How can the thought of the heart offer effective ways of engaging with conflict? An imaginal and reflexive study

PhD Thesis


Livingstone, L. 2019. How can the thought of the heart offer effective ways of engaging with conflict? An imaginal and reflexive study . PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education
AuthorsLivingstone, L.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy
Abstract

This thesis explores the idea that heart knowing is a vitally important human capability which has, over the course of many hundreds of years, been divorced from, and rendered subservient to, knowledge about the world as generated through the brain (understood in modern times as the seat of knowledge and rational thinking). Suggesting that this move not only carries the potential to cause conflict, but in addition prevents contemporary society from engaging in creative ways with conflict, my research suggests that there is room for, and a growing need to, reconsider conflict and our interactions with conflict situations, through a more expansive, heart-centred lens.

While the heart and benevolent heart qualities such as love, kindness, non-judgment and compassion (Young, 2002, pp. 381–394; Hoystad, 2007, p. 12; Bound Alberti, 2012, p. 3), are often alluded to within conflict literature (LeBaron, 2002; Cloke, 2013), the practical role that the heart could play is consistently, and frustratingly, left unaddressed. I suggest that this issue is of key importance, and aim to show that while people in contemporary society might intuitively or unconsciously be aware that heart knowing may be helpful to navigate the complexities of daily life, the traditionally accepted lens of empiricism, which labels the heart a biological pump, creates epistemological barriers for the conscious consideration of this idea and often silences other hearts that may wish to make themselves known to us and express themselves authentically in the world.

By taking an imaginal and reflexive approach, supported by auto/biographical research, this thesis explores ways of seeing, being and knowing that are made possible by adopting the heart as a legitimate way of generating knowledge about the world. Through a heart-centred lens, this research explores the possibility of transforming current understanding of conflict, and subsequently relationships with ourselves, each other and the wider world. Importantly, this work suggests implications for not just conflict resolution and transformation, but for education that is truly transformative – feeding into growing conversations concerning sustainability and wellbeing issues. Certainly, the heart as mediator and teacher demands our imaginative, authentic, empathic and courageous consideration, and it is upon this understanding that this thesis is written.

KeywordsHeart; Conflict resoution; Wellbeing
Year2019
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Deposited30 Sep 2020
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8w612/how-can-the-thought-of-the-heart-offer-effective-ways-of-engaging-with-conflict-an-imaginal-and-reflexive-study

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