Does radical inclusion trump gifting?

While envisioning how to build a learning community based on the Ten Principles, we found that sometimes the principles conflict with one another.  For example:

If people choose not to share their gifts with us, is it okay to bar them from our learning community?

On the one hand, the principle of Radical Inclusion would have us welcome everyone with open arms regardless of whether or not they choose to share their gifts.  On the other hand, choosing not to share one’s gifts violates the principles of Gifting and Participation and opens us up to the possibility of creating an unsustainable community overrun by spectators and freeloaders.

How do we resolve this conflict?

This is the first in a series of posts that will recount our journey towards making the Ten Principles a solid foundation for creating thriving learning communities.  Our first clue came from making a decision about the basic nature of the Ten Principles.  We turned to well-known schools of ethical thought to help guide us.

  • Gifts from God?
    We first considered the principles from a deontological perspective.  Enlightening, but not a perfect fit.
  • A Roadmap?
    Our second approach to the principles was through the eyes of utilitarianism.  Closer, but still not there.
  • An Opportunity to Care?
    Things began to feel right when we looked again at the principles through the eyes of a modern feminist ethical theory.
  • Applying What We Learned
    Now that we have a more solid understanding of how we view the Ten Principles, this post articulates how we will apply them in a systematic fashion to foster gift economies in higher education.


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