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Coming soon to a bookshop near you: an all new dimension of culture

4 March, 2010

Brendan McSweeney, whose devastating analysis of intercultural communication guru Geert Hofstede caused Joana and me much pleasure when we were writing Seeing Culture Everywhere (it involved, among others, Bambi and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch), alerted us that the master with the trademarked name (as he likes to point out: one of the most highly cited authors in the social sciences, unmatched by any anthropologist) is preparing a new edition of his seminal work, The Dimensions of Culture. According to the flyer, it includes “an entirely new dimension: indulgence versus restraint, focusing on happiness and life control. Also, Professor Hofstede introduces a Darwinian explanation of the evolution of cultures, explaining the variety of cultures found in today’s world.”

Wow. This is new. Hofstede has not touched the mantle of social Darwinism before. But perhaps the time is right: some of the commentary around the Haiti earthquake suggests that adapt-or-perish approaches to culture and progress are coming back into the mainstream (as we noted in an earlier post on Savage Minds, New York Times columnist David Brooks and Chinese investors seem to agree on that count). We are curious to see what the latest dimension will bring.

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