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Perspectives on Troubled Interactions:What Happened When a Small Group

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Author(s): Sara Ross

Journal: Integral Review
ISSN 1553-3069

Issue: 2;
Start page: 139;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: action inquiry | adult development | hierarchical complexity | perspectives | political culture | political development | transformative learning.

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