Cultural leadership and peace: An educational response to religious violence
This study is a philosophical inquiry into violence as the consequence of dysfunctional meaning-making processes. It establishes a theory of leadership development which requires, catalyzes, and sustains a reinvigorated relationship between education and religion in order to create more pacific ways of making meaning on interpersonal, organizational, institutional, societal, and global levels.
The inquiry articulates an understanding of leadership as drawing on educative and religious processes for the deployment of power in order to make meaning with or on behalf of groups of people at various levels of social complexity. The analysis demonstrates that leadership is informed by and can inform institutional patterns of behavior and signification. Examination of leadership style on a developmental continuum of more and less violent modes of deploying power simultaneously offers insight into the origin of violent social relationships and into a process for creating more pacific ways of making meaning. Therefore, providing a path of personal cognitive and moral development along this continuum for organizational, institutional, societal, and global leaders offers one approach to influencing the development of social institutions which, in turn, influence the development of other leaders, along a mutually formative path toward interpersonal and global peace.
The examination of leadership as energy deployment for the purpose of making meaning offers an opportunity to consider religion as an institution which encodes meaning making processes for society and individuals alike and to consider education as an institution which encodes behavior and norms attendant to the explication of reality. Rehabilitating religion and education in order to play these respective social roles more effectively requires more sophisticated leaders who deploy energy in less violent ways. Conversely, leadership development is constrained and empowered by these institutions which are in need of such growth themselves.
This philosophical inquiry, therefore, synthesizes a new theory capable of framing new questions for leadership development and institutional growth with personal, organizational, societal, and global implications. The theory creates the category of Cultural Leadership which becomes a model for making meaning in less violent ways while providing a pathway for personal and social growth toward sustainable peace.
0326: Cultural anthropology
0745: Higher education