that identifies an emerging planetary consciousness. In summary, my research reveals an interpretation of scientific and other evidence that points beyond the formal, modernist worldview to an emerging postformal-integral-planetary consciousness. I posit that a broader academic consideration of such an integration of integral theoretic narratives could potentially broaden the general evolution discourse beyond its current biological bias. The article concludes with a rewinding of narrative threads, reflecting on the narrators, the journey, and the language of the discourse. Appendixes A and B explore the theoretical implications of the emergence of postformal-integral-planetary consciousness for a reframing of modernist conceptions of time and space. Appendix C holds an aesthetic lens to the evolution of consciousness through examples from the genealogy of writing.

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Towards an Integral Critical Theory of the Present Age

Martin Beck Matuštík

Abstract: A new model of a critical theory that is integral is introduced. It adds a seventh stage to a six-stage model of critical theory. Building on the model’s predecessors, from Kant, Hegel, and Marx to Habermas and Wilber, this proposal is a three-pronged model of material, socio-political, and spiritual critique of the present age. Each dimension is non-reducible to the other. The current model echoes the attempts to bridge social and existential perspectives by early Marcuse and Sartre, and the author’s prior work that did this for Habermas and Kierkegaard. This model of an integral critical theory introduces a self-transformational axis, the integer or witness-self, complementing transversally the vertical stages and horizontal states of consciousness.

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Integral Re-views Postmodernism: The Way Out Is Through

Gary P. Hampson

Abstract: In this article I re-evaluate the potential contribution of postmodernism to integral theory via integrally-derived perspectives. I identify a premature foreclosure: the underappreciation of postformal modes of thinking (cognitive development beyond Piaget’s formal operations). I then enact certain forms of postformal reasoning in relation to integral theory. This includes an engagement with such perspectives as complexity theory, conceptual ecology, vision-logic, dialectics, genealogy, critical theory, and construct-awareness. A major theme concerns the dialectical relationship between reconstruction and deconstruction—partly explored through a developmental assessment of contra-indicative discourse by both Wilber and Derrida. Although the territory is complex, the relationship between current Wilberian theory and postmodernism is clearly problematised. I posit that a deeper engagement with postmodernism can lead to an autopoietic deepening of integral theory.

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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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