Indigenous Psychology: Grounding Science in Culture, Why and How?

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Abstract

My agenda is to ground psychological science in culture by using complex rather than overly simple models of culture and using indigenous categories as criteria of a translation test to determine the adequacy of scientific models of culture. I first explore the compatibility between Chinese indigenous categories and complex models of culture, by casting in the theoretical framework of symmetry and symmetry breaking (Bolender, 2010) a series of translations performed on Fiske's (1991) relational models theory. Next, I show how the dimensional approach to culture, prevalent in mainstream psychology, fails the translation test. Ethical implications of this analysis for cross cultural psychology are discussed.

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