Traps and Opportunities of 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
1. Single framework of agreement: Believing that everyone can and should agree
on a single set of principles and guidelines, whether in the form of a charters,
declarations or pledges (and including this note).
2. Labelling inappropriateness: Believing that it is useful to label some
perspectives as wrong or inappropriate, especially in the absence of any sense of a global
3. Assumption of simplicity: Believing that the way forward is simple and that
any perceived complexity is the product of inappropriate understanding.
4. Avoidance of issues: Believing that unpleasant issues can be postponed or
treated as irrelevant.
5. Tokenism: Believing that it is only a media exercise and that people are not
increasingly impatient with expensive exercises in collective impotence.
6. Avoidance of interaction: Believing that symbolic processes are a substitute
for effective interaction.
7. Incorporation of disagreement: Believing that the diversity of positions does
not call for designing in healthy disagreement to maintain a pool of alternative
8. Marginalization: Believing that it is appropriate to marginalize bodies and
cultures representing alternative perspectives (whether by use of geographical distance,
procedural or linguistic devices).
9. Collective learning: Believing that collective learning, even at the highest
policy levels, is not vital to the emergence of more appropriate structures and processes.
10. Wishful thinking: Believing that it is sufficient to wish to be "on the
other bank of a river" and that the technical challenge of "bridge
construction" can be ignored.
11. Single-factor responses: Believing in the adequacy of the "one
answer", whether problem-specific, technocratic, spiritual, ethical, or based on
common sense, or on particular values.
12. Despair: Believing that no major breakthrough is possible, despite the
prevalence of short-termism, tokenism, opportunism, cynicism, and out-dated modes of