Understanding the Self and Person in Cultural Context


The subject matter of psychology has varied from consciousness to behaviour to interpersonal relations and practical action in everyday life.   Each culture is said to shape and nurture the structure and style of self definition and the relationship between the personal and the social collective.   As such, the fundamental unit (place) or nexus of psychology varies across cultured worldviews. Furthermore, each culture defines the proper subject of psychological experience, psychological issues ,and questions in its own way. 

During the later part of the twentieth century there was a turning towards indigenous psychologies, partially through the pioneering work of people like Stanislav Malinowski, Margaret Mead and   Clifford Geertz.

Many other perspectives have a risen on person, self, and personality from the views of indigenous psychologies, psychological anthropology, cross-cultural psychology and cultural psychology. Each of these represent a different way to cut up the pie or the divisions of biology, psyche and social experience.

The following represent a collection of perspectives on the self and person seen from some of these views. 

A) Indigenous psychologies of the self: Heelas & Lock D) Self in Western Perspectives:  Self & Person
B) Self in China: China-Self E) Self In Cross-Cultural Psychology: CCSelf
C) Self in Japan: Japan-Self  Next topic: Myth & Culture