The Handbook of Culture & Psychology

The Handbook of Culture & Psychology

The Handbook of Culture & Psychology

The Handbook of Culture & Psychology


This book provides a state-of-the-art review of selected areas and topics within cross-cultural psychology written by eminent authors in the field. The chapters presented provide a review of where cross-cultural psychology has been, where it is now, where it is headed in the future, and how to get there, and are a valuable guide for beginning researchers and scholars alike.


No topic is more compelling in contemporary psychology today than culture, and no other topic has the potential to revise in fundamental and profound ways almost everything we think we know about people. The study of culture in psychology has raised questions about the nature of knowledge and psychological truth derived from mainstream psychological research based primarily on American or western European participants. The study of culture in psychology, at the same time, has answered some fundamental questions about some psychological processes, especially their specificity of universality versus culture. Culture is to human behavior as operating systems are to software, often invisible and unnoticed, yet playing an extremely important role in development and operation.

This book captures the current zeitgeistofcomplexity of cross-cultural psychology and describes its evolution as a discipline. It highlights the history of cross-cultural psychology from its foundation through its earliest studies and pioneers. It reports state-of-the-art literature reviews of theoretical and empirical work across some of the most pressing and relevant topic areas studied cross-culturally. And, it provides ideas and visions of the future and how cross-cultural psychology can help transform mainstream psychological theories and research radically from their current state in a monocultural psychology of behavior fragments into a universal psychology of the whole.

At the same time, this book describes the unique characteristics of cross-cultural psychology as a specialized method of inquiry. It describes the nature of cross-cultural investigation and describes how and why cross-cultural methods are useful for contemporary psychology. It encompasses different approaches to understanding human behavior and argues for the complementary integration of all such approaches rather than the unique parceling and fragmentation of approach that is typical of current research method and theory. It seeks to find new methods, often pushing us beyond the limits of our comfort zone, to deal with really difficult issues in understanding the true complexity of human psychological processes.

In this brief chapter, I will introduce you to the concepts, issues, and arguments that you will encounter in this book. I have categorized the main messages provided by all of the authors around two central themes. The first involves understanding the evolution of crosscultural psychology, recognizing not only where it has been and where it is now, but also, more importantly, where it wants to go. In this sense, this book provides a collective vision of where the field of cross-cultural psychology . . .

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