Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue
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of Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue: Collection of papers and notes, problems and possibilities on the new frontier of high-risk gatherings concerning social development
Although integrative skills may be successfully applied to a situation, their elusive
nature can be partially defined by the ways in which such skills may fail or be used to
1. Reduction in variety
A simple way to ease the integrative problem is to reduce the diversity of elements
present in the situation using an argument for standardization and against any "hodge
podge" mixture of elements. This of course eliminates some minority interests. In the
extreme case of destructive or "meltdown" synthesis, all variety is eliminated.
2. Reduction in quantity
By eliminating a significant number of the elements, the problem may also be eased. The
argument that can be used is that they are well-represented by the variety of elements
that remain and that any "proliferation" of elements is disorderly. In practice
this results in the absorption of some elements by others, such as in the case of minority
: Subtleties and nuances, possibly defended by specific minority groups, may be
ignored. Interconnecting webs of relations can be ignored.
Emphasis may be placed on the image or desirability of synthesis in order to conceal
inability to achieve any steps towards it.
5. Temporary synthesis
In a dynamic situation it may be possible to achieve some measure of integration in the
short-term by ignoring factors temporarily absent or only emerging over longer time
6. Coloured synthesis
A significant degree of synthesis may be achieved, but from a particular viewpoint or
in terms of a particular mode, approach or strategy. The narrowness of such a synthesis,
coloured by the perspective of those who achieve it, may be difficult to communicate
within the framework established by that synthesis.
7. Enforced synthesis
In some instances, as with a dynamic set of minority interests, a form of integration
may be imposed by constraining the dynamics (although without reducing the number or
variety of the elements).
8. Dogmatic synthesis
An impression of synthesis may be achieved by stating frequently and forcefully that it
has been achieved and thus eroding expectation that a greater degree of synthesis is
9. Laissez faire synthesis
By reinterpreting the nature of synthesis or integration, it may be deemed to exist
under any circumstances as the pattern of interaction amongst the elements. No
intervention is required, although if undertaken it would merely add to the pattern of
10. Agglomerative synthesis
Appropriate integration may be assumed to have been achieved simply by ensuring the
juxtaposition of the various elements or viewpoints. This corresponds to the use of the
prefix "multi" (eg in multidisciplinary). In books reflecting such a
multidisciplinary synthesis, it is the binding which provides the synthesis, given the
absence of any relationship between the constituent disciplinary chapters.
11. Comparative or cross-referential synthesis
Integration may be assumed to have been achieved by recording comparisons between the
perspectives or elements. This often corresponds to the use of the prefix
"cross" (eg in cross-cultural).
12. Cross-impact synthesis
Integration may be assumed to have been achieved by taking into account the constraints
and feedback loops emerging from other disciplinary perspectives. This may correspond to
use of the prefix "inter-" (eg in interdisciplinary). Note however that
it is only with the emergence of a new level of order that a synthesis breakthrough may be
said to have occurred (this may correspond to the use of the prefix "trans-" as