Definitions – What is Reflexivity?

What does in mean to be reflexive?

“Common notions of being reflexive can be understood by referring to the capacity of a negotiator or mediator and their ability to recognise forces of socialisation in situations of conflict and proceeding to alter an approach, opinion or a potential course of action based on these insights.

A lower level of reflexivity would result in an individual shaped largely by their environment or society. A high level of social reflexivity would be defined by an individual consciously shaping their own values, morals, ethics, norms, tastes, politics, desires, and so on.

In the general sense, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect so relationships that are bidirectional with an understanding by both parties of the cause and the effect impacting on one another. In sociology, reflexivity therefore comes to mean an act of self-reference where examination or action, refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination.

Being reflexive or exercising reflexivity in Lateral Love™ terms refers to our ability to identify, acknowledge, understand, unpack and interpret our own cultural position when we interact with others.

We must have true reflexivity to begin to create culturally safe environments in all areas of our own existence, in our relationships (both personal and professional), in the home, within our communities, in our schools and education facilities, in service delivery areas and particularly within Government, because at the end of the day aren’t our Ministers, politicians and public servants just people with families and cultural values, morals, beliefs, standards and ethics – just like the rest of us?

Cultural safety by definition concerns the experience one feels in their physical surroundings born out of these interactive behaviours and perceptions, which are based on our individual values, morals, beliefs, standards and ethics.

The ability to be reflexive therefore a very important tool that we can use to understand ourselves, so our own personal culture becomes evident and we can become more aware of how our own personal cultural values impact upon others.

This is important particularly in regard to our basic fundamental interactions such as everyday conversations and our subsequent actions and reactions to our everyday communications, which leads on to how we interpret the intentions of others in the part they play in our conversations, actions and reactions, which are all formed subconsciously by our underlying values, morals, beliefs, standards and ethics as we make our way about in the world.

A culturally safe and secure environment is one where all people naturally feel safe and draw strength in their identity, culture and community regardless of age, race, creed, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.

 

Depending on our cultural background, upbringing, education, socialisation and our positioning within our familial and kinship structures, this all becomes subjective to the individual and may/ or may not be, in conflict with the internal view previously held of ourselves either personally or professionally.

To change any trajectory, true reflexivity is required along with a positive attitude to further develop personally in our skills and abilities to participate in life in a mutually respectful way.” ~ Nicola Butler

© Lateral Love™ 2012 – 2014

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