UK Anthroposophy

Defining an Anthroposophical Organisation

Much of my research into the UK Anthroposophy movement involves looking at the movement at an organisational level. To do that it’s essential to be able to distinguish Anthroposophic from non-Anthroposophic organisations. Four operational definitions have been constructed to test an organisation by and an organisation meeting any one of the four definitions is logged and researched. The definitions rely on what organisations say about themselves, what others say about them and what formal relationships they might have with other organisations. They can be applied to forms of organisation at the level of single organisations upwards and so can include associative organisations such as federations, partners, affiliations and the like.

The first operational definition relies on what an organisation says about itself in its

governing documents.

1) If in its governing documents an organisation states in regard to Rudolf Steiner or

Anthroposophic beliefs and principles that it

– holds to those principles or beliefs

– advances or promotes or furthers those principles or beliefs

– operates in accordance with those principles or beliefs

then the organisation is considered Anthroposophical for research purposes.

The second operational definition relies on written and other materials issued by the

organisation.

2) If in written or other materials issued by the organisation the organisation

states that in regard to Steiner or Anthroposophic beliefs and principles it

– holds to those principles or beliefs

– advances or promotes or furthers those principles or beliefs

– operates in accordance with those principles or beliefs

then the organisation is considered Anthroposophical for the purposes of this

study.

The third operational definition relies on the formal associative links an organisation

has with other organisations and relies on the nature of the organisation linked to.

3) If the organisation is a formal member of an organisation that is an

association, federation or other form of umbrella group and the umbrella

group states that in regard to Steiner or Anthroposophic beliefs and

principles it

– holds to those principles or beliefs

– advances or promotes or furthers those principles or beliefs

– operates in accordance with those principles or beliefs

then the organisation is considered Anthroposophical for research purposes.

The fourth operational definition relies on the assessment of an organisation by

regulatory bodies.

4) If a regulatory body assesses an organisation or describes an organisation in

such a way that in regard to Steiner or Anthroposophic beliefs and principles

the organisation

– holds to those principles or beliefs

– advances or promotes or furthers those principles or beliefs

– operates in accordance with those principles or beliefs

then the organisation is considered Anthroposophical for research purposes.

As it stands the definitions have been in use since 2006/7 when the first phase of the research was conducted. They have proved reliably effective in sifting non-Anthroposophic from Anthroposophic organisations. Problems in usage when relying solely on the third operational definition to define organisations have been noted and are being addressed during the current (second) phase of research. In practice the overwhelming majority of organisations logged as Anthroposophical meet more than one of the operational definitions used to define them.

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