Axes of Bias in Inter-Sectoral Dialogue
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Prepared as a contextual statement (see others
on the occasion of the Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) for the International
Facilitating Committee for the Independent Sectors in the UNCED process (Geneva).
Portions of the text were published in the Encyclopedia
of World Problems and Human Potential
(1994-5, vol 2) and in the online
version of its commentaries (to which links below are made) shaping the global
network of local bargains by decoding and mapping Earth Summit inter-sectoral
issues. [IFCD51C ]
1. ORDER versus DISORDER
1a. Preference for order: Dialogue
should be orderly, based on an ordered array of sectoral statements and
arguments. Favoured by those defining the environment and development in an
1b. Preference for disorder: Inter-sectoral
dialogue must necessarily be chaotic and disorderly in order to be fruitful.
Favoured by those sectors recognizing that they are subject to more forces than
can be rationally presented.
2. STATIC versus DYNAMIC
2a. Preference for static: Inter-sectoral
dialogue can be viewed as forming a static, semi-permanent configuration of
sectoral positions. Favoured by agencies mandated to respond to particular
problems over an extended period of time.
2b. Preference for dynamic: Dialogue can
only be understood as a dynamic, shifting relationship between sectors.
Favoured by those preoccupied by short-term considerations.
3. DISCRETE versus CONTINUOUS
3a. Preference for discrete: Sectors and
issues are both viewed during dialogue as distingished by clear boundaries.
Favoured by those who need to distinguish and allocate responsibilities.
3b. Preference for continuous: Sectors and
issues are both viewed as forming a continuous, possibly "seamless",
field of tensions during dialogue. Possibly favoured by those recognizing
pervasive fields of tensions, conspiracy theories, and negative forces.
4. EXTERNAL versus IDENTIFICATION
4a. Preference for external relationship
to phenomena: Sectors and issues viewed as externalities, namely objects of
experience to be experienced from without during the dialogue process. Basic to
the strategic assumptions of many international programmes.
4b. Preference for identification with
phenomena: Sectoral issues can only be genuinely comprehensible through an
intitive identification with the experience they constitute, especially during
the dialogue process. Favoured by those whose views have been strongly
influenced by personal experience of suffering.
5. SHARPLY versus IMPLICITLY DEFINED
5a. Preference for sharply defined
phenomena: Sectoral issues viewed as directly experiencable. Favoured by those
responding to problems seen as concrete realities as opposed to unreal
5b. Preference for implictly defined
phenomena: Sectoral preoccupations viewed as implying levels of significance
greater than are immediately obvious. Favoured by those who detect more
fundamental problems in issues which may not otherwise appear problematic.
6. COMPREHENSIBLE versus INCOMPREHENSIBLE
6a. Preference for inherently
comprehensible phenomena: Sectoral preoccupations viewed as comprehensible in
terms of existing paradigms. Favoured by pragmatists working in the light of
6b. Preference for inherently
incomprehensible phenomena: Sectoral preoccupations calling for explanations in
terms of other frames of reference. Favoured, notably, from certain religious
7. DUE versus SPONTANEOUS PROCESS
7a. Preference for due process: Inter-sectoral
dialogue should be governed by pre-defined processes. Favoured by those sectors
relying on well-developed procedures.
7b. Preference for spontaneous process: Inter-sectoral dialogue
viewed as most fruitful when spontaneous processes emerge. Favoured by those
who see chance and accident to be significant.
(Text adapted from W T Jones)