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  • 2017loviephd

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Paths with heart: transformative journeys in the imaginal realm

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
Publication date2017
Number of pages294
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

My inquiry is a hermeneutic investigation into the lived experience of, and interpersonal and intrapersonal processes involved in transformative learning in primarily affective and imaginal modes of being. Through the lens of an extended epistemology, my inquiry challenges assumptions that critical-thinking and conceptual-rational knowing should be central to the process of perspective change.

We experience, interpret, and know the world through the body, imagination and intellect, and yet the intellect is often privileged in the process of transformative learning. This inquiry seeks a more expansive understanding of the multiple ways in which perspective change might be achieved. It explores the notion that our affective and imaginal capabilities play a significant role in development because they are central to meaning-making.

My inquiry investigates the proposal that specific creative methods and methodologies can be employed intentionally to facilitate self-knowing and insights that can lead to change. It explores development as a creative process and through creative processes. An empathic approach of ‘methodological believing’ is employed to explore the roles of multiple modes of presence and ways of knowing in developmental learning.

Through my inquiry, we gain a more nuanced understanding about what it might mean to transform. My findings support the argument that critical self-reflection is not always necessary for transformative experience, and that symbolic and performative acts, when guided by intent, can result in the embodied integration of insights and realisations. However, often transformative experience marks the beginning of a much longer process of change, which cannot be guaranteed.

The contributions of the inquiry include development of the concept of the rite-of-passage as a useful metaphor for the process of development. Experiences of transformative journeys are synthesised into a rite-of-passage process network that illustrates the interpersonal and intrapersonal processes of transformative learning in affective and imaginal modes of presence.