Cognitive Sociology Developing the ‘Diversity Pathways’ Model in Cultural Neuroscience

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Dylan Scott Low
Myat Thazin Aung
Michael J. Day


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions is a model for cross-cultural studies. To Hofstede, culture is “mental programming” derived from the social environment, shaping behaviours. Yet, intercultural researcher Dr. Nguyen Phuong-Mai suggests Hofstede’s metaphor belies social determinism. With insights from Cultural Neuroscience, Nguyen proposes the Diversity Pathways model, marrying Evolutionary Biology and Cultural Sociology. Yet, unlike Hofstede’s model, Nguyen’s model is still developing as a unique expression of Cognitive Sociology, so is not yet realised for practical research. This paper attempts to reorient Diversity Pathways towards a practical methodological approach. To do this, it draws upon sociological insights from theorists Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and Jacques Derrida to analyse, and extend, a theoretical model of culture construction, offering a postmodernist pragmatic discourse. We propose a re-centring of Nguyen’s model to place culture at its core while addressing critical concerns on genealogy, différance, and socio-technicality. To demonstrate the utility of our proposal, we then draw upon the construction of institutionalised racism in the United States. This tentatively introduces the model’s value as a practical research tool for the discipline of Cultural Studies, introducing a new tool for researchers, which is particularly useful in underfunded, underprivileged, or remote contexts.


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