Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From the sacred canopy to the civic canopy: Social transformation through dialogue, collaboration and civil society
by Fulton, William K., Ph.D., The Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver, 2010, 163; 3443338
Abstract (Summary)

The American creed of e pluribus unum—out of many, one—has proven to be an elusive aspiration for societies throughout history. Research suggests that as the diversity of a community increases, its stores of social capital decline. Yet, there exists a growing body of evidence that suggests under certain conditions, patterns of inclusion and collaboration are not only possible but predictable. This project explores theory on effective communication practices, grounded in Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action, as well as research on effective group interaction to suggest that certain communicative capacities and collaborative processes that successfully face the challenge of e pluribus unum at the level of groups and organizations might also apply to broader communities. After reviewing a series of case studies, a community learning model is offered as a way to promote those conditions more intentionally under a broader “civic canopy” as a way to help establish a new set of community norms—or a new civic operating system—that regards civil society as a type of associational ecosystem that can enable communities to better learn and adapt to the challenges they face.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vial, Theodore
Commitee: Hicks, Darrin, Seeburger, Frank, Surber, Jere
School: The Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver
Department: Human Communications
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Philosophy, Communication, Social structure
Keywords: Civil society, Collaboration, Complex adaptive systems, Dialogue, Facilitation, Habermas, Juergen, Social transformation
Publication Number: 3443338
ISBN: 978-1-124-48115-9
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