Family and Human Development across Cultures: A View from the Other Side

Family and Human Development across Cultures: A View from the Other Side

Family and Human Development across Cultures: A View from the Other Side

Family and Human Development across Cultures: A View from the Other Side

Synopsis

The culmination of 15 years of research by a Turkish psychologist who was educated in the West, this volume examines both the theoretical and practical aspects of cross-cultural psychology. It takes a contextual-developmental-functional approach linking the child, family, and society as they are embedded in culture. A refreshingly different view, the author presents a portrait of human development from "the other side"--from the perspective of the "majority world." In a world seemingly dominated by American psychology, she proposes the cross-cultural orientation as a corrective to the culture-boundedness of much of Euro-American psychology. Analyzing human development in context while avoiding the pitfalls of extreme relativism, this work studies development with an inclusive, holistic, and ecological perspective, focusing on the development of the self and of competence. In so doing, it also attempts to combine cultural contextualism with universalistic standards and psychological processes. It proposes a theory of family change which challenges some commonly held modernization assumptions, and links theory and application while examining the role of psychology in inducing social change.

Excerpt

M. Brewster Smith University of California, Santa Cruz

This is an extraordinary book by an author who needs no introduction in the world of international psychology. Çiğdem Kağıitçıbaşı (ğ is silent in Turkish, lengthening the preceding vowel; ç has the value of ch, ş of sh), who is professor of psychology at Koc University in Istanbul and past president of the Turkish Psychological Association, is also former president of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology and two-term member of the executive committee of the International Union of Scientific Psychology. In 1993 she received the American Psychological Association's award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology. This volume represents the culmination of a distinguished career, which I have been privileged to follow with admiration ever since her graduate study at the University of California, Berkeley, some three decades ago. In that sense, as her preface attests, it is a very personal book.

But it is also an exemplary, up-to-the-moment exposition of a view of human and social development "from the other side"--from the perspective of what Kağıtçıbaşı aptly calls the Majority World (no longer sensibly labeled Third World) of countries that do not participate fully in the benefits and problems of the industrial and postindustrial West. Further, it is an authoritative presentation of the cross-cultural perspective, as an essential corrective to the unthinking culture-boundedness of much Euro-American psychology. It is a searching analysis of perspectives on human development that escape the pitfalls of extreme relativism to which advocates of a culturally contextual approach are vulnerable, in terms of criteria of cognitive competence and of developing selfhood in which autonomy and relatedness are in balance. It is an original contribution to the theory of family change, opposing the expectation of modernization theory that . . .

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