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There are six of them

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

Each cultural or social dimension is like a mathematical dimension in space (height, depth, width) in that they are analytical qualities, not empirical; the removal of any one dimension, by definition, removes all dimensions.

There are six of them.

All of these are learned, composed of systems of symbols, are social (beliefs and behaviour, not human individuals) and not transmitted or stored by genes. See: the six dimensions.

Technology: We need to use the word "tools" and explain the (1) inventing, (2) using and (3) teaching of others to invent and use them, is the cultural dimension, not the physical tools themselves.

In Economics, this is called "capital," wealth produced not for immediate consumption but to increase further production.

The Technological Dimension of Society

Economy: We need to refer to the production and distribution of wealth, which did not need money in earlier societies and in some elements of our society today, eg home and with friends.

Wealth is anything that has value and it has value to the extent it is useful and scarce.

It could include goods and services, but goods only in terms of the services they provide.

Money is not wealth, but is a measure and a means of storing and exchanging wealth.

The economic dimension of culture is not just business, buying, selling. These things are specific to this culture in Canada, but not universal among all cultures and societies.

The Economic Dimension of Society

Political Dimension relates to power and influence.

It includes authority and types of authority (traditional, bureaucratic or charismatic).

Politics is not the same as ideology (which belongs to the values dimension) or only party politics (which are institutions that are not universal).

The Political Dimension of Society

The Social, Interactional or Institutional dimension refers to patterns of interaction, social organisation, meanings we attach to each other, our presentations of selves, roles.

Examples include family or class.

The Institutional Dimension of Society

Values, Ideology, Aesthetic: The shared values that we apply to judgements such as good or bad, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong.

The Values Dimension of Society

Beliefs or Worldview, the ideas we have about how the universe operates. Religious beliefs –– and more.

The Worldview Dimension of Society

Note: The number two, for example, is an analytical concept, not an empirical one. If you see two apples, for example, the number two is in your head, not an intrinsic characteristic of the apples. See Epistemology.

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