Dissertation: Integral Nonviolent Conflict: Reframing the Idea of Civil Resistance Against Violent Oppression

Available free through ProQuest/UMI publishers.

Kezer_Integral Nonviolent Conflict

Robert Allen Kezer
California Institute of Integral Studies, 2014

Leslie Allan Combs, PhD, Committee Chair



Nonviolent strategies have been shown to be more effective than violent insurgencies for countering oppression while increasing the subsequent degree of democracy in the country and reducing its chances of civil war. But we still do not know why some campaigns work and others do not. This dissertation develops a methodology for reframing our understanding of nonviolent conflict according to the all quadrants all levels (AQAL) model of integral theory that can also be used to investigate other topics as well.

The literature review covers terms, definitions, and misconceptions about nonviolent conflict, a historical lineage, and an overview of current theories and personalities. The terms simple and complex AQAL are introduced, and the AQAL model is contextualized with current knowledge as relevant to the five elements of integral theory: quadrants, types, states, and lines and levels of development. The model is then overlaid with each of the five primary debates in the field to show how integral theory reduces the polarization that often defines academic disputes and better informs our understanding of nonviolent conflict by allowing inclusion of all valid lines of truth. Integral methodological pluralism (IMP) is then used to bring forth the disciplinary subquestions in each methodological zone that, if answered, would begin to fill in the disciplinary gaps in our knowledge and better complete the process of contextualizing the AQAL model. I then offer suggestions for six integral research projects that use IMP to take a transdisciplinary approach to researching the more complex dynamics that happen between all of the factors identified previously and in context of the evolving situation. This process advances our understanding of how to use integral theory to reframe our approach to a field of inquiry, reduces the confusion surrounding nonviolent conflict by basing the investigation on perspectives not perceptions, and produces a model that is inclusive of all valid lines of truth and weighs their importance based on the context of the situation.

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