Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases
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Notes on facilitation in a multi-cultural environment are
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
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,
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
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
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,
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
of Change: strategic choices for organizations and society. Sage,
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
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
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
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
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:
- Access to one's own feeling life - this is the development of the internal
aspects of a person and the ability to detect and symbolize complex and highly
differentiated sets of feelings.
- Ability to notice and make distinctions among individuals - to read even the
hidden intentions and desires of others and to use this knowledge to influence their
behaviour. Development of these intelligences leads to self-maturity and to personal
knowledge of one's self as a unique individual.
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,
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
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,
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,
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).