Cultural Psychology: Theory and Methods
This book seeks to deepen our understanding of the cultural aspects of human psychology. These are aspects of psychology that originate in, are formed by, reflect, perpetuate, and modify social processes and factors outside the individual mind. My motivation in pursuing cultural psychol ogy is both scientific and political. I believe that construing psychology as a cultural phenomenon is the scientifically correct way to understand psychology; a cultural analysis of psychology can also provide crucial insights for political action to improve human life. The scientific and political aspects of cultural psychology are inter dependent and reciprocally reinforcing. The scientific identification and explanation of cultural aspects of psychology can identify societal changes that will enhance human psychology-to help people become more intel ligent, far-sighted, logical, harmonious, helpful, moral, and secure, and less stressful, disturbed, prejudiced, competitive, aggressive, lonely, insecure, depressed, mystified, and irrational. Conversely, the political orientation of cultural psychology to enhance psychological functioning through comprehending and improving the social fabric advances the scientific understanding of psychology as a cultural phenomenon. Social goals direct cultural psychology to devise special theories and methods that investigate cultural origins, formation, characteristics, and functions of psychology. Traditional theories and methods are not necessarily appli cable because they are informed by a vision of psychology as individual, biological, or universal. The scientific study of cultural psychology is a check on political analyses.
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