Global Knowledge Futures

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Jennifer Gidley:

"Building on the evolution of consciousness literature my notion of global knowledge futures be clearly distinguished from the hyper modernist notion of the global knowledge economy. The cultural pluralism implied in my notion of global, and the ideological diversity in my notion of futures, fold back into the term knowledge, enriching it and opening it up to insights from the leading-edge discourses:

Arising from my evolution of consciousness research I became aware of the significance of several discourses that either identify and/ or enact new stages/ structures/ movements of consciousness. Each of these discourses has a complex inter-relationship with a mode of thinking or way of knowing that bears its name. I will briefly discuss what I mean by each field of study — postformal, integral, global/ planetary and futures—and then articulate in more detail the way of knowing that I see as being identified and/or enacted in each field.

By postformal studies I am referring to

1) the theoretical and empirical research undertaken by positive adult developmental psychologists who identify one or more stages of reasoning beyond Piaget’s formal operations. They use the term postformal reasoning to refer to these higher forms of cognitive and psychological development;

2) the educational research building on critical theory and postmodernism which is referred to as post-formal education or post-formality; and

3) my own transdisciplinary postformal approach in which I bring these two discourses together via the term “postformal pedagogies”, build conceptual bridges between postformal reasoning and other avant-garde approaches, that enact postformal reasoning.

By integral studies I include the various discourses that explicitly refer to their theoretical approaches as integral (Aurobindo, 1914/2000; Gebser, 1949/1985; László, 2007; Wilber,2000b) and also those that can be regarded as integral according to the integrality of their approaches (Morin, 2001; Nicolescu, 2002; Steiner, 1926/1966). The first group explicitly identifies integrality and to greater and lesser degrees also enacts it. The second group — while not so explicit about the term—enact integrality.

By global/planetary studies I refer to the emerging discourses that use the term planetary inthe following contexts: critical environmental (biosphere), transcultural (anthropo-socio-sphere), philosophical (noosphere) and spiritual interests (pneumatosphere). I also include the political science and international relations literature that points to the shift from nationalistic to transnational and planetary/ global imaginaries (Gangadean, 2006a; Montuori, 1999; Swimme &Tucker, 2006).

By futures studies I refer to the transdisciplinary, transnational and multi-sectorial field, which includes thousands of academics and practitioners, globally. The field is diverse, including some who take an empirical and economistic stance, while I take a pluralistic approach to the field and propose below a new typological framing of its epistemological diversity."