There's Military One (Honour / Victor), a Tall One (Tradition / Liang), a Wide One (Liberty / Magnus), a Religion One (Piety / Moshka), a Commerce One (Commerce / Reyna) and a Science One (Rationalism / Pingala), and a City State One (Patronage / Amani). You earn both Promotions and Social Policies through Culture. And the abilities must be purchased via a Tree. And yes, as you point out, the choices are permanent. Look a lot like Social Policies to me.