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Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases

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Notes on facilitation in a multi-cultural environment are provided separately

System of Magoroh Maruyama
System of Geert Hofstede
System of Kinhide Mushakoji
System of Will McWhinney
System of S Pepper
System of Mary Douglas
System of Howard Gardner
System of W T Jones
System of Emmanuel Todd

1. System of Magoroh Maruyama

(Mindscapes, social patterns and future development of scientific theory types. Cybernetica, 1980, 23, 1, pp. 5-25)

Four epistemological mindscapes:

1.1 H-mindscape (homogenistic, hierarchical, classificational): Parts are subordinated to the whole, with subcategories neatly grouped into supercategories. The strongest, or the majority, dominate at the expense of the weak (whether values, policies, problems, priorities, etc). Logic is deductive and axiomatic demanding sequential reasoning. Cause-effect relations may be deterministic or probabilistic.

1.2 I-mindscape (heterogenistic, individualistic, random): Only individuals are real, even when aggregated into society. Emphasis on self-sufficiency, independence and individual values. Design favours the random, the capricious and the unexpected. Scheduling and planning are to be avoided. Non-random events are improbable. Each question has its own answer; there are no universal principles.

1.3 S-mindscape (heterogenistic, interactive, homeostatic): Society consists of heterogeneous individuals who interact non-hierarchically to mutual advantages. Mutual dependency. Differences are desirable and contribute to the harmony of the whole. Maintenance of the natural equilibrium. Values are interrelated and cannot be rank-ordered. Avoidance of repetition. Causal loops. Categories not mutually exclusive. Objectivity is less useful than 'cross-subjectivity' or multiple viewpoints. Meaning is context dependent.

1.4 G-mindscape (heterogenistic, interactive, morphogenetic): Heterogeneous individuals interact non-hierarchically for mutual benefit, generating new patterns and harmony. Nature in continually changing requiring allowance for change. Values interact to generate new values and meanings. Values of deliberate (anticipatory) incompleteness. Causal loops. Multiple evolving meanings.

2. System of Geert Hofstede

(Culture's Consequences: international diffrences in work-related values. Sage, 1984)

Four indices of work-related values:

2.1 Power distance: Namely the attitude to human inequality. The index developed groups information on perceptions of an organizational superior's style, colleague's fear to disagree with the superior, and the type of decision-making that subordinates prefer in a superior.

2.2 Uncertainty avoidance: Namely the tolerance for uncertainty which determines choices of technology, rules and rituals to cope with it in organizations. The index developed groups information on rule orientation, employment stability and stress.

2.3 Individualism: Namely the relationship between the individual and the collectivity which prevails in a given society, especially as reflected in the way people choose to live and work together. The index distinguishes between the importance attached to personal life and the importance attached to organizational determination of life style and orientation.

2.4 Masculinity: Namely the extent to which biological differences between the sexes should or should not have implications for social activities that are transferred by socialization in families, schools, peer groups and through the media. The index developed measures the extent to which people endorse goals more popular with men or with women.

3. System of Kinhide Mushakoji

(Scientific revolution and interparadigmatic dialogue. Tokyo, United Nations University, GPID project, 1978)

Four modalities through which the human mind grasps reality:

3.1 Affirmation: Leading to affirmative action in the form of support, commitment, initiative, proposition, cooperation, consensus formation, empowering, 'opening'.

3.2 Negation: Leading to negative action in the form of sanction, withdrawal (of support), denial, disassociation, delimitation, criticism, opposition, promotion of dissent, disempowering, 'closing'.

3.3 Affirmation and negation: Leading to ambiguous action, non-violent resistance, 'dumb insolence', 'giving with one hand and taking with the other', 'double dealing', 'stick and carrot tactics', the 'yes but no' response of the frustrated cross-examinee.

3.4 Non-affirmation and Non-negation: Leading to action in the form of indifference, indecision, non-action (in the oriental sense), 'neither confirm nor deny', 'opening and closing'.

4. System of Will McWhinney

(Paths of Change: strategic choices for organizations and society. Sage, 1991)

Four modes of reality construction (resolution and change):

4.1 Analytic mode: Based on empirical thinking and depends on hypo-deductive and inductive methods, using all logics, theories and information available to the senses to identify possible solutions, predict implications, and evaluate outcomes. Currently associated with the scientific and quantitative methods. Provides no guide for the processes of change but determines (or predicts) outcomes. Change is driven by the sense of efficiency, of optimally organizing to produce that which can be produced.

4.2 Dialectic mode: Composed of a variety of methods which may appear to be totally distinct and arising from contrary world views based on unitary premises (and therefore held to be intimately related). Encompasses the mode of argument, of disputation among partisans of opposing views and of adversarial encounter -- all as methods of unification. Change serves to cleanse the system of error, correct for deviation from the norm, or protect the domain of truth. In the formation of synthesis, evolution occurs as a historically driven imperative that progressively cleanses the organization of impure functions.

4.3 Axiotic mode: Based on value exploration, resolving issues by developing new, and shared, evaluations of events. May work through 'recontexting' or 'transformation' of images by which an issue is 'dissolved'. Concerned with questions of morality, fairness and interpersonal behaviour as having value in and of themselves. Changes induced may affect the ideology of a system and thus be profoundly disturbing to and often blocked by those of unitary belief.

4.4 Mythic mode: Based on methods of symbolic creation. At the deepest level, mythic events create new meaning, literally producing something out of nothing. Resolution is produced by transcending existing structures and meanings that are given to words, situations, objects, and stories. Mythic inventions successful in engendering large scale change are those which are in tune with the needs of the cultural system into which they are injected. They are typically associated with charismatic leadership that captures the will and faith of the involved population. Major methods are those associated with creative endeavour, use of intuition and strong adherence to premises of the mythic reality.

5. System of S Pepper

(World Hypotheses: a study in evidence. University of California Press, 1942)

Four world hypotheses:

5.1 Formism: Grounded on the common sense experience of similarity and a correspondence theory of truth, expressed in the case of geography in a preoccupation with mapping.

5.2 Mechanism: Based on a causal adjustment theory of truth, taking the machine as the root metaphor, resulting in a preoccupation with special systems and functional mechanisms in the case of geography.

5.3 Organicism: Based on a coherence theory of truth, regarding every event as a more or less concealed process within an organic whole.

5.4 Contextualism: Based on an operational theory of truth, seeing the world as an arena of unique events.

6. System of Mary Douglas

(Natural Symbols: explorations in cosmology. Pelikan, 1973)

Four systems of natural symbols in which the image of the body is used in different ways to reflect and enhance each persons experience of society:

6.1 Body conceived as an organ of communication: 'The major preoccupations will be with its functioning effectively; the relation of head to subordinate members will be a model of the central nervous system, the favourite metaphors of statecraft will harp upon the flow of blood in the arteries, sustenance and restoration of strength.'

6.2 Body seen as a vehicle of life: As such 'it will be vulnerable in different ways. The dangers to it will come...from failure to control the quality of what it absorbs through its orifices; fear of poisoning, protection of boundaries, aversion to bodily waste products, and medical theory that enjoins frequent purging.'

6.3 Practical concern with possible uses of bodily rejects: As such it will be 'very cool about recycling waste matter and about the pay-off from such practices....In the control areas of this society controversies about spirit and matter will scarcely arise.'

6.4 Life seen as spiritual, and the body as irrelevant matter: 'In these types of social experience, a person feels that his personal relations, so inexplicably unprofitable, are in the sinister grip of a social system. It follows that the body tends to serve as a symbol of evil, as a structured system contrasted with pure spirit which by its nature is free and undifferentiated. The millennialist...believes in a Utopian world in which goodness of heart can prevail without institutional devices'.

7. System of Howard Gardner

(Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. Heinemann, 1984)

Six forms of intelligence:

7.1 Linguistic intelligence: This is demonstrated by a sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, inflections and meter, a special clarity of awareness of the core operation of language. Such gifts are particularly characteristic of poets; but are said to be universally relevant in order: to use rhetoric in order to convince others; to remember information mnemonically; to explain something clearly to others (even when what is being explained is mathematical, logical or whatever); and to understand language itself. This intelligence is shown to be rooted in the left hemisphere of the brain; and although the right-hemisphere may be used to learn both to read and to speak, such ability will be somewhat restricted.

7.2 Musical intelligence: Such intelligence has as its centre the relating of emotional and motivational factors to the perceptual ones; music is a way of capturing and communicating feelings and knowledge about feelings. Musical ability is centred in the right-hemisphere of the brain and varies widely among individuals and cultures. It seems to be used in exploring and interpreting other forms of intelligence.

7.3 Logical/mathematical intelligence: This is developed first from the ability to recognize classes or sets of physical objects; and later by conceptualizing classes or sets of objects or ideas in the mind and understanding logical connections among them. Central features are: the ability to identify and then solve significant problems; memory for repetitive patterns and the ability to compare and operate upon such patterns mentally; and an intuitive feel for logical relationship.

7.4 Spatial intelligence: An accurate perception of the physical world, an ability to transform or modify these perceptions, and the recreating of certain aspects of visual experience without relevant physical stimuli -these are all part of spatial ability. Centred in the right-hemisphere of the brain, spatial skills are typical of cultures where tracking, hunting and visual recognition of the environment are paramount; but present-day Western culture requires it no less, whether for the architects or the mathematical topologist or the molecular biologist.

7.5 Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence: Skill in controlling bodily movements and in the ability to manipulate objects combine in this intelligence, which has been valued in many cultures as the harmony between mind and body - the mind trained to use the body properly and the body to respond to the mind. It reaches its height in dance, which has supernatural connotations in some cultures, and in other performing roles. Low bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence is equated, in India for example, with immaturity.

7.6 Personal intelligence: These are centred on the concept of the individual self and may be considered as:

8. System of W T Jones

(The Romantic Syndrome: toward a new method in cultural anthropology and the history of ideas. The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1961)

Seven axes of methodological bias:

8.1 Order vs disorder: Namely the range between a preference for system, structure, conceptual clarity, etc. and a preference for fluidity, muddle chaos, etc.

8.2 Static vs dynamic: Namely the range between a preference for the changeless, eternal, etc. and a preference for movement, for explanation in genetic and process terms, etc.

8.3 Continuity vs discreteness: Namely the range between a preference for wholeness, unity, etc and a preference for discreteness, plurality, diversity, etc.

8.4 Inner vs outer: Namely the range between a preference for being able to project oneself into the objects of one's experience (to experience them as one experiences oneself), and a preference for a relatively external, objective relation to them.

8.5 Sharp focus vs soft focus: Namely the range between a preference for clear, direct experience and a preference for threshold experiences, felt to be saturated with more meaning than is immediately present.

8.6 This world vs other world: Namely the range between preference for belief in the spatio-temporal world as self-explanatory and preference for belief that it is not and can only be comprehended in terms of other frames.

8.7 Spontaneity vs process: Namely the range between a preference for chance, freedom, accident, etc and a preference for explanations subject to laws and definable processes.

9. System of Emmanuel Todd

(La Troisième Planète: structures familiales et systèmes idéologiques. Paris, 1983)

Eight family types associated with different socio-political systems:

9.1 Exogamic communal family: Namely favouring the emergence of communist socio-political systems (e.g. Russia, certain Slavic countries, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, Northern India)

9.2 Exogamic authoritarian family: Namely favouring an asymmetric pluralism characteristic of socialist and socio-democratic forces (e.g. Germanic countries, Sweden, Norway, Gaelic countries, Northern Spain, Japan, Korea, Jews, Gypsies).

9.3 Exogamic nuclear family: Namely favouring the emergence of individualistic systems of one kind (e.g. Northern France, Northern Italy, Greece, Poland, Latin America, Ethiopia).

9.4 Exogamic absolute nuclear family: Namely favouring the emergence of a second kind of individualism.

9.5 Endogamic communal family: Namely characterized by frequent marriage between children of brothers (e.g. Arab countries, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and southern Soviet Republics).

9.6 Endogamic asymmetric communal family: Namely characterized by frequent marriage between children of brother and sister (e.g. Southern India) favouring the emergence of a caste system.

9.7 Anomic family: Namely characterized by flexible heritage and cohabitation arrangements with possible consanguineous marriage (e.g. South-East Asia and South American Indians) favouring political ambivalence and socio-political systems such as that based on Buddhism.

9.8 Dynamically unstable domestic family: Namely characterized by the dynamic instability of the domestic family group and polygyny, favouring the emergence of socio-political systems dependent on authoritarian forces in order maintain social stability (e.g. African family systems, from available information).

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