I came across this article (linked in the title) recently and it really got me thinking about culture.
In it the author describes three fundamental types of culture:
Power Cultures - where people are driven by fear and a desire to control the world around them. Predominantly in ancient peoples, and animistic tribal peoples today.
Justice Cultures - where people are driven by a sense of guilt and a desire to discern right from wrong; to promote good and punish bad. This is Western culture in the Greco-Roman tradition.
Honor Cultures - where people are driven by a sense of shame and a desire to cover shame; to promote the honor of their family. This is Middle Eastern and East Asian culture.
The paper spent more time dealing with the last two. In large part the paper seemed to be attempting to explain honor cultures to a Western audience, while simultaneously making Westerners aware of how our own culture shades our understanding.
I won't rehash the paper, it is longer but well worth the read.
But here are some reflections:
I have had cross-cultural experiences, but these could be expressed as 'learning different answers to the questions.'
For example, what is a proper greeting? Shaking hands?
What is normal personal space?
How do you express thanks?
But this paper made me realize that all of my cross-cultural experience has been with other 'justice-cultures' and that crossing into an 'honor' context would require, not merely learning different answers to the same questions, but rather learning different questions altogether.