Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dwight Atkinson's Six Principles of Culture (1999)

1. All humans are individuals.

2. Individuality is also cultural.

3. Social group membership and identity are multiple, contradictory, and dynamic.

4. Social group membership is consequential.

5. Methods of studying cultural knowledge and behavior are unlikely to fit a positivist paradigm.

6. Language (learning and teaching) and culture are mutually implicated, but culture is multiple and complex.

Here is a picture of me eating dinner with Dwight Atkinson, or perhaps more accurately, me eating dinner (while eyeing the camera suspiciously) next to Dwight Atkinson, who is barely aware of my presence:

This comes from the JSLW Symposium 2006, which I promised to write about on this website but as yet have not.


Mohammed said...

Hi I am Mohammed from saudi arabia (a big fan) and i teach english as a foreign language.
I read no 5 which states
"Methods of studying cultural knowledge and behavior are unlikely to fit a positivist paradigm"
I assume that learning about culture does not necessarily promote tolerance or a positive attitude, but isn't the other way around, i.e. when we try to formulate a positive view about "any given culture" we normally tend to approach it and understand it for the sake of acceptance.
Hope i am not getting this wrong :)

Joel said...

Hi, Mohammed. I assume you mean you're a fan of Atkinson and not me! I think what Atkinson is talking about here is the philosophy behind the research. Positivism refers to a more “scientific”/“objective” way of viewing academic inquiry. Here's a good example of the difference between positivism and interpretivism. I think Atkinson would advocate the latter as a better method of investigating culture.

On the other hand, I think what you said is very insightful in another context. :-)

Hope that helps a little bit. Thanks for stopping by!

Mohammed said...

yes thank you very much for your help. I learned something new from the page you sent. Now I got the accurate meaning.