This is a list of resources for the study and application of grid-group cultural theory, also known as Cultural Theory, theory of cultural viability, theory of plural rationality, cultural theory of risk, cultural cognition (and a few more)

For simplicity this site just calls it “Fourcultures”.

For an explanation of why this cluster of ideas has so many names, see Virginie Mamadouh’s (1999) introductory article.

It is hoped to add to this list incrementally. To contribute to the collection, please add a comment, or send an email. Thanks!

Warning: Because this page has existed for more than a dozen years, it’s subject to link-rot. However, it does get updated from time to time. The lesson is that you can’t expect anything on the Internet to stay there for very long. The Internet Archive helps, but that’s just one organisation.



John Adams: Risk in a Hypermobile World

The Cultural Cognition Project (Yale Law School)

Overcoming Bias (Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford)

Virginie Mamadouh’s website (archived)

Matthew Taylor’s blog (the RSA. See especially his series on ‘coordination theory’))


Cultural Theory Reading Group bibliography (2005)


John Adams, 2016. Risk and Culture. Article published as chapter 7 in Routledge Handbook of Risk Studies. (.doc)

Mary Douglas, A History of Grid and Group Cultural Theory (link to pdf)

Richard Farndon, Biographical Memoir of Mary Douglas (2019)
Virginie Mamadouh, 1999. Grid-group Cultural Theory: An Introduction. GeoJournal 47(3):395-409

Verweij, Marco, Petya Alexandrova, Henrik Jacobsen, Pauline Béziat, Diana Branduse, Yonca Dege, Jakob Hensing et al. “Four galore? The overlap between Mary Douglas’s grid-group typology and other highly cited social science classifications.” Sociological Theory 38, no. 3 (2020): 263-294.

Key Books

Michael Thompson, Richard Ellis, Aaron Wildavsky, 1990
Cultural Theory. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

Christopher Hood, 1998 (paperback, 2000)
The Art of the State: Culture, Rhetoric and Public Management. Oxford, Clarendon.

Marco Verweij and Michael Thompson, Eds, 2006
Clumsy solutions for a complex world : governance, politics and plural perceptions . Basingstoke & New York : Palgrave Macmillan.

Michael Thompson, 2008
Organising and Disorganising: A Dynamic and Non-Linear Theory of Institutional Emergence and its Implications. Axminster, Devon: Triarchy Press.


The Institutional Dynamics of Culture (2008)


Mary Douglas

Christopher Hood


Michael Thompson interview Nov 2008


Michael Thompton’s RSA lecture, Dec 2008 (link to MP3 file)

Other Resources

Fourcultures elsewhere:




4 thoughts on “Resources

    1. Thanks Jose, those are some great interviews you have there. I’m lookin forward to listening to some of them.

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