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The Culture Hack Curriculum

Curriculum glossary

  • Animism

    The attribution of a living essence/spirit to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena such as weather systems or rivers.

  • Anthropocene

    A geologic epoch that describes humanity as a dominant geophysical force, starting around the Industrial Revolution. [M1]

  • Anthropocentrism

    A perspective that privileges the human. [M1]

  • Communitarian narrative environment

    A cultural context in which a collective who hold similar views live and work together for a shared purpose. A good example of this could be any local resilient community.  [M3]

  • Control narrative environment

    A cultural context in which individuals are given the illusion of personal freedom and liberty. A good example of this is electoral democracy, where you can only choose from a predetermined list of options. [M3]

  • Cosmologies

    Ways of organising and generating meaning about the universe, grounded in myths, rituals and the body. “Kosmos” is Greek for order.

  • Cultural evolution

    The idea that the development and transmission of symbolic thought, values, norms and ethical imperatives among humans shape their behavior and impact their evolutionary trajectory. For Culture Hack Labs, cultural evolution involves guiding the evolutionary process of cultural change towards value systems that are in service of life – which is necessary for ours and our planet’s survival. [M3]

  • Culture

    the normative values and belief systems that coordinate human activity. [M1]

  • Culture hacking

    Is a method designed by Culture Hack Labs (previously, The Rules) which intervenes in dominant culture narratives from an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, anti-colonial stance through questioning, analysis (discourse analysis, network analysis, content analysis), de-codification, recodification, and creative intervention. [M4]

  • Dialogic narrative environment

    A cultural context in which people strive to find shared values even though they have different views. The open source or peer to peer online communities are good examples of this . [M3]

  • Disciplinary narrative environment

    A cultural context in which institutions gain power through the physical enclosure of life. Good examples of this are prison cells, factories, classrooms or industrial farms. [M3]

  • Epistemology

    The philosophical study of knowledge – how we know what is in the world.

  • Ethics

    The philosophical study of morals – how we should engage in the world.

  • Ethnocentrism

    An evaluation of another culture based on preconceptions developed from the standards/conventions of one’s own culture.

  • Fragile societies

    Aocieties rooted in ethnocentric, humanist, rationalist (and less so, but still, pluralist) cultures, that promote an ego-centric conception of self, as opposed to an “interbeing” conception of self.

  • Frames

    Largely subconscious, narrative structures which allow us to immediately make sense of the world.

  • Gaia

    A western hypothesis formulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s that sees the earth as an animate and self-regulating organism – similar to many Indigenous perspectives and increasingly “confirmed” by scientific discoveries.

  • Globalization

    The growing interdependence of the world’s economies, cultures, and populations, facilitated by cross-border trade, technological development, and flows of capital, people and information. [M1]

  • Humanism

    A philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and agency of human beings.

  • Ideological Constructs/Ideologies

    Bring multiple frames into larger structured relationships. These frames are coordinated through a system of justification that contains internal logic.

  • Inter-disciplinary thinking

    Thinking across boundaries of disciplines, topics and methodologies.

  • Interbeing

    A perspective attributed to Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh that recognises how inherently entangled “being” is. It’s more than interdependence and relationality: we are not just interconnected but mutually caused. [m3]

  • Life-centrism

    A culture in service of all forms of life – both human and more-than-human, seen and unseen, for example, animals, plants, fungi and rivers. A life-centric culture is post-anthropocentric (criticizing species hierarchy and decentring the human), and non-dualistic (no conception of separation that transcends the Enlightenment era system of meaning that relies on binary oppositions).

  • Listening

    Explores the relationship of the interlocked parts of a narrative, such as the spaces, actors, actions, momentum and sentiment of a conversation. [M5]

  • Metaphors

    Comparisons between two things, so we can understand one thing in terms of another.

  • Metaphysics

    A branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality. It uses broad concepts to help define reality and our understanding of it (e.g. time, space, causality, being, identity or possibility).

  • Metaphysics of presence

    The tendency in western philosophy to constantly defer things, and privilege presence, in order to have immediate access to meaning, and in the process to ignore the crucial role of absence and difference in meaning-making. It is contrasted to a metaphysics of difference which is about finding out what exactly these things are that are being deferred/erased/seen as absent.

  • Narrative communities

    Collections of nodes (actors or domains) that are engaged in a conversation over a sustained period of time.

  • Narrative forms

    Complex, adaptive, evolutionary systems which can converge with other narrative forms within a specific environment or cultural context and drive how we collectively make sense of our reality.

  • Narrative objectives

    Objectives developed from narrative research [M6]

  • Narrative spaces

    Models of the relationships between narrative forms within a time frame. Through this model we can understand their interactions and dynamics.

  • Narrative strategy

    A plan to achieve your narrative objectives. [M7]

  • Narratives

    Interpretive social structures that frame our experience and function to bring meaning to everyday reality, guiding our actions and decisions.

  • Neoliberalism

    An ideology and policy model that applies market principles to all areas of society beyond the economy and assumes individuals are self interested rational actors. It is a version of late-stage capitalism. [M1]

  • Non-dualism (and pre/post-dualism)

    A perspective that goes beyond the dualism and binary thinking established during the 17th century Enlightenment (in which something is defined in opposition to what it is not: e.g. self is not other; culture is not nature, etc). Many contemporary Indigenous and Ancient perspectives are non-dualist.

  • Ontology

    The philosophical study of being – what is in the world.

  • POV

    A Point of View is a statement that outlines the context and goals of the narrative intervention you want to engage in. It is a compass to guide you through your culture hacking journey.  [M4]

  • Pluralism

    A recognition, affirmation and aspiration of diversity and peaceful coexistence of different traditions, lifestyles, ideas and values.

  • Post-anthropocentrism

    A philosophical perspective and movement questioning human exceptionalism and envisioning an interconnected world that is more eco-centric.

  • Post-humanism

    A philosophical perspective that criticises and moves beyond the human-centrism of western thought established during Greek Antiquity which has always excluded naturalised, gendered and racialised Others (animals/nature, women, the “native” respectively). Post-humanism centres “Life” in all its forms.

  • Post-modernism

    A late 20th century intellectual stance that challenges worldviews associated with 17th century Enlightenment rationality. It is skeptical towards the grand narratives/ideologies of Modernism (e.g. Marxism; Universal Reason, etc), opposes epistemic certainty and the stability of meaning, and is more oriented towards subjectivism and relativism.

  • Rationalism

    The use of reason to gain knowledge, developed during the 17th and 18th century European Enlightenment.

  • Reframing

    Narrative reframing is the process of transforming frames in the narrative communities identified to support the narrative objectives. [M7]

  • Rhizome

    A horizontal underground plant stem system with lateral shoots and roots and a metaphor used by postmodern philosophers Deleuze and Guattari to describe the interconnection of knowledge or systems of ideas: a decentred set of linkages which have no clear beginnings/middles/ends and cannot be studied in isolation.

  • Social dictatorships

    Social dictatorships describe the dictatorial rule of minorities – whether ideological, linguistic, ethnic, or religious. [M1]

  • Subjectivity

    An experience or organisation of reality based on a specific perspective.

  • System-Knowledge Framework

    A framework developed by Culture Hack Labs to explore narrative communities and their ways of knowing and modes of ‘being’. Is essentially a mapping of power relations and  the potential for capacities for cultural evolution. The system-knowledge framework can be adapted to fit with activists’ goals (outlined in the POV). Take a look at an example of an adapted framework in the Territories of Transition report (p.26).  [M6]

  • Systems Entropy

    A system characterized by a lack of order or predictability, gradual decline and chaos  [M3]

  • Systems Syntropy

    A system characterized by energy concentration, order, organization and life [M3]

  • The culture of the Anthropocene

    A culture whose systems of meaning are inherently dualistic, creating distinctions between social, political and ecological categories e.g. nature/culture, subject/object, knower/object-to-be-known, human/non-human, self/other.

  • The post-human

    Is the subject of post-humanism: it is a relational, transversal subject, entangled with its environment (which is a material web of human and non-human agents).

  • Truth constructs

    Representations of the core beliefs that bind the narrative form together.

  • Western culture

    A collection of thoughts and practices developed in “the West” (often used interchangeably with “the Global North” or “Europe”), that have become a global culture – as it is pervasive throughout all societies in the world today.