What is Culturally Thinking all about?

Who are we?

Culturally thinking is a community of educators, counselors, therapists, and researchers who share a common passion for thinking about the work they do from a cultural perspective.  We think this approach makes us unique.

Most professionals tend to approach their practice from a discipline-specific perspective…

Educators think about teaching groups of students based on the training the received in pedagogy.

Counselors draw on their skills learned in working with people about their concerns or problems based on the training they received in human development, social psychology, sociology, etc.

Therapists tend to rely on their assessment and diagnoses of client’s presenting problems, and using specific intervention approaches that they learned in their professional training.

Researchers focus their professional work on studying problems that have been identified either by they themselves or in journals or by other professional practitioners.  Then, they work using a base knowledge of research methods to study a population.

Each of these disciplines and approaches to work are well-established and widely accepted professions.  Each of the professions has, for some time, looked at the role that culture plays in the work they do.  They all value and appreciate culture.

At Culturally Thinking, we look at culture first, and then move into a discipline.  Looking at culture first means starting with understanding the culture of a person, community, nation, non-geographically-based group of people, and then diving into the specific discipline.

Why?

It’s simple – because every professional discipline that exists is operating by default in a particular cultural context, which rarely gets questioned or considered.  In fact, it is often perceived by those operating within it as the only way, the right way, or just “normal.”  On the contrary, however, it is rarely so.  By looking at the cultural assumptions and cultural aspects first, we can begin to see how much of the things we do are done because we “just do them” rather than with intention.  For folks who are part of a non-dominant culture, or a counter culture, or who are on a cross-cultural sojourn, often those very assumptions become incredibly problematic.

At Culturally Thinking we aim to challenge assumptions, critique culture, and seek innovation by turning culture on its side.

How?

Through critique, commentary, and dialogue.  We aim to create a space here for professionals, academics, and students to dialogue and critique normative cultural ways of thinking, comment on things that are happening in the news, and dialogue with other people – both like-minded and different – in an effort to find innovative approaches to complex and challenging problems.

We rely on two fundamental concepts:

Culture is not just something to think about, but something to be done.  After all, culture is simply a set of arbitrary human and social behaviors that are rewarded or punished.  Those that get rewarded continue, those that are punished extinguish.

Sex is more than what people do, but is something that is complex and can be thought about.  By thinking about sex in complex and cultural ways, we can expand its capacity to be a rich and complex part of people’s everyday life, bringing them joy and prosperity.

We also rely on theory that has been developed by experts and researched.  One of the fundamental theories that informs our approach is the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) and the related Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC).  The DMIS describes how people across different cultures relate and interact to one another despite their similarities and considering their differences.  The IDC is used as the backbone for the Intercultural Development Inventory, which is a tool used to measure a person’s intercultural development.  You can read more about the DMIS here, and more about the IDI and IDC here.

Our work

We work here at the blog developing content and engaging in dialogues.

We also post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest.

We conduct professional trainings and community programs upon request.

 

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