Methodology (Hermeneutic Ethnography)

This has largely been an ethnographic and hermeneutic ethnography. I used a primarily ethnographic research paradigm, attempting to improve my understanding of dialogue through participation in and interpretation of attempted dialogical activities in context. My primary tools toward this end were observation and participation in the social context and the spaces where I believed dialogue was being attempted. I have also proceeded with a hermeneutic search for meaning by deeply engaging in literature on dialogue and transformative process. This hermeneutic engagement is reflected in the new definition of dialogue I offer, but especially in the intense iterative exploration that developed the archetypal model of dialogic process.

In this search, I have explored the practice and the literature of a variety of transformative communication methods including, but not exhaustively, co-mediation, narrative mediation, study circle, Bohmian dialogue, dynamic facilitation, large group intervention, art of engagement, compassionate communication, and nonviolent communication.

This paper represents an expansion of the field of dialogue as a theory and praxis. I have not only introduced a new definition and model of dialogue, but I have suggested important changes to the models of Keirsey’s temperaments (1998), Starhawk’s group leadership (1990), and Isaacs’ dialogic principles and practices (1999a) and dialogic leadership (1999b).