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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Wes Markofski

Intellectual humility and religious conviction are often posed as antagonistic binaries; the former associated with science, reason, inclusive universality, and liberal…

Abstract

Intellectual humility and religious conviction are often posed as antagonistic binaries; the former associated with science, reason, inclusive universality, and liberal secularism, the latter with superstition, dogma, exclusive particularity, and rigid traditionalism. Despite popular images of white American evangelicals as the embodied antithesis of intellectual humility, responsiveness to facts, and openness to the other, this article demonstrates how evangelicals can and do practice intellectual humility in public life while simultaneously holding fast to particularistic religious convictions. Drawing on textual analysis and multi-site ethnographic data, it demonstrates how observed evangelical practices of transposable and segmented reflexivity map onto pluralist, domain-specific conceptualizations of intellectual humility in the philosophical and psychological literature. It further argues that the effective practice of intellectual humility in the interests of ethical democracy does not require religious actors to abandon particularistic religious reasons for universal secular ones. Rather, particularistic religious convictions can motivate effective practices of intellectual humility and thereby support democratic pluralism, inclusivity, and solidarity across difference. More broadly, it aims to challenge, or at least complicate, the widespread notion that increasing strength of religious conviction always moves in lockstep with increasing dogmatism, tribalism, and intellectual unreasonableness.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Ruth Braunstein

A growing interdisciplinary literature explores how people can simultaneously hold strong convictions and remain open to the possibility of learning from others with whom…

Abstract

A growing interdisciplinary literature explores how people can simultaneously hold strong convictions and remain open to the possibility of learning from others with whom they disagree. This tension impacts not only knowledge development but also public discourse within a diverse and disagreeing democracy. This volume of Political Power and Social Theory considers the specific question of how religious convictions inform how people engage in democratic life, particularly across deep political divides. In this introduction, I begin by discussing how a narrow vision of religious citizens as dogmatic believers has led observers to frame religion as a concerning source of democratic distortion – encouraging too much arrogance and not enough humility. Yet this dogmatic believer narrative captures only one aspect of American religion. Juxtaposing a snapshot of dogmatic believers alongside two other snapshots of religious groups engaging in political life raises complex questions about the relationship between religious conviction, humility, and democracy in a time of deep political polarization. I argue that answering these questions requires a sociological approach that is attuned to power, context, culture, institutions, and history. At the same time, I show how attention to the tension between conviction and humility has the potential to enrich the sociological study of religion and democracy, and particularly ethnographic research across the moral/political divide.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Dawne Moon and Theresa W. Tobin

Scholars who study humility tend to think of it in highly individualized terms, such as an absence of vanity or an accurate self-assessment. Individuating definitions can…

Abstract

Scholars who study humility tend to think of it in highly individualized terms, such as an absence of vanity or an accurate self-assessment. Individuating definitions can lead to such jarring concepts as the “humble white supremacist” (Roberts & Wood, 2007). Qualitative sociological research in the (predominantly North American) evangelical movement to accept and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) identities, same-sex marriage, and sex/gender transition reveals that humility is not simply the awareness that “I could be wrong.” That awareness is rooted in what we have found to be humility’s defining element, concern to foster relationship. These findings prompt us to define humility as a fundamentally social disposition, as concern to protect the kinds of intimate connection with others that can transform the self. Recognizing the social nature of humility reveals why humility is incompatible with injustice.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

John Hartley

Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective…

Abstract

Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective. Sufficient intellectual humility encompasses at least four elements: openness to error, recognition of bias, recognition of intellectual parity in interlocutors, and avoidance of recourse to authority. Religions seem to present obstacles on all four fronts, particularly when actors embody more conservative renderings of a given religion’s repertoire. As such, a case involving different groups of religious exclusivists engaging one another on topics that directly interact their deepest faith commitments and political visions presents a useful test case for our theories of intellectual humility. This chapter considers conservative protestants engaging in public discourse with Muslims about whether or not Muslim and Christian understandings of “loving God” and “loving neighbor” have sufficient overlap to support political cooperation. The results of the dialogue effort were a mixture of controversy and cooperation. For evangelicals, the engagement produced sharp conflict and yet helped to shift the community’s plausibility structures, opening further the possibility of fruitful public discourse and strategic action in cooperation with Muslims. The analysis suggests a conceptualization of practical intellectual humility that emphasizes recognition of the other.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Richard L. Wood

This chapter offers a speculative essay regarding how religion may foster intellectual humility in public life, drawing on case studies from faith-based community…

Abstract

This chapter offers a speculative essay regarding how religion may foster intellectual humility in public life, drawing on case studies from faith-based community organizing in the United States. and liberation theology in Latin America. Despite a plethora of religious teaching about the virtue of humility across a variety of traditions, I do not think there is anything inherent in religious belief – in any tradition – that predisposes believers toward authentic humility in their personal or public lives. I argue instead that religious conviction – when embodied in particular kinds of religious practice – does help drive us toward the balance of confidence and intellectual humility required for vigorous engagement in democratic public life. My argument draws on the concept of focal practices and insights from philosophy, theology, and social theory as I consider religious practices, religious conversion, and the nature of human passions as they relate to democratic life.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2020

Sara McClellan

Wicked problems, cross-sectoral and transregional collaborations, emerging technologies and calls for innovation generate exciting but unpredictable transformations in…

Abstract

Purpose

Wicked problems, cross-sectoral and transregional collaborations, emerging technologies and calls for innovation generate exciting but unpredictable transformations in governance. Emerging research suggests humility, rather than certitude, represents a promising ethos for public leaders working to solve problems in tumultuous times. This study examines the nature, value and practice of humility in public administration (PA) leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

This study reviews cross-disciplinary research on the nature and value of humility and emerging findings and debates on humility assessment measures. It analyzes discourse among graduate students in US PA classes and uses ethnographic analysis from workshops with local government leaders to identify institutional dynamics that may influence leaders' willingness to act with humility.

Findings

Findings suggest that although PA students and leaders may value humility, they encounter institutional constraints related to public sector legitimacy and narratives about expertise and risk. The author proposes a framework to guide future research and practice in humility and public leadership.

Research limitations/implications

Potential constraints emerged from a modest study of courses and workshops; further research is required to test the prevalence of themes across public leadership environments.

Practical implications

Public leaders, teachers and coaches may apply these practices and assessment measures to cultivate humility in PA classes and organizations.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to explore leadership humility with attention to how PA context may influence practice.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Jeffrey Guhin

How ought religion and democratic politics relate to each other in a spirit of intellectual humility? This chapter suggests four potential understandings of the…

Abstract

How ought religion and democratic politics relate to each other in a spirit of intellectual humility? This chapter suggests four potential understandings of the relationship: hindrance, resource, evaluation, and source. Each of these understandings seems to take for granted a form of Enlightenment rationality (whether in support or opposition), and the final section of the chapter develops a synthesis of Durkheim and Dewey to consider a different way through which religion and deliberative democracy can coexist, one more sensitive to the role of emotion, ritual, and contingency and thereby more open to the problem of epistemic arrogance and the necessity for intellectual humility.

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Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2019

Amitabh Anand, Isabelle Walsh and Sandra Moffett

Despite the strong focus on virtues in firms, humility is little recognized in the management literature and, more particularly in the literature about knowledge sharing…

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Abstract

Purpose

Despite the strong focus on virtues in firms, humility is little recognized in the management literature and, more particularly in the literature about knowledge sharing (KS). Despite efforts to foster KS among employees in firms, the effectiveness of this process narrows down to the dyadic relationship between the knowledge seeker and provider within firm. This paper aims to investigate the role of humility in the KS process in dyadic activity.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors undertake an exploratory investigation to fill some of the gaps found in the literature. The paper draws insights from psychology, history, religion, current events and management literature.

Findings

The authors identify several individual propensities that help predict humility towards sharing knowledge from seeker (humble knowledge-inquiry) and provider perspectives (humble response). They propose a new conceptual process model of KS with humility as an important variable to consider. This work highlights several promising directions for future research.

Originality/value

As per the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper that investigates the role of humility in knowledge sharing from dyadic perspective. The authors also introduce concepts of humble knowledge inquiry and humble response in a dyadic context for effective knowledge sharing process.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Abstract

Details

Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2021

Senanu Kwasi Kutor, Emmanuel Kyeremeh, Bernard Owusu, Daniel Amoak and Temitope Oluwaseyi Ishola

This paper examines how one group of frontline health workers (nurses) amid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic perceive the Government of Ghana (GOG)'s decision…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how one group of frontline health workers (nurses) amid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic perceive the Government of Ghana (GOG)'s decision to ease the lockdown restrictions when cases were increasing. This paper contributes to the literature on Igor Grossman's concept of wise reasoning and its applicability to COVID-19 management decision-making by political leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employed an exploratory qualitative design. The decision to adopt qualitative method is linked to the paucity of research on wise reasoning, political leadership and COVID-19. The paper draws on qualitative online survey with 42 nurses located in Accra Metropolis, Ghana.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that a confluence of research participants perceived the government's act of easing the lockdown restrictions to be in bad faith on account of (1) nonrecognition of different perspectives and viewpoints from stakeholders and interest groups; (2) rising number of cases which naturally make the decision to lift the restriction unwise; (3) concerns about the prioritization of peripheral issues over citizens' health and (4) concerns about limited and robust health facilities and their implications.

Research limitations/implications

The key claims must be assessed against the limitations of the study. First, the study is an exploratory study and, therefore, not intended for a generalization purpose. Second, the research participants are highly educated, and the responses in this study are skewed toward them.

Originality/value

The paper is novel in seeking to explore wise reasoning and political leadership during a global pandemic such as COVID-19. This exploratory study demonstrates that COVID-19, though devastating and causing havoc, presents an opportunity to test Igor Grossmann's wise reasoning framework about decision-making by political leaders. This extends the literature on wise reasoning beyond the discipline of psychology (the fact that all the authors are geographers) and Global North to Global South since the data for this study are gathered in Ghana.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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