Exploring Ancestral Meaning Systems as They Relate to Leadership and Authority

Exploring Ancestral Meaning Systems as They Relate to Leadership and Authority

An online Group Relations conference, 16—18 February 2023

Group Relations Conferences represent the meeting point of a breadth of academic and phenomenal viewpoints. In many ways it is a synthetic-syncretic roadmap illuminating the path of human behaviour and thought processes. Group Relations’ unique proposition is: that the individual human being cannot be understood without consideration and appreciation of the context, both temporal and spatial, in which they are embedded and from which they emerge.

The work of psychoanalysis, one of the foundational concepts in Group Relations Conference thinking and action, has a clearly historical approach. Psychoanalysis states that our adult mental state and its associated behaviour, has at its roots, our early childhood experiences. Further illustration of the historical approach is the nature of the psychoanalytic profession itself.

The importance placed on the lineage of the analyst is significant – many analysts spend time researching and drawing a line from Freud, Klein, Bion and Jung for example, down to their present analytic circle. A bit like the old testament lineage of Adam and Eve, where “x begat y”, analysts take pride in and take seriously the pedigree of their analytic lineage. Likewise, many older systems of learning and sensemaking, sometimes called Shamanic or Traditional systems, also consider the importance of lineage and their impact on our daily lives.

In these traditional contexts, the terms used are ancestors. It is believed that Ancestors are living beings, who no longer have human bodies, but are vitally engaged in the shaping of human affairs, if one knows how to engage, listen and respond to them. Ancestral meaning systems also relate to our ancestors in Group Relations work – when we stand on the shoulders of giants to look to the here-and-now and the future. Then we encounter ancestors in our places of work – those we can identify with and those we are uncertain how to engage with. Then, our ancestors from our familial lineage also impacts of lives in ways we do not always reflect on.

This unique Group Relations Conference opens a portal for us to explore what is possible in making sense of the notion of ancestor, and to study what it could mean for our “here and now”, and what ancestral voices might mean in a cross-trans-post-colonial epistemology of what it means to be human, and how they relate to leadership and authority.

This conference is “Live-Online” from the Cradle of Civilisation, South Africa, and invites all interested in exploring the shamanic, and systems psychoanalytic in contemporary contexts and across generations.

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