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Hampson, GP 2010, 'Regenerating integral theory and education: postconventional explorations', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright GP Hampson 2010


This study seeks to facilitate the (re)generation of integral theory and integral education theory through exploring and enacting postconventional modalities emerging from worldviews and paradigms beyond modernity and formal thought. Its quest sits in service to humanity-within-biosphere, with particular reference to education. The format involves a collection of published papers (one co-authored) cohered through an extensive introduction, interleafs, and conclusion. A generative critique of Ken Wilber’s integral theory is given, notably through a focused engagement with postformal thought. This leads to an ecology of academic fields being brought into play to help generate new types of integral thinking. Such exploration also helps develop postformal theory or postconventional poetics.

In addition to postformal thought, fields include complexity theory, critical theory, ecosophy, futures studies, hermeneutics, poetics and poststructuralism. Each variously contributes to the postconventional ensemble which is cohered through creative transdisciplinarity: complexity theory supports an emergent research process and a partly decentralised format; critical theory emphasises the contrast between the modern-formal developmental level and that beyond; Guattari’s ecosophy complexly integrates biospherical, social and conceptual domains; futures studies complements historical awareness regarding temporal contextualisation; hermeneutics foregrounds construct-awareness; poetics enables an enactment of the metaphor “text as music”; whilst poststructuralism precipitates a deterritorialisation and “dialecticisation” of integral theory in addition to a querying of certain textual conventions.

Contexts of integral studies and integral education are addressed, both theoretically through Ernest Boyer’s scholarship of integration, and historically through the identification of a Western genealogy including Classical, Hermetic, Neoplatonic, Renaissance, Humanist and Reconstructive Postmodern moments. Additionally, planetary consciousness is effected through Native American, Islamic and counter-hegemonic perspectives. Critiques include address of modernistic “economies of truth” including economism, technicism and atomism, Wilber’s orientation toward Green thinking, Richard Slaughter’s perspective on Causal Layered Analysis, and Wilberian integral education theory. Valorisations are given to “complexities of truth” including archetypes, “eco-logics,” holarchies, “nanotextology,” open systems, spiritual orientations, and vision-logic. Cross-level education is addressed in relation to content (knowledge, curricula), occasion (identities, pedagogy) and system; for each, a critical contrast is identified between approaches and interpretations following a modern atomistic template and those arising from more integrative sensibilities with respect to complexities of identity, peer relationalities and contextusalisations.

The study contributes to numerous discourses including integral studies, postconventional studies, philosophy of education, critical education, ecology, futures studies, and transdisciplinarity entailing the meta-dialogue between art and science. Framed as an ethical “conceptual concerto,” this creative academic artefact offers “passion for the possible.”