Transformative Knowledge and Worldviews

The ACKnowl-EJ project includes a component of EJ and Transformative Theory. One component of this is the Conflict and Alternatives Transformation Frameworks and case studies to test these frameworks; another is the initiation of a ‘Global Worldviews Dialogue’ (GWD). This note attempts to provide brief guidance on the latter.

Why a GWD?

Resistance and alternative transformation movements and groups around the world are based on worldviews that are often fundamentally different from the mainstream neoliberal or state-centred narratives that are currently dominant. These worldviews may be implicit or explicit; if the latter, they may be fully or only partially articulated.  They may be revivals, in a new context, of ancient worldviews like buen vivir, ubuntu, swaraj, and major spiritual/religious faiths, or relatively new ones such as conviviality, ecospirituality, ecosocialism and ecofeminism.  Very often even when articulated within individual movements, there is inadequate effort at creating bridges amongst them, at helping movements to understand each others’ worldviews and looking for common threads on the basis of which to build solidarity and gain strength for both individual and collective struggles. The GWD hopes to plug these gaps in a modest way.

Who would be in the GWD?

During the ACKnowl-EJ project partners will be working with indigenous peoples or other local communities and the primary participants of the GWD are proposed to be these communities along with the partners. However, we are also part of other networks, some formally linked to the project such as CICADA and ICCA Consortium, others that each of us individually may be involved with. Depending on our own possibilities, we could open up the dialogue to members of these other networks or organisations. What is most important is that those who are the repositories of the worldviews, are themselves part of the GWD, and not only those who are researching or acting with them.

What would the GWD entail?

A combination of activities are proposed, not all of which may be feasible by all partners or even by the project as a whole; for the moment this is a menu of options that we can choose from:

1. Documentation of worldviews (one or many) of each community we are working with, in written, audio, audio-visual, or artistic forms (in each of these forms, primary ‘voice’ should be from within the community, and if possible, a diversity of voices from within it).

2. Dissemination of these worldviews on the A-EJ website and other forums, including various media, conferences etc. (noting the need for the consent of the community before doing so); where possible with relevant translations to make it understandable to a wider audience. A mapping exercise could also be attempted where it is possible to ‘geolocate’ the worldview (as an aside, this could also include the set of 40-50 worldviews that the Post-Development Dictionary is including[1]).

3. Facilitating semi-active responses to each others’ articulation/expression, e.g. showing a video from one community to another, and then taking a ‘response’ video that can be shown back to the original community, with elements like what they feel is common, what is different, if and how they are inspired by it, etc.

4. Facilitating bilateral or multilateral active dialogues amongst the communities, virtually using relevant digital technologies (powerful in some contexts, limiting in others), and/or physically through face-to-face meetings (with clearly limited possibilities due to resource constraints). These could be regional and/or global, and could include exchange visits between two communities.