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eBook Thinking Through Cultures: Expeditions in Cultural Psychology ePub

eBook Thinking Through Cultures: Expeditions in Cultural Psychology ePub

by Richard A. Shweder

  • ISBN: 0674884159
  • Category: Psychology
  • Subcategory: Medicine
  • Author: Richard A. Shweder
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 15, 1991)
  • Pages: 420
  • ePub book: 1837 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1559 kb
  • Other: txt mobi lrf azw
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 382


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Thinking Through Cultures.

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Shweder, Richard A. Publication date. Books for People with Print Disabilities. In this book Richard Shweder presents its manifesto. A discipline is emerging called cultural psychology; it will serve as a force of renewal for both anthropology and psychology. Its central theme is that we have to understand the way persons, cultures, and natures make each other up. Its goal is to seek the mind indissociably embedded in the meanings and resonances that are both its product and its components. Over the past thirty years the person as a category has disappeared from ethnography.

Richard Allan Shweder (born 1945) is an American cultural anthropologist and a figure in cultural psychology

Richard Allan Shweder (born 1945) is an American cultural anthropologist and a figure in cultural psychology. He is currently Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Recipes for cultural psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Shweder, R. A. (2008). & Power, S. (2013). Robust cultural pluralism: An interview with Professor Richard Shweder. Europe’s Journal of Psy- chology, 9, 671–686. The cultural psychology of suffering: The many meanings of health in Orissa, India (and elsewhere). (2014). The equality-difference paradox: Lessons from a Jewish village. Unpublished manuscript. Cultural meanings of mental illness: Depression and alcoholism among the Irish. Want to read all 7 pages?

Thinking Through Cultures.

Harvard University Press. Thinking Through Cultures. Zotero Tags: Anthropology, Cognition, Cognition and culture, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Ethnology, Ethnopsychology, PSYCHOLOGY, Personality, Personality and culture. Institute for the Study of Human Rights. 91 Claremont Avenue New York, NY 10027. by Richard A. Shweder.

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A discipline is emerging called cultural psychology; it will serve as a force of renewal for both anthropology and psychology. In this book Richard Shweder presents its manifesto. Its central theme is that we have to understand the way persons, cultures, and natures make each other up. Its goal is to seek the mind indissociably embedded in the meanings and resonances that are both its product and its components.

Over the past thirty years the person as a category has disappeared from ethnography. Shweder aims to reverse this trend, focusing on the search for meaning and the creation of intentional worlds. He examines the prospect for a reconciliation of rationality and relativism and defines an intellectual agenda for cultural psychology.

What Shweder calls for is an exploration of the human mind, and of one's own mind, by thinking through the ideas and practices of other peoples and their cultures. He examines evidence of cross-cultural similarities and differences in mind, self, emotion, and morality with special reference to the cultural psychology of a traditional Hindu temple town in India, where he has done considerable work in comparative anthropology. And he critiques the concept of the "person" implicit in Western social science, as well as psychiatric theories of the "subject." He maintains that it will come as no surprise to cultural psychology if it should turn out that there are different psychological generalizations or "nomological networks"--a Hindu psychology, a Protestant psychology--appropriate for the different semiotic regions of the world. Shweder brings the news that God is alive not dead, but that there are many gods.


The only thing I really learned from this book is that the author is a strong adherent of what is known as cultural relativity.
All of his thought tributaries flow from this dominating intellectual point of view.

The irony of course is that to solely adopt the culturally relativistic viewpoint is to be just as dogmatic and just as totalitarian as the neoplatonic paradigm. Indeed, any viewpoint outside of the author's view of culture is attacked (e.g., the discrediting of Kleinman's conceptualization of Chinese neurasthenia as somatized depression….a construct which could possibly have some utility in understanding neurasthenia).

As all literary works are projections of the authors' own ego, the real question to me is why is he so anti viewpoints outside of his elaborated universe of culture specific "intentional worlds". What is his ego defending or trying to prevent? The pat answer to this question that many anthropologists give of course is to raise the spectre of cultural domination and "neocolonialization". But what must be remembered is that cultural conflict occurs both within and between cultures (and also that there are no clear boundaries between cultures, particularly in our current information age). He misses the appreciation of this fact by his recommendation of romanticized poetry to individuals with
obsessive compulsive disorder. It's really a rather ridiculous balm for this serious mental problem in my opinion. The mistakes the author makes
are twofold: 1) he confuses cause and effect and 2) he confuses superficial symptoms for foundation. To elaborate: the ego idealized images and constructs of an obsessive are the mere tip of an iceberg of a vast cultural (and subcultural) poisoning of the body-mind. Within the body-mind of an obsessive are vast amounts of shame, anger, fear and emotional pain. These emotions are bound in the body-mind as forms of armor, ranging from egoic defense mechanisms to tissue constrictions and contractions in the body proper. Specifically, obsessive compulsive disorder is due to a cultural attack against the body-mind of an unwitting cultural participant. I say unwitting because most of the damage is done early in life and outside of the incipient being's conscious awareness. To simply treat the manifest "symptoms" of this problem (the ego idealized strivings) with lyrical cultural constructions (romantic poetry as the author suggests) is ineffective and inappropriate as it fails to grasp the true etiology of the problem- the cultural poisoning of the body-mind. A much more powerful antidote to obsessive compulsive disorder is body unarmoring and deep emotional release. This is what reverses the cultural damage. I suspect there is a fairly potent valorization of culture that occurs in strong adherents of cultural relativity. This is really rather a shame as most modern cultures are significantly antithetical to the life force itself.

And the author spends much time describing the important differences in the construction of mentalization in different cultures. The important point to remember is that consciousness (by which I mean the life force energy that permeates all things, not specifically awareness per se) subsumes culture. Not the other way around. Cultural reality is merely a collective egoic/conditional reality that is only infrequently consistent with the life force energy in modern cultures.

So again, the key question for me is not "how to appreciate other cultures" (that is fine and good), but what is the hidden agenda of the author's ego. Why are "emic" views of culture so personally threatening to him. I can guarantee that the answer isn't "neocolonialization". There is an energy of frustration and anger underneath some of his words. And one wonders what that is about really. It isn't solely due to neoplatonism or generic forms of "cultural hegemony".
heart of sky heart of sky
When I read Nicholas' one star's comment, I felt the impression that I had something to say for potential readers. Whatever the book, the conference, or the article, Richard Shweder's compelling reflections provoke disruptive reactions. His way of writing involves us in a mirror process. After discovering his cultural analysis you always feel an "in between". It forces you to slow your analysis of the world. I would say, his Stories and theories often take you to an intercultural and dynamic intrapsychic movement. Thinking though cultures is a classic to me. I feel so thankful for what Richard Shweder allows me to understand through books, that I had to write this comment (in order to improve the global evaluation). Therefore, it is unforgivable, that this none of his books are translated into french.
Steelrunner Steelrunner
This book was not written for you and me; we being non-anthropologists. It is more or less a text for use by graduate students and practitioners in the field of psychological anthropology. Having never taken a course in anthropology (although the subject holds my interest) and the probability being I never will, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe anyone eager to undertake a thorough scholarly exercise will enjoy it as well. The book is a wonderfully written exploration of a complicated subject matter from a different -- and often changing -- point of view, and it is the author's approach to his subject that is the lesson most valuable to all who read this book, regardless of the professional, vocational, or educational perspective of the reader.
Richard A. Shweder, is a self-proclaimed confusionist, a term I suspect he invented but nevertheless explained at a recent symposium. A confusionist (not to be confused with Confuscianist), is someone who believes that the knowable world is incomplete if seen from any one point of view, incoherent if seen from all points of view at once, and empty if seen from the famous nowhere in particular. Given the choice between incompleteness, incoherence, and emptiness, Shweder opts for incompleteness while trying to get beyond such limitations by staying on the move between different ways of seeing and valuing things in the world. In addition to being a confusionist, he also admits to being neoantiquarian. A neoantiquarian, according to Shweder, is someone who rejects the idea that the world woke up, emerged from darkness, and became good for the first time yesterday, or three hundred years ago, in the West and Northern Europe. A neoantiquarian does not think that newness is necessarily a measure of progress.
Bonus: Aficionados of fine writing will marvel at how craftily Professor Shweder pens a technical work. A most splendid example of how to approach technical writing assignments like a bard. If Shweder were to exercise poetic license you might suspect you were reading Vonnegut or Bellow.