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Unit 3: Introduction

Perspectives from Various Cultural and Ethnic Groups

Center for Cross-Cultural Research
Western Washington University

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This unit is focused on the many ways culture and ethnic group membership shape human priorities and perspectives on relationships, self construal, social and cultural change, and the means by which life gains meaning and purpose for members of various cultural and ethnic groups around the world.   The chapters contain the reflections of  scholars in the field of cross-cultural psychology who have examined variances in human thought and behavior.  The Unit is additionally enriched with four chapters that were originally published in the Proceedings of the 1998 IACCP Conference held in Bellingham, Washington.  This was the first time an IACCP conference was held in the United States.  Because of this, participants in the Jubilee Speakers Series represented four prominent ethnic groups in the U.S.: Black Americans (Jones), Native Americans (Medicine), Hispanic Americans (Padilla), and Asian Americans (Sue).

While it is accurate to say that culture is usually an unconscious and pervasive influence in human experience, some groups become more aware of the meaning of their culture when others try to force changes.  This was the case when Asian, African, Hispanic, and Native American children in the U.S. were forbidden to speak their languages in schools.   Similarly, for many indigenous people around the world, their social and economic resources have been and continue to be confiscated by colonizing or dominating groups.  This has necessitated conscious efforts to protect and retain the cultures of those who are so besieged.  This unit will allow readers to consider such struggles and gain a new perspective on the significance of cultural values in daily life.

Unit 3. To view a chapter, click on the title.
Chapter Author Title
- Editors Unit 3 Introduction
1 James M. Jones Toward a Cultural Psychology of African Americans
2 Beatrice Medicine Directions in Gender Research in American Indian Societies: Two Spirits and Other Categories
3 Amado M. Padilla Hispanic Psychology: A 25-Year Retrospective Look
4 Stanley Sue Asian American Mental Health: What We Know and What We Don't Know
5 John W. Hinkley, Herbert W. Marsh, and Dennis M. McInerney Social Identity and Navajo High School Students: Is a Strong Social Identity Important in the School Context?
6 Susanna A. Hayes Emmett Oliver's Story: Psych-social Development of an Extraordinary Native American
7 Pawel Boski Interactions, Research and History Embedded in Polish Culture: Humanism and Uncertainty Non-Avoidance

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