Unit 2: Introduction
Conceptual, Methodological, and Ethical Issues in Psychology and Culture
for Cross-Cultural Research
Many scholars whose careers have largely focused on culture as a powerful factor in shaping the thought and behavior of all human beings are chronically inquisitive and interested in the "big picture." However, these same individuals are intrigued by many important questions and concerns that guide their thinking about culture's influence (or lack of it) on people. They ask such questions as "What is culture?", "How best to study it?" "To what extent are my views of human behavior clouded by my own prejudices, presuppositions, and training?" It is so important to consider these important questions that any consideration of the relationships between psychology and culture must begin with them.
The several chapters in Unit 2 are quite useful in this regard. However, the serious student will want to consult the existing voluminous material dealing with conceptual and methodological issues. In this Unit we are pleased to be able to present some of the summary views of three modern-day pioneers in the study of psychology and culture. Harry Triandis, Gustav Jahoda, Rogelio Diaz-Guerrero, and Douglas Price-Williams were part of the Founders' Symposium at the 1998 congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Their summaries are presented here through the permission of Swets and Zeitlinger, a publishing company in The Netherlands.
Their views are followed by more extensive examination of questions and issues in the area given by several younger and active researchers in psychology and culture. For more extensive coverage, we urge readers to begin with the 1997 Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology (edited by John Berry and others and published by Allyn and Bacon) and the 2001 Handbook of Culture and Psychology (edited by David Matsumoto and published by Oxford University Press).-