How to Test Cultural Theory: Suggestions for Future Research

This symposium highlighted the relevance of the cultural theory pioneered by anthropologists Mary Douglas, Steve Rayner, and Michael Thompson and political scientists Aaron Wildavsky and Richard Ellis for explaining political phenomena. In this concluding article, we suggest ways in which CT can be further tested and developed. First, we describe how the theory has been applied thus far and some of the achievements of these applications. Then, we examine some of the challenges revealed by this research. Finally, we discuss ways of applying CT that promise to help meet these challenges. These methods include nesting case studies and combining case study and survey research, simulations, experiments, and approaches from social neuroscience.
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