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Beyond Universal Taxonomic Frameworks in Cultural Social Psychology

Beyond Universal Taxonomic Frameworks in Cultural Social Psychology

(p.45) Three Beyond Universal Taxonomic Frameworks in Cultural Social Psychology
Universalism without Uniformity
Joan G. Miller
University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides a critical evaluation of work in the social psychological tradition of cultural psychology. An overview is first presented of the general theoretical assumptions and goals of cultural psychology, a methodologically heterogeneous and interdisciplinary research tradition that is distinguished by its assumptions that culture and self are mutually constitutive. To illustrate the goals of cultural social psychology, an overview is then provided of cross-cultural work that we have conducted that embodies sensitivity to context while challenging the universality of psychological theories of interpersonal morality and social support. Appraisal next centers on contemporary research in cultural social psychology that seeks to culturally broaden social psychological theory through its programs of quantitative and comparative cross-cultural research. It is argued that such work has achieved only mixed success in achieving its goals due to its limited attention to context and embrace of individual difference models of culture. The argument is made that to fully achieve the agenda of cultural social psychology future research in this tradition needs to go beyond essentializing taxonomic frameworks and work to gain more indepth understandings of the cultural meanings and practices of the cultural communities under consideration.

Keywords:   cultural psychology, cross-cultural psychology, morality, motivation, social support, communal norms, India, Japan, context

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