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Cognitive Representations related to the Concept of World Citizen


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This is an indicative presentation for the thesis awarded by Delhi University to Dr.M.Mukhtar Alam . The thesis is unique and perhaps the only one across the disciplines. There is much need for disseminating the ideas in the thesis for rapidly addressing the global challenges. The researcher went through literature across the disciplines and concluded for the adoption of monotheistic /Islamic framework for world citizenship.

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Cognitive Representations related to the Concept of World Citizen

  1. 1. Cognitive Representationsrelated to the Concept of World Citizen A presentation for a thesis awarded in 2004 by University of Delhi to Dr.M.Mukhtar Alam from Kishandaspur-Mathurapur based in Delhi,India
  2. 2. The Context• It is an outcome of inter-disciplinary work and an exploratory study conceived in the background of cold war with projections of nuclear war and ecological disaster most notably reflected in the writings of Mikhail Gorbachev• The appearance of the concept in the Congress I manifesto in 1989 was the immediate stimulus for the choice of the topic of the research as Prof.Ganguli described then that work on peace was very much in vogue.• Dr.Miriam Ittyerah then agreed that it is worthwhile to study the cognitive styles related to the concept of world citizen.
  3. 3. Introduction• Visits to mental asylum made the researcher conclude that there are sociological factors that are also responsible for the incidence of sociopathy and psychopathy and therefore , it was imperative that root causes were addressed.• The concept of world citizenship then was considered an important concept that was thought to be contributing to the generation of cooperative and compassionate behavior for the fellow human beings across the identities.• The concept of world citizen was then viewed as an important part of the constellation of identities that are part of words defining the personal identity/
  4. 4. …Introduction• It was conceived as an exploratory study as nothing was found through the initial literature review in the journals of social, clinical ,experimental and industrial psychology adopting the participant mode of research• Reference was found in just world order model project led by Richard Falk of USA after the submission of initial application when term papers were to be submitted/• Two term papers were submitted for the thesis. First was on the cognitive representation and the second was for locating the concept of world citizen in just world order inquiries
  5. 5. The intellectual and political stance of the researcher• The researcher examined the cognitive representations primarily propositions related to the concept of world citizen in order to have a normative definition for the model of global governance.• It was a huge task and indeed very challenging.• How could a researcher take up such a task that would have implications for definition of personal identity and social orders/ world order• The conclusions are too challenging but they are nonetheless conclusions after years of engagement on the questions related to the building blocks of structures and processes of peace building.
  6. 6. Background Situation of the World in 1989• Researchers intentions, religious /ideological background and reasons for choosing the concept of world citizen explained.• Reasons for choosing the research topic and ideological standpoint.• Intuitive conclusion regarding the operational organization of different identities at International Students House ,Delhi University in early 90s and then explained in the dissertation relating to the work of Nimmi Hutnik.
  7. 7. References for promotion of the concept of world citizen• The portion of the thesis refers to the promotion of the concept of world citizenship as an attitude. Malaysian government is referred to be the one referring all to be world citizens.• Youth groups in Bhutan are referring to be promoting global citizenship.• Save the Children UK is referred to be promoting global citizenship education• The holy Qur’aan refers all to be part of one Ummah from Adam and Even and then all are referred to be posterity of those saved in the Arc of Noah that was constructed by prophet Noah for the people of house who believed in him and those among his people who believed along with one pair of all the animals.
  8. 8. Mental/Cognitive Representations: Definition and meta- theoretical issues• Mental/Cognitive representations deals with the forms and functions of individual knowledge. It attempts to answer as to how information is represented mentally and how information is used to interact with the world in adaptive ways.• Brief discussion on the Meta-theoretical issues and perspectives with reference to Rationalism vs. Empiricism, formal vs. informal approaches, observational vs. theoretical terms and the terminal postulate.
  9. 9. Anderson and Bower’s division of three postulates• Sensationalistic statements (S.R)• Connectionist Statements implying potentially observable elements if occuring contiguously.• Mechanistic statements
  10. 10. Dictionary Definition of mental representations, its nature• Representations as something exhibited to mind: Likeness, portrait, image or description, a sign or symbol, picture, plastic art or statue and type or example.• Representations can be physical or mental.• Some are picture like ,others are language like.• Representations can be described varying in concreteness- Abstractness.
  11. 11. Levels of the usage of representation concepts• Mental representations that are psychologically ‘real’ in that they are directly expressed as publicly or privately observable events (language ,imagery etc.), structures and processes assumed to underlie the observable representations.• Representations that are used to ‘describe the structure and function of the observable representations.
  12. 12. Representation vs. Process• Representation refers to a structure entirely on which processes and procedures operate whereas process refers to the activities involved in making functional use of the structural information.• Biological vs. cultural sources of representations
  13. 13. Representational concepts• Mental image• Memory trace• Non-verbal mediators (Osgood)• Verbal mediators and logogens• Cell assembly (Hebb)• Template (Neisser,1967)• Prototype (Posner and Keele,1968)• Schema (Mead,1920,Piaget,1926 and Bartlette 1932)• Features( Hubel and Weisel,1962)• Propositions
  14. 14. Propositions• Out of the above, propositions were chosen to be examined with reference to the concept of world citizen in just world order inquiries while keeping in view the other concepts in active consideration.• Proposition is considered as the most theoretical and abstract concept of all the most widely used in the computational models of cognition.• At one level, it serves as lingua franca that can be used to characterize psychological phenomena or redefine other theoretical constructs. For example, it is considered popular today to describe mental images and to recast feature representations, structural descriptions and schema in propositional terms.
  15. 15. ….Propositions• At another level, it is treated as a real representational unit that serves as the basic building block of general knowledge structures.• Propositions are basically truth statements.• Now we examine the antecedents of the concept of world citizen.
  16. 16. Just World Order Values derived from world order model projectsTraditional • Just World Order1. Geopolitical focus is natural 1. Geopolitical focus is the global state system community2. Problems are seen as 2. Problems are seen as interrelated, structural or discreet issues systematic issues3. Analysis is seen as value free 3. Analysis is presumed value4. Priority time dimension is past oriented and present 4. Priority time dimension is future5. Ultimate analytical objective is with past and present instructive description and prediction to it 5. Ultimate analytical objective is6. Large-scale violence is prediction and prescription ordinarily deemed acceptable 6. Large-scale violence is means to implement policy considered unacceptable for7. Human survival is assessed implementing policy problematic 7. Human survival is assessed problematic
  17. 17. Concept of World Citizen in Just World Order Inquiries- Philosophical antecedents• Robert Muller reports how the education on the identity for children has to start through the global to local, through cosmic to terrestrial.He cited the example of this in auroville, Puducherry.• Immanuel Kant’s essay of perpetual peace is an important reference point on reflection on world citizenship in the nation state system granting all have the right to hospitality in a free state bound through federation.• “The greatest problem for the human race to a solution of which nature drives men is the achievement of universal civil society which administers law among men. The problem is the last and the last to be solved by man.” ( KANT, 1963)
  18. 18. …Philosophical antecedentsDefinitive articles forming the second important component of Kant’s essay on perpetual peace• The civil constitution of every state should be republican.• The laws of nation shall be founded on a federation of free states.• The law of world citizenship shall be subjected to universal hospitality.
  19. 19. ….Philosophical antecedents• In India, Dr.S Radhakrishnan was universalistic and held passionate plea for a human society where all human being world citizens• For this to happen, he called for spiritual unity• Treatment of the concept of world citizen in post- modernism viewed from European experience of modernism. This implies that the concept of world citizen could be one truth claim that could be subjected to democratic deliberation without using force.
  20. 20. Theological antecedents• In the Islamic narrative , all are world citizens subject to endeavors for temporal and eternal wellbeing.• In the Indian textual traditions specially in the polytheistic narrative following the theory of reincarnation, all are subject to salvation through attainting a karmic record in the varnas to which people are born.• In the monotheistic Indian narration, all irrespective of identities and family background are subjects for eternal wellbeing following the best ideals and role models• In general, universal religions seeking adherents globally treat all as potential adherents and thus there are fraternities and sisterhoods in faith that bind all.
  21. 21. Readings in Diagnosis and Prognosis of the World Orders• Mahbubul Haque• Frederick Henrique Cardoso, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Robert Penrose, Any Rand, Karl Marx• Rajni Kothari, Ashish Nandi, Meera Nanda, Rosi Braidotti• Frank Feather, AL Basham, RS Sharma, Sumit Chakravarty• Joseph Nye, Richard B Norgaard,Amartya Sen• Ali Mazrui• Ali Shariati ,David Harvey, Zygmunt Bauman etc.and plenty of journals ,newspapers, magazines available in the libraries of Delhi.
  22. 22. Important events initiated /co- organized by the researcher• Taking up the concept of world citizen for research as a Ph.D was done for addressing the critical issues and responding to critical questions related to identity.• This made the researcher participate in the campus activities and initiate some critical activities for generating a better understanding of the issues.• In pursuance of the decision of the general body meeting of International Students House, Delhi University in 1989, the researcher as vice-president /acting president of International Students House Union organized Youth March for Humanity Against Nuclear Weapons and Arms Race on September 5,1989 from International Students House to University Stadium where the marchers were addressed by Margret Alva.• A call for United Nations was read by the researcher with Zhoponeyi Zuo addressing the gathering as Convener of the March.
  23. 23. …contd• A seminar on Ethnicity, Self Determination and Xenophobia organized in 1992 in the background of the most heinous crimes against muslims in Bosnia Herzgovina (formerly part of Ugoslavia) in the post-cold war era .• Leading a delegation of international scholars and student to Eternal Voyage, An International Meet of Tribal and Analogous Peoples on the eve of international year of indigenous people in 1992.• Mosaic of cultures at Hansraj College 1993
  24. 24. … contd• Publication of letters in Asian Age bemoaning the thesis of Samuel P Huntington from the perspective of ecological safety.• Denouncing the bare-breasted cartoon of Queen Noor Jehan, the wife of Emperor Jehangeer assuming that the cartoon was inspired by post- modernist ethos of denunciation of all truth claims with liberty for all forms of expressions.• Critique of the letter by Juliet Reynolds• Defense of arch-conservatism considering the respect of the institution of family across the faith narratives.
  25. 25. Researcher’s responses to the ongoing major political, cultural and thought processes• Conceptual organisation formed for defining the terms of artistic and cultural criticism• Eternity Index proposed in the international meet for analyzing the habitats, consumption and production patterns making a sharp distinction between renewable and non-renewable resources.• With value ranging between 1 and 0 considering the dependence on non-renewable resource based services and commodities, the indigenous people living in pristine agriculture and pastoral based habitats with ecologically sustainable livelihood were declared to have the value of 1 while the rest in skyscraper based habitats were declared to have 0 value on the Eternity Index.
  26. 26. …contd. Interests of the children of 40th century invoked• Recognizing the critical need to transition to an age when non-renewable resources would not be there, the interests of children of 40 th century are invoked.• This was done for shaping the consumption, production and habitats now preventing the expansion of non-renewable resource based urban habitats• It was realised that concept of world citizen enables this transition in the best way.
  27. 27. Methodology• Discourse analysis through defining framework for global governance following the just order values accepted as the defining values for analyzing propositions as cognitive representation for the concept of world citizen.• Administering questionnaires among the students, diplomats, university teachers, journalists and embassies for examining the understanding of nation state, implication of the adoption world citizenship, identification of the names considered world citizens among the respondents• Administering the questionnaire on the attributes of a world citizen
  28. 28. Findings• There are two levels of findings- first is the finding from the overall engagement with the issues as a participant observer and the second level of findings are derived from administering the questionnaires.• Somehow the finding from engagements dominated the findings from the questionnaires as these showed prescription for the establishment of just world order in monotheistic framework.
  29. 29. Recommendations• Global adoption of monotheistic framework for addressing the significant global challenges.• Denunciation of atheistic hegemony both in neo- liberal and communist perspective.• Suggestion for reviewing the classification related to homosexuality revised in 1969 through the vote of psychiatrists in USA.• Monotheistic framework recommended for addressing ecological, political, economic and cultural issues.
  30. 30. ..contd• Revisiting anti-church literature in Europe from the purist Islamic perspective and discussing the implication afresh for best relations with muslim world.• All are de-facto world citizens with family background and roots .The challenge is to establish world government with justice and abundant peace and cooperation across the nations and within the social groups.• More in the dissertation
  31. 31. Limitations• Mixture of methods rendering the research findings getting closer to more subjectivity.• Theoretical denunciations need more analytical rigor with detailed description. However, this would have made the dissertation more bulky.• Full-bodied prescription for just world order was beyond the remit of the thesis.
  32. 32. Electronic discussions where the finding of the thesis were shared• World Bank supported discussion on business ethics• Takingitglobal• UNDP discussion on Capacity Building• Global Knowledge for Development e-discussion on globalisation• GKD discussion on global development gateway for the foundational principles• Global Justice Movement• International Simultaneous Policy Discussion• Open Politics• Cybernetica exploring evolution, cognitive change and future world order• Millennium Forum on the eve of new millennium with participation of Jame N Rose, Dennis Oku, Craig Hubley, Robkey E George, Wesley E Burt, Jennifer Courioro, Michell Bird etc. Craig Hubley , an anarchist Green supported the researchers call for making a distinction between who advocated the culture of prayer and those who did not.