Gelfand's thesis is that a culture is shaped, primarily, by its perceptions of internal or external threat. The greater the sense of threat, the tighter it gets with rules and norms and vice versa. Threat-driven tight cultures seek order and unity and do not allow for the ambiguities or risk-taking that loose cultures revel in. Throughout, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, Gelfand gives many examples — both historical and contemporary — to prove how the customs that have shaped worldviews, behaviors, identities, and personal lives in any particular culture, have originated from underlying perceptions of threat. Whether a culture embraces diversity or division, its tolerance for norms deviation or permissiveness depends largely on whether it's a rule-making tight culture or a rule-breaking loose culture. (And within any given culture type there will also always be pockets of the opposite type.)
I've written elsewhere about being a debut writer at a later age. This personal essay is more about my own journey. [. . .] It was gratifying to see that this one went viral on social media for a number of days. It resonated with women of all ages and even many men because of the later-life career transition theme.
An essay published at Scroll.in: "How should we view the literary works of these men? How can we improve gender parity in literature so that women writers have just as much intellectual and creative authority? How can we ensure inclusivity and intersectionality in our literature so that the complexities and ambiguities of gendered power are better portrayed and understood?"