Integral Theory and Transformation

INTEGRAL THEORY AND TRANSFORMATION

Posted on e-portfolio

In recent posts I noticed a growing discomfort related to possible future scenarios that would break through currently employed discourse. I would like to share some information I gathered over the past few days, as the result of a search that was no doubt prompted by some comments in the forums.

I believe one of the issues that emerged from the discussion is the search for something that would allow us to take a leap of faith and move beyond the current paradigmal thinking. (I like to call it Cartesian world view).

The second issue, directly related to our current course, is transformative learning.

I believe the two things can be looked at together. I spent hours on the web researching these issues, and eventually contacted several people working on transformation and Integral Theory. This is the great thing about the internet! As a result, I have now some initial information that gives more substance to my claim that there is more than just a dichotomous approach to today’s problems.

Here is a summary of some resources that I thought I’d share with you.

Transforming wholeness

INTEGRAL THEORY

Ken Wilber defines integral as:

“to integrate, to bring together, to join, to link, to embrace. Not in the sense of uniformity, and not in the sense of ironing out all of the wonderful differences, colors, zigs and zags of a rainbow-hued humanity, but in the sense of unity-in-diversity, shared commonalities along with our wonderful differences.” (A Theory of Everything)

“The word integral means comprehensive, inclusive, non-marginalizing, embracing. Integral approaches to any field attempt to be exactly that: to include as many perspectives, styles, and methodologies as possible within a coherent view of the topic. In a certain sense, integral approaches are “meta-paradigms,” or ways to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching.”

You can explore Integral Theory at:

http://www.integralresearchcenter.org/sites/default/files/integraltheory_3-2-2009.pdf (paper)

http://www.integralresearchcenter.org/vision

http://www.integralresearchcenter.org/source

Integral Education

http://i-edu.org/articles-resources.php very comprehensive collection of articles

http://i-edu.org/Articles/Integral-Education-Esbjorn-Hargens.pdf

MACROSHIFT

If you are interested in learning more about Dr Ervin Laszlo’s Macroshift check out the suggested links:

http://www.worldshiftnetwork.org/home/index.html

http://www.clubofbudapest.org/

http://www.wie.org/bios/ervin-laszlo.asp

DIALOGUE

I believe that learning and dialogue may be key tools in such paradigm shift. For now, we are still dealing with a world premised on the industrialization era where people in general are reluctant to move into uncharted land, and instead prefer to linger on whatever we have, in spite of its obvious failures.

As Richard Evanoff writes in an interesting paper on Intercultural Dialogue and Education,” “From the point of view of intercultural education the alternative model of development advocates democratizing the decision-making process in a way that fully takes the interests and concerns of non-elites into consideration.”

Evanoff, R. (2001) Discussion Paper on intercultural dialogue and education. UNU – United Nations University Accessed on September 2, 2009 at http://www.unu.edu/dialogue/papers/evanoff-s5.pdf

On dialogue:

http://www.transcultural-dialogue.com/documents/dialogue_process.pdf

TRANSFORMATION

On conflict transformation:

http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/transformation/

A Changing Worldview:

http://twm.co.nz/Harm_wldview.html

The Split between Spirit and Nature in Western Consciousness:

http://twm.co.nz/West_Consc.html#Western

Another scholar that addresses transformation in education is Mezirow, whom we encounter in our FLIP course.

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These are examples of wholistic, non-essentialist approaches. I hope it’s clear that I am sharing this information not in an attempt to proselytize, but just to provide some examples of a different thinking paradigm.

Best,

Oscar

IMAGINE!

IMAGINE!

Dear all,

Reading through these posts again gives me the impression that a certain degree of uncertainty about the future has simmered through our academic discussions. Many of our thoughts are about conflict that exists in society, and how that stems from forms of oppression and inequality across the board. In the end, I believe it’s going to be about finding ways to work together, Here are some inspiring words:


EIL

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge –
That myth is more potent than history,
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts –
That hope always triumphs over experience –
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

Robert Fulghum from http://www.robertfulghum.com/

The following is part of an interesting webpage that you can read by clicking on: Envisioning

If you like audio files, here is one from a long discussion about the Maire Dugan’s dialogue and envisioning workshops. Most involved people of different cultures and/or races, although the techniques apply in many other situations as well.

http://www.beyondintractability.org/sound-intro/dugan-m-2-dialogue.m3u

Safe travelles!

Oscar

GLL – Swedish Study Circles

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: on Larsson’s Study Circles

TOPICS: local global learning, development, Transformation, Adult Education

Step 4 – Part 1: Adult education/learning in civil society organisations and social movements

Keywords: Study circles, Sweden, civil society, democracy, pluralistic citizenship

Link to blog

Link to forum Link to Forum 2

Larsson, S. (2001) Study Circles as Democratic Utopia: A Swedish Perspective, in Bron, A.&  Schemmann, M. (eds) 2001 Civil Society, Citizenship and Learning. Bochum Studies in International Adult Education, vol. 2. Transaction Publishers, USA/UK

ARTICLE SUMMARY

In this article Larsson presents the case of the Study Circles as “a mass-phenomenon in contemporary Sweden.” (p. 1) Study Circles refer to both the content and the educational framework within which learning occurs.

Since the foundation of the first study circles association in 1912, Study Circles in Sweden were understood as a means to the advancement of education from the bottom up. Unlike traditional education, they were based on the following “grammar” derived from democratic principles of egalitarian participation:

“1) There are no examinations or merits to be gained; 2) Participation is voluntary; 3) One operates with the expectation of a limited number of persons in a circle, normally somewhere between 5 – 19 persons; 4) Time is often treated in a different way from ordinary schools – often study circles will meet for 3 hours once a week with a break in the middle. A study circle will often consist of 10 to fifteen of such meanings; 5) A circle will have a leader, who does not have to be an expert – it can be one of the participants. On the other hand, there are often experts acting as leaders.” (p. 2)

Study Circles have focussed on learning activities that would strengthen people’s active participation in democratic society by offering a plethora of topics that would represent diverse world views.

Historically, Study Circles underwent a transmutation.

Originally, their activities were entwined with the civil society movements that were the driving force behind the popular participation in the circles. In fact, “participation in study circles during the first half of the century was often part of a relatively strong, sometimes class based, relation to a specific movement.” (p. 3) From that perspective, study circles were “in sharp opposition to state and market.” (p.3)

In the course of the twentieth century, however, with the weakening of popular movements and the corresponding emerging of institutions of representative democracy within the state, Study Circles lost their relevance as loci of political activism.

Compared with the limiting effect that states exercise elsewhere on education, the role of the state in the Swedish Study Circles is ambivalent. In Sweden the state provides financial support to the study circles without imposing limits to their mission.

In discussing Study Circles, Larsson examines their relevance for and impact on today’s adult learning education in Sweden. He recognizes the loss of importance experienced by civil society movements over the last century, partly due to the emergence of a globalized society and what that entails. It seems that “the power and the possibilities of the civil society have been reduced, since there is less that is decided upon through democratic decision-making in the society as a whole.” (p.15)

This has led to a shift of focus in the activities of Study Circles. They went from being the educational arm of class-based social movements to being more and more involved with the pursuit of learning at the personal level. The effect on civil society and the state institutions is not to be found anymore in the action taken by the related popular movements, but in the small-scale influence that individuals may exert in their private political spheres.

The core pillar in the Swedish Study Circles still clearly rests on Oscar Olsson’s original view of “education for and through the people.” (p.12) He is considered the father of the study circles. In spite of their changing role, Study Circles are therefore still based on the promotion of equality, knowledge, active participation, democracy and diversity. These issues are by all means not clear cut and remain highly contested in the ways they may be achieved and by whom.

COMMENTS

Today’s function of Study Circles

Larsson recognizes how the function of Study Circles in relation to the State and Civil Society class-based movements has changed since their inception.  In particular, the promotion of action does not appear to be any longer the driving force behind Study Circles. Recognizing this loss of political traction reminds me of our discussions on Youngman and Freire with regard to the actuality of their views. I believe many of us have recognized the change in today’s context and conditions. Study Circles appear to have been highly adaptive to such changes.

Consequently, they reflect the shift from a context dominated by popular movements to one that values participation as “individual and private rather than something that is supporting the influence and power of a civil society versus other societal powers.” (p.13) Maybe one could argue that Study Circles were never meant to be the tools for political actions. In fact, even in the past, political action was the domain of social movements. What has changed is the intensity of how the learning activities developed in Study Circles would transfer to political action.

Diversity

With regard to diversity, Larsson emphasizes how Study Circles have provided an arena for the production of new identities, concluding that “the study circle tradition provides a system that is very much adapted to support diversity. We can also note that this is not only a potential but it is in fact used in practice as a place to produce and reproduce diverse identities.” (p.11) I find this specific point very important to our course and the relevant discussion on glocal education. I believe the relational nature of Study Circles provides a fertile ground for dialogue that would consider diverse narratives and discourses. That could be the prelude to the emergence of a transformative and then enactivist perspective and possibly a new holistic cultural paradigm based on Third-Culture building practices.

Global citizenship, European model.

I find Larsson’s article refreshing in its affirmation of the concept of “pluralistic citizenship.” (cited from Johnson, 1999) It reflects current approaches to people’s participation that transcend both Freire’s and Youngman’s class-based thinking. Of course, I recognize that his views are rooted in the Scandinavian tradition, quite different from the contexts discussed by the other authors. Nevertheless, his vocabulary is suitable for a comprehensive discussion of transformative education that relates to the changed landscape of the new millennium. I am saying this not because Freire’s observation on inequality and oppressions do not have merit nowadays, but because I believe we have now gained deeper, systemic insights into the relevant issues.

In Larsson’s words, the alternative to a traditional, juxtaposed idea of democracy

“will be a view, where there is no universal truth or ‘correct’ decision, but rather that democracy is about peaceful solutions of conflicting interests and world-views, in other words, negotiations and compromises between a multitude of groups in the population who have elected representatives. Possibilities to develop a diversity of opinions and form organisations based on this diversity become a prerequisite for such democracy” that would” embrace diversity and cultural pluralism.” (p. 9)

This will also entail politics of mutual recognition.

As an example of this kind of societal transformation, I would like to bring up the case of a EUROPA as outlined at http://www.euroalter.com/about-logo/ and http://www.euroalter.com/about/ . The language used in these web pages is consistent with Larsson’s findings and – in my view – also with the Cape Learning Region as conceptualized by Walters.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cohen, J. L., & Arato, A. (1995). Civil society and political theory. Studies in contemporary German social thought. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.]: MIT Press.

Larsson accept the definition of civil society given by Cohen and Arato. They believe that “social movements constitute the dynamic element in processes that might realize the positive potentials of modern civil societies.” Check this for more on Cohen and Arato: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/jbmurray/research/jbm_ayacucho.pdf

DISCUSSION

>>>>>

MARIE WROTE:

He does not mention the potential of the Internet as an opposite force to this, similar in a sense to study circles, but on a global scale.  I would argue that wikis, blogs, social networks, the diversity of web pages (self-promotional, knowledge-based, and otherwise) made available through the Internet offer similar eclectic, self-initiated, and non-hierarchical options to informal adult learning.  Because these go well beyond geographical state borders, are divorced from physical or locally situated constraints, they open up diverse knowledge building, and a kind of equality that restricts membership based on technological access alone. It remains to be seen whether this medium will reinforce collective participation in self governance or merely further fragmentation of local civil societies.

Hi Marie!

Thank you so much for your eloquent post. I found it meaningful, easy to read and well-written.

Here are some comments on the issue of changing educational venues.  On reading Larsson, I had this picture of a Swedish landscape scattered with small, self-contained communities, where people gather in cosy buildings with a very warm atmosphere to work on their social networking and personal adult education advancement. It is a comforting image, one that may reveal an aspect of Swedish society that may be hard to find in places outside Scandinavia. It is an image that may look quintessentially Swedish, and by extent is more familiar and palatable to Europeans, especially Northern Europeans, than to people in South Africa. I may be wrong, but this image may still dominate the Swedes’ approach to their adult education extension programs such as the Study Circles, because it is “culturally appropriate”, situated in the Nordic tradition. This may be a reason why immigrants are underrepresented in such context. As you point out, IT education opportunities are nowadays available. I wonder if they would satisfy the need for personal interaction sought after by the aging Swedish population. That would be the topic for another research project.

What is important here in terms of glocal education – I think – is to imagine. Let’s imagine how the learning spirit typical of study circles would work elsewhere. For example, would it be relevant to the specific context of South Africa? And let’s imagine how learning approaches from other places would benefit the Swedish adult education environment. How would that affect society? Transformation in the global age is about new ways in which we can imagine a different world.

Oscar

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Kathy wrote:

dear oscar and Marie

just to add to your images of fireplaces and cosy rooms – the same organisation who is using Reflect in SA has been piloting a few study circles. They are working in the rural areas of the eastern cape in one of the poverty nodes of South Africa. so the study circles will be happening in in mud huts around a fireplace. People believe that in these areas, the original home of Nelson Mandela, Ubuntu still exists.

I guess the methodology of Reflect and a study circle would complement each other as both allow people a space to explore and develop; to work without an ‘expert’ towards transforming ones own community.

kathy

Dear Kathy and Marie,

The image of people gathering in mud huts to learn is very empowering. My stereotyped image of Sweden was actually more representative of the past. I am aware that things have changed a bit (-: . My point was that, for the Swedes, that image still holds power over the way democracy may be understood as belonging to the people. It’d be interesting to hear about this point from some of our cohorters in Scandinavia.

Kathy wrote: “to work without an ‘expert’ towards transforming ones own community.”

That reminds me of how David Bohm envisioned dialogue. On this, I’d like to share the following excerpt from Klenemas (2008), which I believe reinforces the philosophical approach of the Study Circles.

(emphasis added) “David Bohm sees equality of/among the participants as an important feature of dialogue. He says that this equality can be reached through a fair hearing of all parties involved. This demands of course also a certain degree of openness among the dialogue partners and that everyone has the chance to participate.

Bohm claims that hierarchical power structures would be counterproductive to the interaction. In his eyes, a discussion – in contrast to a dialogue – aims at a win-lose situation, where the parties “play” against (i.e. not with) each other. In a dialogue, on the other hand, people aim to reach a win-win situation.

To say it differently, dialogue is not about convincing or persuading the other. (This would mean that I know everything about my opinion, but nothing or little about the others’.) It is through listening carefully to each other without judging the others’ opinions that everyone can create the “same” stock of knowledge. Bohm is not saying that you should suppress your opinions and feelings. On the contrary, talking openly about facts and feelings is also important to reach what he calls “coherence of thought”. He stresses that if there is a coherence of meaning (or thought) the process and outcome will be much stronger and more effective. Let me sum up these three features of dialogue with David Bohm’s words:

‘How can you share if you are sure you have truth and the other fellow is sure he has truth, and the truths don’t agree? How can you share? Therefore, you have to watch out for the notion of truth. Dialogue may not be concerned with truth – it may arrive at truth, but it is concerned with meaning. If the meaning is incoherent you will never arrive at truth.’ (Bohm 1996: 15f)”

This approach brings Freire’s ideas on conscientization into focus by making it the individual’s responsibility to find coherence among a diversity of thoughts and meanings. For me, as I pointed out in another post (Link to forum ), this would be a supporting pillar for a new thinking paradigm.

Oscar

SOURCES CITED IN THIS POST:

Kleinemas Hanne (February 2008) Excuse me, is this the way to intercultural competence, in Coyote #13, Intercultural Dialogue, Council of Europe & European Commission Youth Partnership, Strasbourg, France. Accessed on September 2, 2009 at http://youth-partnership.coe.int/youth-partnership/documents/Publications/Coyote/13/Coyote13.pdf

Bohm, D.(1996): On Dialogue. Reprint 2006. London/New York: Routledge Classics.

>>>>>>> cultural essentialist view<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Thank you Annika for your comments as an insider. They play well into the etic vs. emic debate. (The “emic and etic” perspective is used in anthropology and cross-cultural counseling.)

Interestingly, you confirm the lower participation of immigrants in the Swedish Study Circles, which in turn may highlight the Nordic nature of such particular approach to adult education and the difficulty in transcending its original cultural imprint. This is a good example how complex issues of glocal education are, highlighting the difficulty of applying ideas across cultural differences. With regard to Study Circles, hat many view as a well-organized approach may feel and look to others – e.g. immigrants, broadly generalizing – as constrictive and at odds with their own ideas of learning. At the beginning, in Sweden it was assumed that Study Circles would work well to address local adult education needs. It was a system that was culturally appropriate and responding to Swedish minds. Extending the system to “outsiders” may be tricky, as it may reveal that not everyone agrees on the original assumption.

On this particular point, I would like to write some considerations. Larsson says that, “Even though there was a strong tendency to celebrate scientific knowledge at the time, study circles gave in fact space for diverse world-views. In that sense pluralism was in fact supported in worldviews by the organisational structure of independent study associations with different ideological connections.” (p. 2) He continues with several examples of what this diversity of world views is about. His thinking betrays a basic essentialist view of diversity, one that is necessarily limited – at least at the beginning – to diversity as perceived within Swedish society, and therefore mostly relevant to aspects of Swedish civil society. Even when he mentions issues of globalization, he considers them from a Nordic perspective.

It would be interesting to know if non-autochthonous variations of diversity now exist along Larsson’s examples of diversity as cited in his paper, and how these levels interact.

Oscar

GLL – on Transformation

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Freire

TOPICS: local global learning, development, Transformation, Adult Education

Step 3 – Part 1: Critical Consciousness

Keywords: Critical Consciousness, Freire, Laszlo, Macroshift,  Merirow, Youngman, enactivist orientation, transformational orientation,

Link to webpage

Link to blog

Link to forum Link to Forum 2

Why is critical consciousness a necessary dimension of transformative adult education

Hi there!

Although our thoughts across the many forums may at times sound  redundant (mine included). I would like to add some “old” ideas that i had previously posted on Our Samarbeta discussion on Youngman , which already dealt with issues of transformation.  I am a bit hesitant to re-introduce these thoughts but I am doing that as I believe it is relevant to this particular forum, also considering that the audience has changed.

Here is a summary of what I believe TRANSFORMATION in Adult Education may be.

I suggest two levels of transformation: 1) personal/local, and 2) local/global. Not everyone and not every context may necessarily become part of either transformation process.

1) TRANSFORMATION AT THE LOCAL/PERSONAL LEVEL (a.k.a. personal growth)

Constructivist progressive orientation

I believe that in this perspective the “educator helps link disparate experiences into a coherent whole.” (Dewey cited in Fenwick, p.3)   Learners are made aware of the level of responsibility required for their educational path. They engage in problem-solving activities to become successful in their chosen fields. The teacher acts as a guide and promoter of critical change geared at reforming and redressing system imbalances through a process of understanding civil responsibility and issues of active citizenship.

2) AT THE LOCAL/GLOBAL LEVEL

This level is more relevant for our discussion. It incorporates the personal growth of the previous step and takes it to a higher level.

At this stage an educator may engage in the following practices:

  • Promoting the discussion of complex and “delicate” intercultural issues
  • Promoting awareness and recognition of issues of – among others – governmentability, self-subjugation, oppression, and discrimination.
  • Promoting awareness, recognition and critique of socially-relevant dimensions, including cultural assumptions. (Intercultural dimension)

I believe that this level, which has a strong political accent, may be approached in different ways, or even a combination of ways. Contextualizing and framing conditions of oppression and inequality is a prerequisite to adopting the most effective approach to global transformation. The role of the state, civil society, stakeholders, and other actors is a defining factor at this complex level of transformation. I have the feeling that most of the actions premised on transformation combine one or more of the following approaches.

Constructivist radical orientation

Here the teacher acts as a promoter of conscience and an external force that can empower students and facilitate social transformation. Freire’s pedagogy of conscientization seems to move in this direction, beyond the stiffness and the oppressing dictates of banking education. However, his ideas – as many of us have realized – are based on a set of dichotomous axioms that may not agree with changed conditions and discourses on transformative education of our time.

I also believe it’s important, for example in the case of South Africa, to consider the intercultural dimension. I believe that a radical approach would be very suitable to examine, discuss, and challenge cultural discourses, assumptions, issues of cultural representations and otherization, and personal narratives. Ultimately, a radical orientation could be more effective at uncovering and possibly overcoming issues of oppression, cultural relativism and essentialism, and eventually at addressing the imbalances that are still part of our social and educational models.

However, this approach may entail possibilities for culture clashes and it may be of difficult application within the dominant world view, given the level of psychological and cultural embeddedness of current educational paradigms and relevant social frameworks and discourses. That’s when dialogue comes in, as a means and context for critical consciousness (awareness would be another word that comes to mind) building.

Constructivist transformational orientation

Here the teacher acts as a promoter of transformation processes. According to Merizow (1991), this approach leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.” by “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them.” (Fenwick, 2001, p. 13)

This orientation is suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection, as suggested by Freire. However, one has to recognize that not everyone is interested in shifting perspective, or capable of reflecting cognitively, in which cases this approach may feel to some like a piloted operation.

From a practical point of view, I believe intercultural dialogic communication as envisioned by intercultural thinkers such as David Bohm, Martin Buber, Fred Casmir, Muneo Yoshikawa and many others belongs within this perspective. It aims at the development of a high level of dialogue competence that can benefit intercultural understanding. (Matoba, 2002, p. 143)

Enactivist orientation

This perspective promotes a new paradigm of learning derived from whole systems thinking. It transcends the confinements of the established world view and its embedded traditional education practices. The educator is viewed as a communicator, story-maker, and interpreter. (Fenwick, 2001, p. 49)

This entails an investigative, open-ended approach to learning that is not separate from teaching. The language used in this perspective is conducive to understanding relations between systems, including the interplay between actors and issues in the education universe. This presides over the co-emergence of an interrelated pattern, in which “each participant’s understandings are entwined with those of other participants, and individual knowledge co-emerges with collective knowledge.” (Fenwick, 2001, p. 49)

Since this approach is linked to the broader, global perspective of whole systems thinking, it allows one to relate her/his professional practice to the emergence of a new thinking paradigm, which I consider central to the role of an educator.

Enactivist educators “can provide feedback loops to a system as it experiments with different patterns leading out from disequilibrium.” (Fenwick, 2001, p.50) This resonates with views of a paradigmal change such as those presented by Dr. Ervin Laszlo, founder of The Club of Budapest, in his work on macroshifts. (Laszlo, 2001)

This perspective, however, may be of difficult application under today’s established educational circumstances, as it requires reframing current paradigms, discourses, and world views. But this is exactly the challenge of transformative education, which is experimental, forward and critical thinking. Freire certainly caught the essence of the imbalances that affect our societies (then, and today). The question for us, I believe, is to incorporate his ideas into the changing context of the third millennium.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

Laszlo, E. (2001). Macroshift: Navigating the transformation to a sustainable world. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler

Matoba, K. (2002) “Dialogue Process as Communication Training for Multicultural Organizations” in Bohnet-Joschko, S. (2002). Socially responsible management:

Mezirow, J. (1991) Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

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Zelda Writes:

Dear All

I have read Oscar’s additonal posting.  Thanks so much.  I have asked this question previously, and am asking it again.  What do Mezirow and Youngman propose to change, through transformative adult education (Youngman) and transformative learning (Mezirow)?  is it the same?

Zelda

Hi Zelda,

Sorry for not answering those questions earlier. Here are my thoughts in that regard.

Youngman: his idea of transformative adult education stems from a political analysis of issues of oppression, ultimately from a perspective derived from political economy. He views transformation through adult education as a collective process through which people (the “masses” as Freire would have said) are able to conquer issues of social inequality, disenfranchment, marginalization, discrimination, etc. To a lesser degree than Freire’s theory of conscientization, Youngmans displays a dichotomous perspective that is still heavily influenced by the juxtaposition of capitalist and Marxist class views of a political economy, even though he has come to include many aspects of social issues that cannot be examined from a traditional class perspective. (Feminism, environmentalism, etc) His thinking is the product of 19th and 20th centuries political economy discourses.

Merirow: The core of his transformative learning is the individual learners’ ability to construe, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experience. The emphasis is on “perspective transformation” as a means to promote personal growth and, eventually influence the emergence of a new society. Rather than a society based on Youngman’s dichotomous views, Merirow envisions a society that would display the traits of a Third-Culture, where the new is not just a better version of the old, but is instead a transformed thinking paradigm. Merirow’s transformative learning is dialectic, suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection (it leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world” by “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them”); (p. 13)

“Others’ views can act as mirrors for our own views, opening dialectic, helping us “unfreeze” our “meaning perspectives” (Mezirow 1991) and assumptions.  This is very different from Youngman’s exclusion of juxtaposed views. In Merirow’s case we confront and challenge the taken-for-granted norms— what’s wrong with how I am seeing what happened and how it happened?—leading to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.

To summarize, I believe that Youngman’s views on transformation are driven by political discourses and focus on social issues from a political economy perspective. Merirow instead views transformation as an individual process of growth derived from self-reflection and a dialectical approach with the other that will eventually transcend individual differences and give raise to something new akin to a Third-Culture. In this regard, Merirow’s theory is undoubtedly systems-based.

Best,

Oscar

USEFUL LINKS:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Mezirows-Transformational-Learning-Theory&id=937072

http://www.ericdigests.org/1999-2/adulthood.htm

>>>>>>

GLORIA wrote:     link to forum

While oppression remains, so Freire’s ideas remain relevant and more sophisticated, complex or modern concepts serve only to cover up the basics – poverty, inequality, exploitation etc.

Hi Gloria,

Thank you for adding some additional thoughts. Your posts are always interesting.

I’d like to comment on the above, as I am not sure I can agree with you on that hundred per cent. You are absolutely right that the issues remain the same, taking us all back to the overarching role of power in our societies.

During the past century we witnessed a ping pong game between Marxism and Capitalism. They were just two sides of the same coin: they shared the same basic world view. When I consider other options is mainly because such dichotomous game didn’t really change much for marginalized people. It even created additional marginalization and oppression that are more difficult to be detected, as they are so much based on the victims’ “willing” co-operation. (Consumerism, to support the socialist or the capitalist economies, is all about “free” participation.)

I certainly agree that mere philosophical speculations on alternative solutions are not going to feed the starving masses, nor are they going to “solve” anything per se’. I believe, however, that we need to move beyond the Cartesian discourses that have dominated the scene since the age of the Enlightenment. If we don’t do that, we remain stuck.

Oscar

GLL – The Intercultural dimension – Third Culture Building

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning, development, South Africa, Adult Education, Intercultural Communication, Transformation, Third-Culture, Hybridity, Integration.

Step 2 – Part 3: Adult Education, Development and Transformation: South African case study

Link to blog

Link to forum

Link to General Discussion Forum (Cafe)

Hello everyone!

In this post I would like to take a critical stand towards Walters’ article.

It seems to me that – aside from a generic “lip service” reference to the importance of culture for civil society and adult learning approaches – she fails to address the cross-cultural and multilingual dimension of South African society. I have noticed such absence also in the other readings presented in this course.

That is of course a complex issue that would require, especially in the case of South Africa, attentive and systemic analysis. Nevertheless, I believe that a comprehensive discussion on adult learning in South Africa should not hide the fact that South Africa is a multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic society and that the dynamics of communication in such complex web of cultures greatly affect any kind of cooperative efforts and dialogue.

The composite intercultural make-up of South African society is by no mean a marginal factor in decisional policies on adult education and learning. In fact, I like to see it as the platform on which any workable project can be built on.

The Intercultural Communication dimension of education and development in South Africa is premised first of all on the actual cultural and language variations found in the population, but it is also stressed in the broader discourse on globalization, education, and development.

As Richard Evanoff writes in an interesting paper on Intercultural Dialogue and Education,” “From the point of view of intercultural education the alternative model of development advocates democratizing the decision-making process in a way that fully takes the interests and concerns of non-elites into consideration.”

Walters, like the other authors reviewed so far, very often use terms like transformation, dialogue, and communication without taking a closer look at these concepts. I realize that a discussion on this topic would be complex and long, thus I want to end this post with the following statement.

Elaborating, defining and enacting new workable and effective policies for Adult Learning in South Africa is a somewhat Herculean task. I believe that a process of transformation will need to take place, based on dialogue and respectful/effective intercultural communication. In that regard, we will need to first define what kind of transformation we are striving towards, which also means that we need to be up front about what kind of society we are envisioning, given the richness of cultures and languages co-existing in South Africa. Processes of society-building in such complex intercultural context will need to clarify what kind of transformation will develop in South Africa and towards what model the country is moving, e.g. integration, thirdculture building, or hybridity. (Each of these terms means a different future scenario).

The following is an example, extrapolated from Evanoff’s article (2001)

“When dialogue between people from different cultures begins, we can also speak of an integrated “third culture” perspective in sociological terms. When third-culture individuals from different cultures (i.e., individuals who have integrated aspects of the other culture into their own personal psychology) begin working together with each other, they may evolve entirely new ways of doing things.”

The road ahead is wide open.

Oscar

Kathy wrote:

thank you for bringing to our attention the idea of a third culture – how would you compare this to ‘ a community of practice’ ?

Hi Kathy,

You are raising a very interesting question that would require time to be properly addressed.

Briefly, the “third-culture” model I was referring to was presented by Fred Casmir (1993) in Third-culture building: A paradigm shift for international and intercultural communication. Communication Yearbook. 16, 407-428.

There is by now a lot of literature available on Third-culture building, which would make it hard for me to even try to squeeze it into a post. An interesting summary is available at:

http://marketing.byu.edu/htmlpages/ccrs/proceedings05/venable-subanthore.doc

In general, I agree with Casmir, although I believe that local governments – as evidenced in Walters’ article and Marie’s post – may be in a position to promote a third-culture approach.

Casmir views are similar to those promoted in their scholarly work by Young Yun Kim, Brent Ruben, Peter Adler, Muneo Jay Yoshikawa, Richard Evanoff, David Bohm, Alexander Langer, and Getinet Belay (to cite just a few) in their extensive work on Intercultural transformation, identity, multicultural identity,  intercultural identity, transformation, building bridges, interplay of local and global dimensions, systems thinking. Theirs writings seem to be all informed by a General System perspective that allows for flexibility and recognizes that

“human beings are equipped with the capacity to maintain an overall integrity despite the continual instability, and that such systemic integrity is possible because of an open system’s capacity to evolve, that is, to develop new forms of relating to a given milieu.” (Young Yun Kim, Beyond Cultural Identity, Intercultural Communication Studies IV:1 1994)

It is indeed a fascinating work in progress!

This line of scholarly work is linked to the broader discourse on Intercultural dialogue (which would also require more time for a meaningful discussion), which I have addressed in other parts of this course.

As for the link between third-culture building and “communities of practice” (as in Wenger), here are my thoughts. From my reading of Wenger’s participation perspective and communities of practice, even considering the merits and the systems view of her perspective, it seems to me that it lacks the necessary recognition of intercultural factors that is central to the development of a third-culture approach. Wenger rarely consider intercultural dynamics, which seems to make her approach not easily adopted in a multicultural contested context like South Africa. Compared to Wenger’s overly codified model, I believe that dialogue applied to a third-culture perspective would offer a much more flexible and effective approach to issues of local/global education.

GLORIA wrote:

I think we have evolved a third culture of sorts.  What is not evident in our thinking and articulation yet, is the recognition and value afforded those attributes that have come from cultural traditions that are still marginalised in the realms of power – politics, formal education, economic/business

Gloria,

Thank you so much for your comments on Third Culture (TC) and how the concept seems to have found resonance within NZ. I believe the reason why I am interested in exploring it more is twofold: firstly, it seems it applies also to my home region, and secondly, it relates to the wider spectrum of inter and cross-cultural communication experiences. (international sojourners, immigrants, international students, international workers…). Basically, it embraces both a personal and a social dimension, which I find truly fascinating, as it links personal experience to the local/global contexts of our planetary society.

Today I did some reading up on third-culture building to better understand its applicability to the specific South African scenario. It seems that your comments on its coming short on the examination of power issues are right on target. And although TC presents itself as an opportunity for the emergence of a societal and cultural transformation, it isn’t clear how it deals with those who resist such evolutionary process. Some view TC as being in opposition to the more emic idea of multiculturalism.

I believe that the two perspectives need not be in opposition or even self exclusive. There is room for a combined productive co-existence. For me, the key to the success of TC building processes is summarized by the word synergy, which can be loosely defined as “the relational interdependence” that constitutes the building block of TC development. (Robert Shuter, On Third-Culture Building, 1993) I also believe that such synergistic approach should be based on a shared vision of a new emerging paradigm, a vision not enforced from the top down. Casmir called it an approach “from the bottom up,” which resonates with Walters’ “connect up” model.

Like the old SBS Australia spot once said: The world is an amazing place!

Best to all of you folks!

Anita wrote:

My children, and those of my peers, are far, far beyond multiculturalism. I truly think they are forging some sort of third culture in this social crucible they find themsleves it.  Unlike multiculturalism, this is not planned, encouraged, or government policy; it is simply people adapting to their environments, and creating new ways of being as a result.  This is a profound change and it is not being documented as well as it might be, I think because there is still a societal tendency to view it through the limiting lens of multiculturalism.

Anita,

Your conclusion really points at the essence of the multicultural vs. TCB dichotomy. And, as I wrote in my previous post, the two phenomena apparently co-exist side by side, maybe symbolizing a generational transition to a paradigm shift in the way cultures will intersect and possibly evolve in the future. (a future that, like in your example, has already begun).

In his article cited in a previous post, Evanoff (2001) suggests an advanced stage of intercultural development, which results from a process of cultural transformation. He calls this stage a “generative” stage “in which entirely new forms of culture are creatively produced.”

Evanoff expands on Milton Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), which I discussed in previous courses and presented in a group paper posted at https://www.itslearning.com/liu/oscarvallazza/Essays/AdultLearning/. It was also mentioned in a discussion thread in Itslearning.

By going beyond Bennett’s Model, Evanoff suggests that, in a globalized society of co-existing cultural perspectives and traditions,

“ The goal is not simply to say which of the existing cultural pies is best (ethnocentricism) nor to simply say that each of the pies is equally delicious on its own terms (ethnorelativism), but to make a better and different pie. The generative stage provides for the possibility of both personal and social transformation. Not all of the new options we are able to generate will be of equal value (some may be flops, others unworkable), but there is nonetheless a need for ongoing experimentation.”

Evanoff provides with a hopeful, holistic approach to intercultural understanding, one that will transcend the confinements of “tolerance” and emerge into a new stage of human co-operation.

Oscar

what Robert Wickert wrote in his article Acculturation and Intercultural Identity in the Post-Modern World

“Casmir makes the profoundly valid observation that the modern state has proven itself ineffective in dealing with intercultural and interethnic problems” (Belay, 1993). His alternative to the existing model takes the form of a proposal that compares the conventional social scientific paradigm to the functional needs of people, organizations, and states. He argues that the conventional paradigm is focused on domination not cooperation, but the use of domination as the primary measure of success is inconsistent with the needs of people, organizations, and states. The domination paradigm is consistent with assimilation, not mutual acculturation of the host culture and the individual.

Casmir (1993) explains that the use of the domination model is based on the Western view of argument and rhetoric. Belay notes that “linear, one-sided models that are derived from Aristotelian logic constrain the analysis of intercultural communication” (Belay, 1993). This Western model of argument and dominance is even more absurd when one takes into account the fact that many of the intercultural communication episodes studied will certainly involve cultures where the Western view may not be held by either side of the conversation.

Casmir (1993) rejects the domination model and characterizes the third culture building process as the natural outgrowth of non-threatening cooperation. Dominance is not intended and should not result from the acculturation process. Consistent with Kim’s characterization of acculturation, where the individual becomes comfortable with the new society as the new society becomes comfortable with the individual as acculturation is accomplished; the third culture is built only when “the participants engage in an active, coordinated, mutually beneficial process of building a relationship” (Casmir, 1993). This mirrors Kim’s theory of acculturation, and her theory of development of an intercultural identity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ackoff, R., (1984) “On the Nature of Development and Planning”, in Korten, D. C., & Klauss, R., People-centered development: Contributions toward theory and planning frameworks. West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press

Bohm, D., & Nichol, L. (1996). On dialogue. London: Routledge

Casmir, F. (1993) in Third-culture building: A paradigm shift for international and intercultural communication. Communication Yearbook. 16, 407-428

Cologne Charter, Aims and Ambitions for Lifelong Learning (1999), adopted be the 25th G8 Summit in Cologne, Germany, 18-20 June Accessed on Sept. 5, 2009 at http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/1999koln/charter.htm

Evanoff, R. (2001) Discussion Paper on intercultural dialogue and education. UNU – United Nations University Accessed on September 2, 2009 at http://www.unu.edu/dialogue/papers/evanoff-s5.pdf

Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

Foucault, M. (1991) “Governmentality” In The Foucault Effect, edited by G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Mills, pp. 87-104. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. [New York]: Herder and Herder

Knowles, M. (1984) The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company

Korten, D. C., & Klauss, R. (1984). People-centered development: Contributions toward theory and planning frameworks. West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press.

Land, S. (2006). Barriers to education faced by educationally deprived adults in

Muthukrishna, N. (ed.) Mapping Barriers to Basic Education in the Context of HIV and AIDS: A Report on Research conducted in the Richmond District, KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg: School of Education and Development, University of Kwazulu Natal. http://www.ukzn.ac.za/sed/pdf/research/chapter1.pdf

Rostow, W. W. (1960). The stages of economic growth, A non-Communist manifesto. Cambridge [Eng.]: University Press.

Shuter, R. (1993). On third culture building. Communication Yearbook. 16, 429-436.

The Learning Cape, web page, accessed on Sept. 3, 2009

http://www.learningcape.org/page1/page1.html

Toffler, A. (1984) “Third Wave Development: Gandhi with Satellites,” in Korten, D. C., & Klauss, R., People-centered development: Contributions toward theory and planning frameworks. West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press

Toland, J. and Yoong, P. (ND) A Framework to Evaluate Learning Regions:

The ‘7-I’ Approach, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Accessed on Sept. 10, 2009 at www.araburban.net/files.php?file=Toland.pdf

Trainer, F. E. (1989). Developed to death: Rethinking Third World development. London: Green Print

UIE, UNESCO Institute for Education, (1998) The Mumbai Statement on Lifelong learning, Active Citizenship and the Reform of Higher Education. Hamburg

United Nations Development Programme- UNDP (2003). South Africa Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press. Accessed on August 19, 2009 at

http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nationalreports/africa/southafrica/south_africa_2003_en.pdf

Walters, S. (2006). Adult learning within lifelong learning: a different lens, a different light, Journal of Education, No. 39 Adult Education Special Focus Edition, Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal

Walters, S. (2005) Optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect: Building communities of trust in South Africa. The annual Q-Africa Conference at Gallagher Estate, 16-17 November 2005. Accessed on Sept 9, 2009 at http://www.saqa.org.za/docs/events/q_africa05/walters2.pdf

Woolcock, M. (1998). Social capital and economic development: Toward a theoretical synthesis and policy framework. THEORY AND SOCIETY. 27 (2), 151-208.

Young Yun Kim, Beyond Cultural Identity, Intercultural Communication Studies IV:1 1994

Youngman, F. (2000). Adult Education and Development Theory in The Political Economy of Adult Education & Development, (Chapter 4). London: Zed Press.

WEBLIOGRAPHY

On John Dewey

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/John_Dewey

Cologne Charter on Lifelong Learning

http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/1999koln/charter.htm

A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, EU Commission

http://www.bologna-berlin2003.de/pdf/MemorandumEng.pdf

The Learning Cape

http://www.learningcape.org/page1/page1.html

David Bohm: On Dialogue, On-line version: http://www.questia.com/read/103086838?title=Title%20Page#

Journal of Intercultural Communication, Goteborg universitet

http://www.immi.se/intercultural/

Pamala Morris’ Training Module on Building Cultural Competencies:

https://sharepoint.agriculture.purdue.edu/ces/iec/building.aspx

Milton Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS):

http://www.intercultural.org/idi_dmis.php

On Global Education:

http://www.globaled.org.nz/about/globaled/

Coyote #13, Intercultural Dialogue

http://youth-partnership.coe.int/youth-partnership/documents/Publications/Coyote/13/Coyote13.pdf

GLL – On learning and dialogue

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning

Step 1 – Part 1: on global/local learning

Link to blog

Link to forum

GLL: post: Reply to Gloria’s post

Hi Gloria,

Thank you for posting a comparative analysis of my scenario that inserted NZ into our interesting discussion.

I see how geographic isolation may influence contacts between NZ and other areas, which in turn may represent a wonderful opportunity for ICT to establish transnational connections. (For instance, I am a subscriber of http://www.globaled.org.nz/ , a good example of the NZ “reaching out” approach) Whereas in my home region people are still “caught up” in a web of entrenched and embedded ways and traditions, which requires huge mediation efforts to reach out to other cultures, in NZ and in similar “new” realities, such process of opening up has become part of the nation’s cultural DNA, with fewer concerns about retaining the old, and more freedom to integrate the new.

As for your comments on “introspection and self-reflection,” I certainly agree on the fact that those belonging to the dominant group have less of a need for critical thinking. However, that does not come to their advantage, as,  by avoiding a dialectical confrontation with the other, they miss out on opportunities for personal growth, and will eventually be left behind by evolving historical processes.

The costs of cultural transformation that, as you pointed out, have been borne by some and skipped by others, may be eventually considered within a different framework for social, economic, environmental, educational development. I believe that learning and dialogue may be key tools in such paradigm shift. For now, we are still dealing with a world premised on the industrialization era where people in general are reluctant to move into uncharted land, and instead prefer to linger on whatever we have, in spite of its obvious failures.

The concept of people-centred development relates well to the idea of learning as a way to change what has stopped working. I look fwd to exploring this topic more in depth.

GLL: On New Zealand

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning

Step 1 – Part 1: on global/local learning

Link to blog

Link to forum

GLL: post: Reply to Gloria’s post

Hi Gloria,

Thank you for posting a comparative analysis of my scenario that inserted NZ into our interesting discussion.

I see how geographic isolation may influence contacts between NZ and other areas, which in turn may represent a wonderful opportunity for ICT to establish transnational connections. (For instance, I am a subscriber of http://www.globaled.org.nz/ , a good example of the NZ “reaching out” approach) Whereas in my home region people are still “caught up” in a web of entrenched and embedded ways and traditions, which requires huge mediation efforts to reach out to other cultures, in NZ and in similar “new” realities, such process of opening up has become part of the nation’s cultural DNA, with fewer concerns about retaining the old, and more freedom to integrate the new.

As for your comments on “introspection and self-reflection,” I certainly agree on the fact that those belonging to the dominant group have less of a need for critical thinking. However, that does not come to their advantage, as,  by avoiding a dialectical confrontation with the other, they miss out on opportunities for personal growth, and will eventually be left behind by evolving historical processes.

The costs of cultural transformation that, as you pointed out, have been borne by some and skipped by others, may be eventually considered within a different framework for social, economic, environmental, educational development. I believe that learning and dialogue may be key tools in such paradigm shift. For now, we are still dealing with a world premised on the industrialization era where people in general are reluctant to move into uncharted land, and instead prefer to linger on whatever we have, in spite of its obvious failures.

The concept of people-centred development relates well to the idea of learning as a way to change what has stopped working. I look fwd to exploring this topic more in depth.

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