In crisis situations, such as terror attacks or societal tensions caused by migration, people tend to look for explicit moral and spiritual leadership and are often inclined to vote for so-called 'strong leaders'. Is there a way to resist the temptation of the simplistic solutions that these ‘strong leader’ offer, and instead encourage constructive engagement with the complex demands of our times? This volume utilises relational and dialogical perspectives to examine and address many of the issues surrounding the moral and spiritual guidance articulated in globalizing Western societies.
The essays in this collection focus on the concept of plural moralities, understood as divergent visions on what is a 'good life', both in an ethical, aesthetical, existential, and spiritual sense. They explore the political-cultural context and consequences of plural moralities as well as discussing challenges, possibilities, risks, and dangers from the perspective of two promising relational theories: social constructionism and dialogical self theory. The overarching argument is that it is possible to constructively put in nuanced moral and spiritual guidance into complex, plural societies.
By choosing a clear theoretical focus on relational approaches to societal challenges, this interdisciplinary book provides both a broad scope and a coherent argument. It will be of great interest to scholars of social and political psychology, leadership and organization, religious studies, and pedagogy.
Table of Contents
Hans Alma and Ina ter Avest
Part I: Theoretical Perspectives
1 Toward a Relational Ethic
Kenneth J. Gergen
2 Dialogical Self Theory in a Boundary-Crossing Society
Hubert J.M. Hermans
3 Religion, Radicalism, Relativism: Between Social Identity and Dialogical Self Theory
4 Plural Moralities and the Search for Meaning
Part II: Developing Theory and Practice in Dialogue
Leadership in an Age of Plural Moralities
5 Provocative Guidance: A Practice of Narrative Leadership
Ina ter Avest
6 Dialogical Leadership: Leading Yourself across Boundaries of Self and Culture
Rens van Loon and Angel S. Buster
7 Developing Intercultural Sensitivity in a World of Multicultural Identities
Education in an Age of Plural Moralities
8 Plural British Values: Between Generosity and Fear
9 Life Orientation as Part of Professional Development: Moral Leadership of Professionals from a DST-Perspective
Edwin van der Zande and Cok Bakker
10 Moral Commitment and Existential Issues in Religious and Worldview Education
Citizenship in an Age of Plural Moralities
11 The Culturalization of Citizenship in the Netherlands: Towards Cosmopolitan Sociabilities in a Neoliberal Epoch
Toon van Meijl
12 Beyond the Boundaries: Overcoming Resentments, Resistance and Revulsion
13 Orientation, Disorientation, and Reorientation in the Context of Plural Moralities: Experiences of an LGBT Refugee Arriving in the Netherlands
Carmen Schuhmann and Robin Knibbe
Hans Alma and Ina ter Avest
Hans Alma holds an endowed chair in Contemporary Humanism at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Belgium, department of Philosophy and Ethics.
Ina ter Avest is professor emerita of the Inholland University of Applied Sciences and was senior lecturer in Religious Education at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.