Cultural Research: SAIC
Photo via flickr by harrymoon
SAIC, a company of people dedicated to delivering best-value services and solutions based on innovative applications of science and technology, provides a variety of consulting capabilities to defense and intelligence consumers including defense analysis, wargaming and simulations, cultural assessments and analysis, homeland security and national security strategy.
The Cultural Research program at SAIC is designed to assist government clients in acquiring the cultural intelligence and contextual knowledge needed to design and execute successful programs, operations, and communication strategies in diverse areas around the world.
Using a social constructivist approach, SAIC views cultural identity as a dynamic construct, formed through reiterative social interaction. The program uses historical, sociological, and ethnographic research methods and a wide variety of data sources. These methods include interviews with subject matter experts from the academic, policy, and government arenas, as well as ethnographic interviews and focus groups of cultural group participants. Primary and secondary research is used to identify the meaningful cultural elements in a society, including the most salient identities, the seminal events in a cultural group’s collective experience, and a group’s key narratives and world view.
Based on research, SAIC develops products that can answer questions such as how a specific cultural group ascribes meaning to operationally significant concepts such as the nation-state, authority, legitimacy, religion, security, and warfare. This research is used to produce a wide variety of tools for clients such as culture “smart cards,” cultural field guides, military culture guides, cultural intelligence studies, and analytic documentaries using video ethnography. In addition, SAIC offers such services as training and methodological consulting, and provide guidance on norms, customs and behavior for those interacting with local populations.