A Perspective on Psychological Functioning and Social Reform
By Carl Ratner
Psychology Press – 2005 – 280 pages
Psychology Press – 2005 – 280 pages
Carl Ratner's new book deepens our understanding of psychology by emphasizing the role that cultural factors, such as social institutions, artifacts, and cultural concepts play in psychological functioning. The author demonstrates the impact of culture on stimulating and structuring emotion, personality, perception, cognition, memory, sexuality, and mental illness. Examples from interdisciplinary social science research illuminate a sophisticated dialectical relationship between cultural factors and psychological phenomena.
Written in an engaging style, the book articulates a new theory, "macro cultural psychology", and a qualitative methodology for investigating the cultural origins, characteristics, and functions of psychological phenomena. Ratner explains how this cultural perspective can be used to enhance psychological growth, illuminate directions for social reform, and how social reform can enhance psychological functioning, and vice versa.
Cultural Psychology critically examines several prominent psychological approaches including social constructionism, feminism, hermeneutics, psychobiology, evolutionary, cross-cultural, ecological, and mainstream psychology. The book articulates a theory of macro culture that emphasizes the political dimension of culture and psychology.
Intended for students, researchers, and practitioners in psychology, education, psychotherapy, history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, and policy makers and practitioners in public health and social service who are interested in understanding cultural aspects of psychology. The book is an appropriate text for courses in cross-cultural or community psychology, social work, social theory, and critical thinking.
"This is a very important book. Its message is that psychology gives inadequate attention to culture, especially macroculture. Ratner's critiques of different approaches to psychology are excellent. This is a great book."
"The book is very timely in the contemporary context of developing cultural psychology…engaging, substantive, and at times provocative."
—Jaan Valsiner, Ph.D.
"This book makes a unique contribution …by drawing out the important connections between culture, psychology, and power…appropriate for undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural psychology …Scholars in cultural psychology…developmental psychology…anthropology, sociology, and even public policy would benefit from reading this book."
—Victoria Plaut, Ph.D.
College of the Holy Cross
"A timely and urgently needed contribution to the field of psychology…a unified, coherent text on cultural psychology."
—Glenn Adams, Ph.D.
University of Kansas
Contents: Preface. Part I: Psychology, Culture, Politics, Science. Introduction to Macro Cultural Psychology. Macro Culture. Part II: Principles of Macro Cultural Psychology. The Dialectical Integration of Psychological Phenomena and Macro Cultural Factors. Part III: Applications of Macro Cultural Psychology to Research Methodology, Social Reform, and Personal Growth. Research Methodology for Macro Cultural Psychology. Macro Cultural Psychology, Social Reform, and Psychological Change. Macro Cultural Psychology and Personal Growth. Scientific and Political Deficiencies of Psychological Theories/Constructs That Minimize Macro Culture. Epilogue: A Philosophy of Science and a Social Philosophy for Macro Cultural Psychology.