Beyond the Culture of Contest - From Adversarialism To Mutualism In An Age Of Interdependence
Beyond the Culture of Contest - From Adversarialism To Mutualism In An Age Of Interdependence
Beyond the Culture of Contest - From Adversarialism To Mutualism In An Age Of Interdependence
Michael Karlberg

Beyond the Culture of Contest - From Adversarialism To Mutualism In An Age Of Interdependence

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Michael Karlberg put forward the thesis that our present ‘culture of contest’ is both socially unjust and ecologically unsustainable and that the surrounding ‘culture of protest’ is an inadequate response to the social and ecological problems it generates.

How can social change come about? Is it possible to have democratic government without political parties? Can we have a productive economy without unfettered and aggressive competition? How can social and ecological ills be addressed without resorting to a ‘culture of protest’?

Adversarialism has become the predominant strand in contemporary western-liberal societies. Throughout the contemporary public sphere, competitive and conflictual practices have become institutionalized norms.

In his analysis of contemporary society, Michael Karlberg puts forward the thesis that our present ‘culture of contest’ is both socially unjust and ecologically unsustainable and that the surrounding ‘culture of protest’ is an inadequate response to the social and ecological problems it generates. The development of non-adversarial structures and practices is imperative.

Dr Karlberg considers various historical and contemporary expressions of mutualism, including expressions within feminism, systems theory, ecology and environmentalism, communication theory and alternative dispute resolution, and presents a case study of the Bahá’í community and its experience as a working, non-adversarial model of social practice. The prescriptions and practices of the Bahá’í community provide a viable and workable alternative to the culture of contest.

Michael Karlberg is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Western Washington University. His research and writing focus on the relationship between communication, culture and conflict. He also teaches in the area of ‘critical media literacy’, helping students understand the ways that we are influenced by, and can also influence, our mass mediated cultural environment. 

A Chinese edition is available from New Millennium Publications Link to Chinese edition

To listen to  Michael Karlberg’s TEDxInnsbruck talk sharing some of the ideas found in his book please follow this Link.

Pages: 288
Dimensions: 210 x 138 mm (8.25 x 5.5 ins)
Weight: 430 g
ISBN: 978-0-85398-489-4


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