Considering Pluralism Through the Lens of Integral Research
Individuals in a pluralist society are actively engaged with diversity, seek a true understanding of differences, are diligent in including varying perspectives, value engagement with one another, and are committed to ongoing, constructive dialogue (Eck, D., From diversity to pluralism. The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, (2006)). Though borrowed from writings on religious pluralism, these principles can be useful for understanding and working toward research pluralism.
In this essay, I examine these pluralist principles and consider ways in which the society of music education researchers reflects pluralism. Then, I apply Lessem & Schieffer’s (Integral research and innovation: transforming enterprise and society. Gower Publishing, Ltd., Farnham, GB, (2010b)) Integral Research as a framework for the type of criticism necessary for pluralist engagement. I discuss how Integral Research provides a reminder that research decisions ought to be manifestations of an individual’s experience, worldview, and cultural perspective, and that the breadth of research approaches must be equitably included in a research community striving for pluralism. As I present an overview of Integral Research, I suggest examples from music education research that reflect particular features of the theory, and highlight a key aspect – that research has little meaning unless it leads directly to social improvement. I draw from Lessem & Schieffer (Integral research and innovation: transforming enterprise and society. Gower Publishing, Ltd., Farnham, GB, (2010b)) and Boyce-Tillman (Boyce-Tillman J Promoting well-being through music education. Philos. Music Educ Rev 89–98 (2000)) to argue that as researchers actively strive for a pluralist research community, we must also look inward, seeking variety and balance in the approaches that we employ. Finally, I suggest that the time is right for music education researchers to consider how our research may directly affect social change.
KeywordsResearch Pluralism Education Music education Integral research Social justice Community Society
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