Prä-Kongress Workshop: "Radical Presence: Humanizing Tensions, Dialogic Possibilities"
Everywhere we turn we are confronted with techniques and tools designed to “fix” the disparities that we confront daily. If our actions appear abnormal to others, there’s probably a pill we can take and a therapeutic program we can join. If our performance in school is below standards, there are remedial courses and, again, medications we can take to ensure that we can maintain focus and attention on what the educational system deems is important. Our family and relational conflicts can be solved by an expert’s determination of who is right and wrong, rational and irrational. But difference is a natural byproduct of our complex social worlds. And, unfortunately, the most common approach to diversity is to treat the individual. Little attention is paid to the broader social contexts and institutional practices that contribute to conflict, disconnection, and difference. The question we must confront is how we can live with the tension of difference. Adopting a collaborative, dialogic stance redirects our focus in divisive moments and demands we adopt a stance of radical presence. Rather than finalize diverse worldviews as evil, wrong, or irrational, our challenge is to search for the good, the “right,” and the rational in the other. Central to living with the tensionality of difference is a shift from attempting to reach agreement to constructing new forms of understanding with others. And, these new forms of understanding are premised on humanizing the other through our radical presence, despite differences. In the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, we must ask, How can we go on together?
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