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How to think about culture: Kwast's concentric circle model

A concentric circle diagram illustrates how worldview is foundational to beliefs and how beliefs are fondational to values and how values drive behavior. Lloyd Kwast explains his diagram:

"One helpful method to view a culture [is to visualize] several successive layers or levels of understanding, as one [moves from observable behavior] into the real heart of the culture. . .

"Values in a culture are not selected arbitrarily, but invariably reflect an underlying system of beliefs. . .

"At the very heart of any culture is its world view. . . Sometimes people who share the gospel cross-culturally fail to take the problem of world view into account and are therefore disappointed by the lack of genuine change their efforts produce."

Diagram and quotes taken from "Understanding Culture" by Lloyd Kwast, published in the second edition of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, © by William Carey Library

To be sure, Lloyd Kwast's model of culture is, as Kwast himself admits, "far too simple to explain the multitude of complex components and relationships that exist in every culture." It can, however, be a beginning point.

     -- Howard Culbertson

Coping with culture shock

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Cultural Anthropology course resrouces:   Cultural adjustment realities   Cultural Bingo icebreaker   Bwanda Fusa game   Case studies   Christianity and culture    Cultural anthropology home page    Path to cross-cultural understanding    Culture shock    Ethnocentrism    Exam study guides    Light bulb illustration   Missions and culture    Monoculturalism   My own culture shock   PowerPoint presentations used in class   Reading report   Reentry: Coming home   Research paper topic suggestions

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