Anthropology of Decision Making

One of our explicit agendas and bias is our venture to integrate the advances in specific human understanding to, first: understand the institutional and philosophical relation between disciplinary approaches; second: present an interdisciplinary conversational platform, symbolical and physical as a systemics-informatical platform; and third: develop a holistic model to facilitate our understanding of the variables that make up human interaction and how we may learn to make optimal decisions as individuals, families, groups and communities.

Our journey begins with an anthropological approach to decision making, that permits us be consciously pretentious in the ordeal of understanding our approach to decision making from the perspective of “the other”; an ordeal of understanding our paradigmatic structures and how certaing groups have institutionalized any sense of criteria and a set of social codes and forms that make up the dynamics of our specific cultures -again, as individuales, families, groups and communities-.

Decision making is a specific topic in Science, observed and researched from several particular views and in some cases intersected approaches.  The level in which the philosophical and the anthropological perspectives coincide is of particular interest to us, since it questions the institutionality around the concept as to better understand it.  

How people make decisions is central for us to understand them as individuals and in their social practices.  One may observe through rigorous methods the actual decisions people made conveniently in consumption and in production.  We may also engage on individuals and groups to discuss with them in the most organized way possible why they decided as so and how they proceeded to act accordingly.  At the macro-institutional level it is also possible to determine how aggregate decisions are taken and the process to get there.

We have to be conscious of -and take note of it- the limitations of each approach to study and understand decision making, specially when in a civic situation trying to make out the best way possible to proceed.  We must also be explicit of our understanding that decision making studies of any type are conceived and “regulated” within a given paradigmatical structure.  An ethical and moral structure.  

A structure made up of specific individuals in time, and premeated by the cultural understanding of such structures in a familiar, groupal, communitarian, regional and global level.  Hence, when we understand such paradigmatical structures and the institutional regulation and configuration of decision making in a social sphere, we will come closer to understanding how individuals decide and in such a way, create the World every second, every day.

Culture is key: enter anthropology.  Culture is key to understand how we learn to decide.  And a holistic anthropology is key to understand what other aspects make part of our decision making processes, even outside the cultural spectre -be it possible-, or as defined in techincal-non-anthropological terms.  

We can observe the economical landscape through production-consumption practices, material culture, time usage, language and symbolism and we may engage in conversation about how individuals conceive and conceived such strategies and practices.  People doing stuff is the base.  People talking about how they do stuff is the rest.


JD Rico is the founder of Holistics and Partner and Editor of the Digitalist Hub. He is a researcher and entrepreneur in the topics of Business Intelligence, Digital Media and Venture Capital. He holds degrees in Anthropology (BA), Economics (BSc), Project Management- Innovation (MSc), Cultural Studies (Min) and Artificial Intelligence Product and Service Design (Cert.). He serves at the board of companies in Emerging Tech, Wellness, Food Tech and Cultural Impact. He writes Cap∙Hackers, a newsletter for 33,000 business owners and investors.

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