I’ll have four of everything

So many four-fold conceptual schemes, so little time… The following three appear arbitary, contrived, as though arranging a subject matter in groups of four was in itself clever (and just to complete my own set of four, here’s one I wrote about earlier).

Manuel Castells’ (2001) four cultures of the internet:

* Academics
* Open source advocates
* Social communities
* Entrepreneurs

Also Dennis Mumby’s four kinds of discourse, producing narratives of:

* Representation (positivist modernism)
* Understanding (interpretive modernism)
* Suspicion (critical modernism)
* Vulnerability (postmodernism)

And the ‘four cultures of the West’ described by church historian John O’Malley (2004):

* prophetic
* academic
* humanistic
* artistic

Perhaps it’s just that five would be too many and three too few.

Manuel Castells (2001) The Internet Galaxy. Reflections on the Internet, Business and Society. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Dennis K Mumby (1997). Modernism, postmodernism, and communication studies: A rereading of an ongoing
debate. Communication Theory, 7, 1–28.

John W. O’Malley 2004 The Four Cultures of the West. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Now read: Mapping Four-fold conceptual schemes


Mapping four-fold conceptual schemes onto Grid-Group Cultural Theory

Bruegel,_Pieter_de_Oude_-_De_val_van_icarus_-_hi_res Over the last three decades Grid-group cultural theory, first devised by anthropologist Mary Douglas, has been used in a wide variety of disciplines. Here’s an example by David Low from 2008 of its use as:

‘a heuristic structure through which to view the diversity of university-community engagement and create shared understandings of the appropriateness of a wide range of possible engagement methods’.

What’s innovative about this is that it relates the four quadrants of grid-group analysis to the philosopher Charles S. Peirce’s ‘four methods of enquiry’.

But… as with most of these attempts at mapping two different conceptual schemes on to one another, I find myself questioning the methodological basis on which this is being done. Continue reading “Mapping four-fold conceptual schemes onto Grid-Group Cultural Theory”