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Mary Parker Follett: Social Change, Power and Creativity

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Widespread dissatisfaction with the US status quo points to a yearning for social change. Yet, visions of the nature and methods of social change remain contested; a tension between confrontational and non-confrontational methods for achieving social change persist today. What role does conflict play in social change? How can an understanding of power enhance our capacity for transformative action? Where might we look for change making other than high profile social movements and electoral politics? This panel asks how the revival of Mary Parker Follett’s philosophy, and compatible movements and methods today, may speak to the present need for social change. Panelists will examine her potential contribution to current variations of the School Community Center movement, conflict resolution, human-centered design, and community organizing. In the process, we will seek to illuminate Follett’s contribution to pragmatist methods of social change, American philosophy, and American culture more broadly.


Judy Whipps    
Grand Valley State University
United States

Jon LaRochelle    
University of Oregon
United States


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