key words: human ecology polemology history medical war
research social responsibility trauma stress coping enemy fellowship
funding oekologie polemologie geschichte medizin arzt krieg verhuetung
wissenschaft sozial verantwortung feind mitarbeit finanzierung stiftung
integral studies carries out and promotes work in the overlapping fields of human ecology and polemology. These disciplines with their complex and wide-ranging theoretical bases are well suited to help us achieve our scientific and educational aims. These aims include the study of individuals and groups in their sociopolitical environments, their involvement in conflicts, their traumatic reactions to and coping with social stress and with complex macrosocial problems of our time; and to research the root causes of socially responsible behaviour.
Following definitions and brief descriptions of human ecology and polemology, some examples of completed and on-going work in the form of research and other activities and functions are given. Colleagues who have endorsed our work and experts who have helpfully advised are listed under "endorsements". Finally the dependence of future expansion and developments on finance is indicated.
HUMAN ECOLOGY has been defined as the science which addresses the whole interaction between human beings and their surrounding outer world (Felix Tretter, Psychosozial 35, 1988). Obviously, no single scientist, institute or even university can study all facets of this interaction. Ecologists work by combining and integrating methods and knowledge derived from a variety of scientific fields and aim to make their work achievable by selecting concrete problem areas for intensive study.
Thus the ecological approach is particularly appropriate for research concerning human reactions and behaviour in the macrosocial and global spheres. Conventional research of human behaviour and health may ignore the physical and social environment and commonly restricts such considerations to the life partner, family, workplace or school. We study human stress, coping and behaviour, in context, arising in interaction with problems such as the politics of civil rights, social injustice, war, the threat of nuclear/ chemical/ biological war, confronting destruction of and promoting healing of the natural environment.
POLEMOLOGY (the word is derived from the Greek "polemos", war) refers not only to the study of conflict and war but also to the study of conflict resolution, of the prevention of war, of peace and of the causes and maintenance of peace. The field of peace research belongs to polemology as does medical polemology, the study of the effects of war on human health. Recognition of the highly destructive nature of modern war, indeed that a nuclear war could lead to the ending of all life on earth (at least, to the creation of a planet "of insects and grass" (Jonathon Schell. The fate of the earth. Cape, 1982)) led medical polemologists to develop both research and practice in preventive polemology which aims, both at the local and global levels, to find ways to prevent war and to promote stable peace. As a result of these developments one group of medical polemologists, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, IPPNW, received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1985 (see Note 1). A glance at the sorry state of international affairs and at the many wars and civil conflicts currently going on must make it clear that the science of war prevention and of securing peace is in its infancy. Basic requirements for "preventive" polemology include familiarity with numerous academic disciplines such as history, philosophy, political science, war studies, psychology, anthropology, economics, government and public administration, educational science, communications research. Groups which have made efforts to promote the interdisciplinary co-operation required include peace researchers and also the British "Medical Association for the Prevention of War", founded in the 1950s, lately affiliated with groups of "Physicians for Social Responsibility" in many countries across the world. The subjects in the research and educational curriculum of these groups reflect the polemological approach, ranging from: analysis of military affairs such as the study of effects on people of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; social violence such as torture, abuses of human rights; political abuse of medical science, e.g. of psychiatry; the health effects of the (civil and military) nuclear industry; third party mediation in conflicts and war; the psychology of aggressive behaviour and of peace promoting behaviour. The scientific discourse in polemology is aided by international journals such as "Medicine and War" which solicits articles from a broad spectrum of disciplines, so helping to promote communication and co-operation of academics and practitioners of social change and politics with health scientists concerned to promote global public health.
Polemology may be described as a discipline which helps us to test
reality and enables us to underpin our work in human ecology by
answers to such questions as "What are the problems of priority which
need to tackle in order to prevent conflict and promote peace?". And
constitutes socially responsible behaviour in the modern world?". Thus
we have a substantial reference base to assist us in identifying topics
for analysis and research.
some achievements and on-going projects of integral studies
Mental trauma and its cultural dynamics.
The focus until now has been on eastern Europe and the USSR. Soon after the apparent collapse of the communist system in 1989 we initiated a process of dialogue and research. We co-organised international meetings in 1990 (Nordwijkerhout, The Netherlands), 1992 (Amsterdam), 1993 (Cincinnati, Ohio) and 1993 (San Antonio, Texas) with the aims of learning more about how people lived during the 40 or 70 years of communist rule, about the experience which individuals had with various aspects of political repression, about how traumatisation occurred and about its long-term, including trans-generational effects. We initiated a psycho-ecological approach to understanding the individual in her/his socio-political environment by inviting academic colleagues in history, sociology, literature, psychology and psychiatry to take part. Given the real and threatened conflicts in many parts of the former soviet union and eastern Europe and given our knowledge that old wounds, even those many hundreds of years old, can surface as aggression and be mobilised by war-lords, it is important to sound the depths of human suffering and to attempt to promote healing both of individuals and groups, large and small. In one part of our project we work closely with psychotherapists from countries of eastern Europe and the former USSR. We ask them to consider the psychopolitical factors which appear to contribute to trauma among their clients, also to go out into the community, to approach victims of oppression, then to select cases which we discuss in intensive, multi-cultural workshops.
A book containing some of these reports is in preparation, in
with the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute.
Macrosocial stress, coping and action.
We have researched how children and youth perceive the macrosocial or "global" world, discovered with which personal and which "political" fears they live, which coping strategies they adopt for problems and fears such as the worsening of hunger across the world, industrial pollution and its global effects, the threat of international conflict. We also investigated value systems, attitudes including "macho" tendencies and the development of "enemy" concepts. From our research into the implications for long-term health of different ways of coping in the macrosocial domain we can offer guidelines to parents and teachers who are concerned to help children cope with uncertainties about their own future, about the fate of human society and of our planet. We studied longitudinally in Germany and west Berlin from 1985 to 1992. Our results have been widely published.
some functions of integral studies
Analysis: Aspects of social and environmental stress, potential and existing trauma, human rights questions and the progress of socially responsible behaviour, for instance in relation to promoting participatory democracy, are being monitored from press reports and from the scientific literature. Regions covered include eastern and western Europe. We work closely with our consultants who are experts on the various regions. Analysis will be aided by improvement in the documentation (below) and by the contributions of our own research.
Research: See list of topics, around which we seek to expand interest and task groups. A basic tool for future work will be the "field study" which contributes to creating an ecology, a science of social responsibility in action. For a given country or region an experienced researcher, usually an expert in the sociopolitics of the given region or co-operating closely with such a person, examines the general living conditions, the physical health and the psychological status of the population. Trauma, especially that of sociopolitical origin, the growing points of and barriers to social responsibility will be sounded out by seeking contact to sensitive observers, for instance, in the case of trauma, to practising psychotherapists and in the case of socially responsible action to persons and groups working creatively for social development and environmental protection. Field research reports will be evaluated in the multidisciplinary group of integral studies' colleagues and network of expert associates. (See also above "...achievements and ongoing projects...", above.)
Experience and knowledge drawn from field studies and insights from analyses provide the basis for more detailed research into the roots of socially responsible behaviour and into the effects and meaning of trauma and extreme stress for individuals and societies. Also, importantly, the contacts made and human exchange fostered in, for instance, international colloquia of the sort which we have organised, contribute to a sensitive trans-cultural process, which is potentially peace-promoting, analogous to diplomacy.
Documentation: A substantial collection of scientific papers, articles from journals of social and political analysis and press cuttings is available to integral studies. Special collections have been made on the topics of "children and youth coping with global threats", on aspects of sociopolitical behaviour, pro-social human action, engagement and commitment for "worthy causes" and on "Mental trauma and its cultural dynamics", focussing till now on eastern Europe and the former USSR. In co-operation with members of the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Bildungsforschung (human development and educational science), Berlin, a major bibliographical collection, "The psychological study of peace", containing over 1,500 titles from the last century to the present day, has been assembled, catalogued and presented as a book.
Commentary on current events: Institutes with academic aims, often richly supported by public funding, are often guilty of "ivory tower" behaviour. integral studies, in contrast, aims to promote public debate on important issues of our time, especially where desirable open expression of concern appears to be lacking. A recent example has been the issue of human violence, that which appears to be of racist or neo-nazi origin, in contemporary Germany. An international correspondence in the form of a questionnaire about social response and professional caring for victims of violence has been initiated and has provoked a mainly positive, sometimes rather fiery response. Also, a special journal issue on racism and violence, proposed and co-edited by integral studies staff, is in press.
Commissioned reports: May be requested by interested persons, public and private bodies, institutes and others.
Consultancy: An example will be given. In the frightening "run-up" period and during the second Gulf war many people in Europe felt threatened and uncertain about how to behave. Children expressed their fear and asked parents many awkward questions. During this time we were consulted and interviewed by newspapers and other news media, by parents' associations and by school teachers to answer questions about the way people can cope with macrosocial stresses of this type, how to help children through such times, about social responsibility and options for political action.
We are available for consultation on broader questions relating to
ecology and polemology and on all special topics mentioned above. We
be interested, for instance, to consult on design of research and
programmes, with social and environmental change groups, political
international organisations, (we liaise with Medical Association for
Prevention of War, which has N.G.O. status at the United Nations),
wishing to assess applications for funds, publishing houses seeking
or deciding upon future publishing aims.
endorsements of integral studies' work
Projects which contribute to the integral studies programme and proposals have received support from and been endorsed by a number of experienced, skilled and distinguished colleagues.
Work on trauma and extreme stress of sociopolitical origin endorsed by: Prof. Joannes Groen, The Netherlands, a founder of psychosomatic medicine (deceased), Valerian Tuculescu M.D., founder of the Roumanian Society for the Renewal of Psychiatry, Prof. Thure von Uexküll, the most distinguished German psychosomatic physician, Jacob Lindy M.D, Director of the Psychoanalytic Institute, Cincinnati Ohio and former president of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies ISTSS, Robert Jay Lifton, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, City University of New York, Wolfgang Templin, former German Democratic Republic, political analyst, human rights and peace activist, Milan Horacek, former Green Party member of Bundestag (German parliament), now Director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Prague, Czech Republic.
Work on children and youth coping with "the global world" endorsed
Dr. Eric Chivian, Boston USA, co-founder of International Physicians
the Prevention of Nuclear War, Prof. Rachel Rosser, Director of
University College London and President of the Royal Society of
section of Psychiatry, Prof. Harald Theml, cancer specialist, founder
Physicians for Ecological Responsibility, Karlsruhe Germany, Prof.
Edelstein, Co-Director, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Bildungsforschung
development and educational research) Berlin Germany, Prof. Helen
social psychologist, University of Bath England, Prof. John P.
sociologist, USSR specialist, University of California at Berkeley.
developments depend on finance
New funding is required to intensify work on the field studies programme, for the co-ordination of working groups doing analysis, research and public education in several areas (see Note 2). For example, aspects of "oral history" including research into mental trauma are especially urgent because many actors and witnesses of life and events during seventy years of the USSR are elderly. We need commitment from donors to support integral studies Fellowships of one to five years to be taken up by experienced scholars. For the planned expansion of integral studies we need to finance additional posts for research, administration, archive and public relations workers (some with long-term contracts, some in short term associateships or fellowships) plus more office space and equipment.
Capital donations and legacies are welcomed for the investment fund
which is required to guarantee long term independence of research and
also to allow needed continuity of archival and research work in the
but inherently controversial fields of polemology and human ecology.
The PSAMRA project, which
to the integral studies programme,
the International Research Award of Nobel Peace Prize winners IPPNW in
Topics in the integral studies programme include:
- political behaviour (including the non-conventional and extra-parliamentary),
- democratic decision making; options for improvement, participation of citizens, applications of computing. (We propose a comparative study of (rich) western style democracies, to show how they work in practice, their strengths and weakness, the results to be placed "on the public agenda")
- the individual and economic change; how do individual perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour relate to the use of raw materials, production, consumption and environmental costs, and to possible changes in the direction of sustainable human activity?
- mental trauma of sociopolitical origin - coping with recent history, e.g. GDR, eastern Europe,
- children, youth and the "global world" (macrosocial processes, aspects of health and coping).
Copyright: Psycho-Social and Medical Research, Berlin.
Updated February 2003
Wer weiteres wissen moechte wird gebeten, den Kontakt aufzunehmen.
For further information please contact:
Dr. Michael Macpherson M.R.C.P. (U.K.)
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