Models for Intercultural Collaboration and Negotiation

Volume 6 of the series Advances in Group Decision and Negotiation pp 1-26


A Formal Definition of Culture

  • Aliaksandr BirukouAffiliated withDISI, University of Trento
  • , Enrico BlanzieriAffiliated withDISI, University of Trento Email author 
  • , Paolo GiorginiAffiliated withDISI, University of Trento
  • , Fausto GiunchigliaAffiliated withDISI, University of Trento

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Globalization makes culture no more bound to a geographical area, race or religion as was previously considered in anthropology. With the advent of Web 2.0 it becomes appropriate to speak about the culture of online communities in general, without specific ties to country or nation. Multi-national companies, software developers, scientists need to take into account cultural differences when delivering products to people. The first step in dealing with culture consists in defining and representing culture of the targeted community. AI literature addressed issues of sociality, collaboration, and coordination in agent societies, but did not target the problem of defining and representing culture of a community. This chapter presents a formal definition of culture of a set of agents. The proposed definition generalizes existing definitions of culture and it is operational in the sense that it can be applied for characterization and comparison of culture(s) existing in various communities. The main focus of this chapter is on the first version of the formalism that does not introduce states. However, representing a snapshot of the culture in a certain moment is the first step towards a more complex formalism that includes states (the work on the latter is ongoing and we present only preliminary definitions here).


Formal definition Agents Communities Web 2.0 Traits Actions Artificial intelligence