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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A multiperspectival conceptual model of transformative meaning making
by Freed, Maxine, Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2009, 276; 3391149
Abstract (Summary)

Meaning making is central to transformative learning, but little work has explored how meaning is constructed in the process. Moreover, no meaning-making theory adequately captures its characteristics and operations during radical transformation. The purpose of this dissertation was to formulate and specify a multiperspectival conceptual model of transformative meaning making to facilitate better understanding of the process.

Transdisciplinarity, complexity, hermeneutics, and social constructivism approaches were combined to capture the multifaceted dimensions of transformative meaning making. Using hermeneutics as method, texts dealing with transformative learning and meaning theories were analyzed, interpreted, and synthesized, providing scaffolding for the model. Past and concurrent documentation of my own transformative and meaning-making processes provided additional data.

The individual experiencing transformative learning is modeled as a complex dynamic system. A representative model of the change process in general is specified and described, followed by a model of transformative meaning making. Meaning making is not only cognitive, epistemic, and rational, nor is language the sole medium of meaning construction. Somatic, affective, intuitive, and imaginative aspects are significant as the historico-socio-culturally embedded individual engages in the pattern recognition and formation activities of meaning making. The primary operations of the process are interpretation, "translation," and transformation, with attendant periods of ambiguous, paradoxical liminality. Reflection, reflexivity, and recursion are central characteristics of both transformative meaning making and the research process of this study.

A conceptual model of radically transformative meaning making can serve as a useful roadmap for individuals experiencing transformative learning and provide greater understanding of the interrelationship between meaning making and transformative learning, the transformative meaning-making process itself, issues in transformative and adult education, and organizational and societal change and transformation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Combs, Allan
Commitee: Laszlo, Kathia, Southern, Nancy L.
School: Saybrook University
Department: Consciousness and Spirituality
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Complexity, Constructivism, Hermeneutics, Meaning, Transdisciplinarity, Transformation, Transformative meaning making
Publication Number: 3391149
ISBN: 978-1-109-62871-5
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