Discovering and Describing Your People Group – Orville Boyd Jenkins

a_etnias_definicionesPrimary Identification for a People Group – Factors inherent in human selfhood and the “psyche” – home, family, values, relationship styles, foundational beliefs holding a related group of people together. Worldview issues – entails a common history, customs, sense of oneness, social structures holding the related people together

Discovery is the First Step “Profile” – A Summary Description of a People “Worldview Summary” – A Picture of the Hidden Mental View of their World Ongoing Discovery, not final Underlies all other Activities. The PEOPLE are the Focus! Culture — There are Three Aspects of Culture Physical — Superficial, practical, easily changed, transferred

Social Patterns and relationships that hold a family, clan, tribe

Cognitive Worldview ethnic identity, deepest shared values, identity, history of shared significant experiences

Worldview Concept Resources — People Group Definitions Worldview Perspectives See the online series What is Culture? on Thoughts and Resources

People: What’s in a NAME? What is a name? Who are YOU? What is YOUR people group?

Usually: “Who are the …. people?”

This is a Western Worldview problem: In Western Philosophy, we think of a name as an actual object, or entity, with metaphysical reality

Better: What does the name refer to? At what level? Defining characteristics Alternative names. This leads to DISCOVERY

A name is external, somewhat “artificial.” You will discover Internal names (self-names), Formal Classification names.

You will discover that different people groups call themselves by the same name, and the same name may be used by various peoples for other groups.


Describing a People Group Description — Define their Worldview Unit Cultural Worldview Unit = Ethno-linguistic Unit: Self-identity — smallest discrete unit, successively larger groupings.

This is the level of entry the Registry of Peoples (ROP) attempts to catalogue.

Cultural Worldview Unit(s)

Culture and Worldview Groups Overlap. Find the discrete groupings based on cultural, social and linguistic factors.

This grid might represent many countries or regions of the world, with several cultures present and defined to varying degrees of separate identity. Note how the smaller groups lie within the Green culture section — and some of the Green culture characteristics are in those smaller groups. The boundaries of some of the smaller groups are more distinct than others. Note that the Pink culture has clearly defined lines of identity, yet a segment within the Pink has aspects of the Black and Green cultures, as well as some ambient Yellow. Likewise, some of the smaller groups also share some characteristics. Note that the Green culture lies within the larger Black culture group, and might thus be considered a sub-group of the larger culture. However, its boundaries are clearly defined as a totally separate culture. But looking closer, you see there is a section of the dominant Black culture totally within the Green culture. Certain areas of the smaller cultures also share in some of the Black culture characteristics. Members of these groups will think of themselves as members of different levels of culture groupings.

Any identified grouping can be further analyzed into some smaller groupings, down to single individuals. Boundaries may not be clear, will usually be somewhat fuzzy.

Description — Define their Strategy Unit

Strategy Unit — largest grouping within which change and decision making (and thus the gospel) can move freely without internal communication barriers.

Key Factors: What does the person call himself? What does an individual say others in his people/tribe/clan call themselves? Look for synonyms and sub-divisions. What are they called by other peoples? In Western popular or academic usage? What other people are in the same group? What languages do they speak? What are their common characteristics? Segments — Smaller groupings within the same ethnic entity Geographic — Ethno-geography Social (Role, status, circle of relationships) Language Education Age

 Strata (also called Social Segments) — Various Demographic Categories applicable to any Ethnic Group and cutting across them.

Strata: Across ethnic entities in one society What is the nature of the commonality? Social (community groupings, activities) Economic Occupational Recreational Educational By Educational activities By Special educational needs By Providing education Lingual — Same language across different pgs Native Language (mother tongue) Second language (Example: ESL) What kinds of activities are appropriate in non-mother-tongue?

Find more on people group Segmentation and Stratification.

Visit NewWway online for more information on Segmentation and Stratification for Strategy. Review Concepts of People Group Definition for more on understanding People Groups.

Conceptual Framework for Research

Resources and Approaches

Research for Strategy — Power Point Presentation Strategies for Multi-Cultural People Groups Research for Strategy Menu

Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 2002, 2005 Permission given for free download and use for personal and educational purposes. All other rights reserved.

Research for Strategy Orville Boyd Jenkins 11 December 2002 Last updated 13 Janaury 2005