Thursday, November 25, 2010

Edward Berge - Constructive and deconstructive postmodernism

This article from Ed Berge, posted at Integral Postmetaphysical Nonduality, has been sitting in my open tabs for a while now - go read it.

Constructive and deconstructive postmodernism

Continuing the theme from the postformal enaction post, Hampson in his Integral Review article “Integral re-view postmodernism” (link in previous post) discussed how Wilber distinguishes construction and deconstructive postmodernism. The latter is a lower level of postformal development (green) while the former is a higher postformal development (teal and above). Aside from Hampson questioning the validity of deconstruction as relativistic he also questions this placement and suggests that perhaps they are both sides of the same postformal coin (level).

In this regard Mark Edwards (2010) says this:
“I regard integral metastudies as a counterpart to the more typical forms of decentering and deconstructing postmodernism which seeks to identify and give voice to the personal story, the local history, the grounded experience, and the marginalized instance. These two postmodern activities are fundamentally different and provide critical counterpoints for each other’s development. Decentering, pluralist postmodern research is not something I believe is to be integrated within an integral metastudies. Decentering postmodernism and integrative postmodernism are complementary forms of knowledge building. Where integral postmodernism develops abstractions, decentering postmoderism develops grounded stories. Where integral postmodernism creates imaginative generalized frameworks, decentering postmodernism creates particular narratives and personalized accounts of human experience.

“This is not a developmental modernism versus postmodernism battle. It is an ongoing complementarity (e.g., Plato and Aristotle). An integral metastudies should not be seen as a rational project of integrating every perspective, concept, paradigm, or cultural tradition within its domain. There must be some things that, by definition, lie outside of its capacities to accommodate and explain. Consequently, an integral metastudies needs a decentering postmodernism that it cannot integrate, that lies outside of its scientific and systematic purview, which continually challenges it and is critical of its generalizations, abstractions, and universalizings. The decentering form of particularizing postmodernism is not something that integral metatheory can locate or neatly categorize somewhere within its general frameworks. Decentering postmodernism will always provide a source of critical insight and substantive opposition to the generalizing goals of an integral metastudies. In the same way that postmodernism often misunderstands integrative approaches as just some form of scientific monism, there is a danger that integral researchers can misrepresent the decentering and localizing concerns of postmodernism as simple relativism” (408 - 09).
Recent work on metatheory suggests that postmodern decentering is itself a form of metatheory, a compliment to the more constructive kind.
Read the whole post.

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