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A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures: A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique

Thomas R Flanagan

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ISBN 10: 0984526617 / ISBN 13: 9780984526611
Published by Ongoing Emergence Press, 2011
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Title: A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures...

Publisher: Ongoing Emergence Press

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

About this title


This workbook supports scholarly role playing in the arena of global diplomacy and human system planning. Audiences include students, faith-based groups, and community members who like to grapple with the big picture -- arguably the biggest picture -- of our times: global sustainability. The modular 4 or 5 week course can be extended as different groups might choose. Audiences will collaborate with others by authentically engaging the world's complexity through participatory democracy. This experiential learning opportunity has the power to change lives, and the promise to save the planet. The exploration begins with the challenges faced by the founders of the Club of Rome circa 1970. The founding prospectus identified the problematique underlying global sustainability as a set of 49 continuous critical problems. These interacting and entangled problems create what more recently has been called a wicked mess. They are not solvable in isolation because fixing one of them will likely further complicate others. Considering the full set of problems causes individuals to feel overwhelmed. For that reason, the structured dialogic design divides the challenge of understanding the problem up among members of the group, and then has them interact as a community of “experts” in their assigned problem areas. In a step wise process, this group of experts sequentially clarifies meanings, explores similarities among ideas, and identifies relationships between ideas. In this fashion, the group avoids becoming trapped in a reductionist approach to problem solving and enters into a communal understanding of the complex situation. Readers who wish to participate in an exploration of the problematique underlying global sustainability are invited to join a group through the Institute for 21st Century Agoras. In addition to the book itself, readers will be provided access to a software tool for tracking meanings that are uncovered, prompting decisions during deliberation, and then also presenting outcomes of those decisions as an easily read “tree.” A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures builds capacities for understanding and resolving highly complex problems in collaboration. It is a “self help” workbook for communities sensing urgency for starting today to build their futures. The authors, Drs. Tom Flanagan and Ken Bausch, are systems scientists who each have over 20 years of experience in complex systems work. The inspiration for the workbook comes from their collaborative online teaching with Janet McIntyre and her students at Flinders University in Australia.

About the Author:

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Thomas R. Flanagan, PhD, was raised in Massachusetts, attended universities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He began his professional career life science and biomedical technology and worked in and founded high performance companies in New England and in Europe both in technology and in management roles. Tom’s appreciation for decision-making in diversified research and development teams let him to advanced studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and subsequently to an opportunity to work with Dr. Alexander Christakis and support co-laboratories of democracy in international business, government agencies, and community missions. Tom has taught classes in biology, chemistry, engineering, and management for university students and online classes for practitioner training in participatory democracy. His published books include The Talking Point: Creating an Environment for Exploring Complex Meaning, (with AN Christakis; 2010}; CogniSystem™ A User's Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide for Collaborative Design (2006). Previous use of the approaches presented in this workbook appear in: An Online Course in Sustainable Democracy: A Group Decision Making Process (in press). Kenneth C. Bausch, PhD, grew up in Ohio and received his BA in Philosophy from Duns Scotus College followed by four years of intensive theological studies at St. Leonard's College. He began his professional life as a Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order and has been a pastor, a high school teacher, an inner-city organizer working with street gangs and community groups, a social service administrator, a homebuilder, and an university professor. In the course of 40 years of inquiry into the human condition, he has delved intensively into philosophy, orthodox theology, Eastern religions, social and political ideology, psychology, sociology, and systems theory. Ken holds an MA in Psychology at the University of West Georgia and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University. Ken took up the leadership role of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras. Ken has taught psychology, sociology and systems science at several colleges including Capella University, and is currently teaching an online course through Flinders University in Australia. His published books include The Emerging Consensus in Social Systems Theory, (2001), Body Wisdom: Interplay of Body and Ego (2010), and Harnessing Collective Wisdom and Power to Construct the Future (with AN Christakis; 2006).

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