Sunday, July 18, 2004

tribalism and difference

mine difference rather than manage difference

This was a throwaway line from the conference I was at. maggi blogs about the different tribes in the emerging world. Tribes can be tribal, wagons drawn in, hunched against diversity. Yet this leaves me unable to manage difference, let alone mine it for all its depth and colour.

I was told that dialogue requires me to put aside my own beliefs, in order to fully engage the Other. Yet such a notion seems frightfully modernist. I can’t change who I am, my social location. I am Kiwi, male, etc. I always bring this to the table. Pure objectivity does not exist. I can only bring my embedded subjectivity.

So equally, if I am evangelical or liberal in my roots, that is all I can bring to the table. I need to mine my embedded subjectivity, be increasingly aware of my unique differences.

When I engage with other tribes, I can only do this from my social location. If I want to mine, rather than manage the difference, then I need to learn, listen and speak about my tribe, and about others tribe.

In other words
– we can’t change our roots
– the better we know our roots the better we can learn from others
– the task is to listen, not to weave webs of psuedo tolerance.

Posted by steve at 09:19 PM

1 Comment

  1. Good post Steve. My sense is that honest interaction, coupled with teachability and a genuine openness to change and re-mix ones sense of self and identity suggests that our ‘rootedness’ to a particular perspective, story etc. will change to some degree as I mine the differences and input of others. In some cases the change might be small in others it might be very large. Sometime it will be dramatic, at other times it may be more gradual; a result of the ongoing process of honest interaction…I “bring my embedded subjectivity” but I hopefully also bring a level of comforta with who I currently am, my story, my beliefs, values etc. I hopefully also bring an oppenness and willingness to hear, engage with, and also to change and grow where appropriate or necessary…

    Comment by Paul Fromont — July 19, 2004 @ 9:39 am

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