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Worldview. A Brief Introduction to the Concept. A General Definition.

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A Brief Introduction

to the Concept

a general definition
A General Definition

A “Worldview” is the comprehensive set of beliefs, knowledge, values, assumptions, attitudes, and opinions that serve as a lense through which a particular social group sees, interprets, and makes sense of the world in which it lives.

One View

some components of a worldview
Some Components of a Worldview
  • Ontology: beliefs that group members hold about the nature and reality of the physical, mental, and spiritual realms.
  • Epistemology: the dominant or preferred ways of knowing among most of the group’s members
  • Theology: the group’s beliefs about the nature of god(s), its powers, and its role in human life
  • Cosmology: the group’s beliefs about the origins, the nature, the history, and the future directions of the universe, as well as the place of humans within that scheme
  • Values: goup beliefs about what is important in life, what is to persued, obtained, protected, cherished
  • Ethics: group beliefs about right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
examples two woldviews
ExamplesTwo Woldviews

Rigoberta Menchú

Spencer Wells

Leader of K'iche’ Mayan People

Stanford University Geneticist


San people of Namibia


people of


Nenets herders of Siberia

Navajo people of Arizona

culture a related concept
Culture: A related concept







Patterns in how people live.

the worldview project
The Worldview Project
  • Form a 4 or 5-person team
  • Select a group to explore
  • Conduct research
  • Prepare a multimedia PowerPoint presentation
  • Deliver the presentation to the class
selecting a group to study
Selecting a Group to Study
  • Select a “living” group whose worldview is held by real people today.
  • Choose a group whose worldview is different than those held by your group members.
  • Select a group which has produced accessible information about itself.
  • Select a group in which all of your team members have some degree of genuine interest.
  • Take your time in considering the alternatives until consensus is reached.
  • Consult with me before making your final decision.
selecting a group to study1
Selecting a Group to Study

Indigenous Culture Groups

  • Maya of Guatemala
  • Inuit of Alaska or the Arctic
  • Hutu, Tutsi, San, or Maasai of Africa
  • Maori of New Zealand
  • Romani or Roma (Gypsies) of central Europe
  • Asmat of Papua New Guinea
  • Mixtec or Zapotec of Oaxaca, Mexico
selecting a group to study2
Selecting a Group to Study

Religious Groups

(In which “religion”has a profound influence on its members’ belief system and lifestyle.)

  • Hasidic Judaism
  • Amish
  • Islamic Fundamentalism
  • The Unification Church (Moonies)
  • Hare Krishnas
  • Wicca
selecting a group to study3
Selecting a Group to Study

Spiritual Movement Groups

  • New Age
  • Falun Gong
  • Kabbalah
  • Scientology
focus of your research and presentation
Focus of Your Research and Presentation
  • Background and Context
    • Provide a very brief historical sketch for the group.
    • Map the place or places in the world where the group resides.
    • Show what members of the group look like.
    • Provide some demographic information on the group.
focus of your research and presentation1
Focus of Your Research and Presentation
  • Key Beliefs that Comprise the Group’s Worldview
    • Ontological beliefs
    • Epistemological beliefs
    • Religious or spiritual beliefs
    • Ethical teachings
    • Core values
    • Social beliefs
    • Beliefs about the group’s relationship to the larger society.
    • Other elements necessary to understand the group’s worldview
focus of your research and presentation2
Focus of Your Research and Presentation
  • Cultural Patterns

Are there any cultural patterns that characterize the group and help to understand it?

    • Rural-agrarian or urban-industrial
    • Poverty or wealth
    • Low formal education or high formal education
    • Minority status or majority status
    • History of being oppressed or oppressing others
    • Segregated from or integrated within the wider society
    • Other factors
focus of your research and presentation3
Focus of Your Research and Presentation
  • Current Concerns, Issues, and Challenges

The world is in the process of widespread and rapid change, and all worldviews are faced with the challenges of advocating for, accepting, adapting to, incorporating, resisting, or rejecting these changes, or some combination of these responses.

How is your group dealing with these challenges? What are their concerns? What events or developments or pressures have their attention? How are they responding?

focus of your research and presentation4
Focus of Your Research and Presentation
  • E-Bibliography
    • Conclude your Power Point presentation with an electronic bibliography of at least 10 reseources that you feel are helpful in understanding this group and its worldview.
    • At least some of these bibliographic resources should be ones that were created or produced by persons who were or are, themselves, members of the group you have studied.
presentation guidelines
Presentation Guidelines
  • Your group will have 30 minutes for your presentation.
  • All group members should play a meaningful role in delivering your presentation.
  • Have the organization and flow of your presentation well planned in advance.
  • When speaking, make good eye contact with your audience. Try not to “read” from notes or from slides.
multimedia presentation
Multimedia Presentation
  • Oral lectures
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Visual images
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Web sites
  • Charts, graphs, maps
  • Artifacts or objects
relevant dates
Relevant Dates

Group Work Time


  • April 09
  • April 23