Institute for Polarities of Democracy



In 2017, the Institute for Polarities of Democracy was established as a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization to promote and advance the Polarity Thinking theory of Dr. Barry Johnson and the Polarities of Democracy theory of Dr. Bill Benet who is currently a Senior Contributing Faculty Member at Walden University. The Institute’s mission of positive social change is to train and educate scholars, researchers, and practitioners in educational and societal settings in using Polarity Thinking and Polarities of Democracy tools and processes to advance organizational well-being and to create healthy, sustainable, and just communities in the United States and internationally.  The Polarities of Democracy theory was developed by Dr. Benet at the University of Toronto from 2001 to 2012. The theory was published in Walden University's Journal of Social Change in 2013. Since that time, a growing number of researchers and practitioners around the world have been using the theory to study and promote positive social change. 

The theory includes ten overarching elements required to fully attain democracy and posits that each of these elements are essential, yet none are sufficient alone. The ten elements are arranged in five interrelated polarity pairs. The theory’s ten elements, in their five polarity pairs are: freedom and authority; justice and due process; diversity and equality; human rights and communal obligations; and participation and representation.
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