Bruner's Search for Meaning: A Conversation between Psychology and Anthropology



Abstract We introduce a special issue of Ethos devoted to the work of Jerome Bruner and his careerlong attempts to seek innovative ways to foster a dialogue between psychology and anthropology. The articles in this special issue situate Bruner's meaning-centered approach to psychology and his groundbreaking work on narrative in the broader context of the developmental trajectory of both of fields of inquiry. Bruner's work has been enormously influential in the subfields of cultural psychology and psychological anthropology, especially because of his important contributions to our understanding of the intimate relationship between culture and mind. We examine Bruner's past and ongoing engagement with such luminary figures as Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Alfred Kroeber, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Clifford Geertz to highlight points of convergence and tension between his version of cultural psychology and contemporary theorizing and practice in psychological anthropology. We also review his practical and theoretical contributions to the fields of medicine, law, and education. [Jerome Bruner, cultural psychology, psychological anthropology, meaning, narrative, mind, culture]