Synopses & Reviews
This book articulates a bold, new, systematic theory of psychology, culture, and their interrelation. It explains how macro cultural factors -- social institutions, cultural artifacts, and cultural concepts -- are the cornerstones of society and how they form the origins and characteristics of psychological phenomena. This theory is used to explain the diversity of psychological phenomena such as emotions, self, intelligence, sexuality, memory, reasoning, perception, developmental processes, and mental illness. Ratner draws upon Lev Vygotsky's sociocultural psychology, Bronfenbrenner's ecological psychology, as well as work in sociology, anthropology, history, and geography, to explore the political implications and assumptions of psychological theories regarding social policy and reform.
The theory outlined here addresses current theoretical and political issues such as agency, realism, objectivity, subjectivism, structuralism, postmodernism, and multiculturalism. In this sense, the book articulates a systematic political philosophy of mind to examine numerous approaches to psychology, including indigenous psychology, cross-cultural psychology, activity theory, discourse analysis, mainstream psychology, and evolutionary psychology.
"An audacious, creative work that explains, extends, and enriches cultural psychology. Ratner discusses the full range of psychological phenomena and shows why they are cultural. Ratner probes more deeply into society than most other psychologists have, and he explains how culture, psychological phenomena, and psychological theories have political foundations and implications. This book is a gold mine of ideas about addressing social and psychological problems of our time." -- Per F. Gjerde, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Macro Cultural Psychology is a phenomenal volume that demands the attention of not only working psychologists, but of everyone toiling in all branches of the social sciences. To ignore Ratner's message is to do a great disservice to one's profession and to those whose lives are impacted by social science research." -- James Lantolf, Greer Professor of Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics, and Director, Center for Language Acquisition, Pennsylvania State University
"A fresh look at cultural psychology that produces a whole new understanding of how the mind works in relation to the society we live in. Ratner offers a new understanding of society itself, with powerful implications for social and psychological improvement. He constructs a well-reasoned philosophical argument and presents interesting examples from all areas of the social sciences to make the theory readily understandable. Ratner brings needed order to the broad study of psychology and culture." -- Franz Breuer, Professor of Psychology, University of Muenster, Germany
"In a hard-hitting style, the author shows how even cultural psychologists fail to notice the insidious effects of a consumer culture within capitalist societies. This book presents a holistic perspective that is a much needed corrective to the individualistic and molecular approach of the mainstream of modern psychology. It will be an eye-opener for any social scientist today." -- DDS Anand C. Paranjpe, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Canada
"This book is important, impressive, and inspiring. Ratner applies cultural psychology to a wealth of psychical phenomena, including emotions, self, agency, perception, cognition, memory, developmental processes, mental illness, gender, and sexuality. The work is truly multidisciplinary as it draws on examples from history, anthropology, sociology, and geography. Ratner also provides an exciting new interpretation of Vygotsky's work, elucidating its macro cultural concepts and extending them." -- Jacob A. Belzen, Professor of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
About the Author
Carl Ratner is the Director of The Institute for Cultural Research and Education in Northern California. He has written widely on cultural psychology and qualitative methodology. He has been a professor of social psychology and has also spent extensive periods abroad, including time in Saudi Arabia, five months at Nehru University in India, and two years in China, where he was among the few instructors to teach social psychology after a decades-long ban. He was a visiting scholar in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, Stanford University School of Education, and Penn State Center for Language Acquisition. He has also been the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships and has given numerous workshops on cultural psychology and qualitative methodology in Spain, Taiwan, Germany, England, and other countries. Ratner was on the founding editorial board of the journal Culture & Psychology
. He has been active in the American cooperative movement.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Philosophical and Historical Underpinnings of Macro Cultural Psychology
Chapter Two: General Principles of Cultural Psychology
Chapter Three: Macro Culture and Psychology
Chapter Four: Philosophical Principles of Concrete Macro Cultural Psychology
Chapter Five: Concrete Macro Culture and Psychology
Chapter Six: Macro Cultural Psychological Analysis of Micro Level Psychology vs. Micro Cultural Psychology
Chapter Seven: The Politics of Macro Cultural Psychology
Appendix: A Curriculum of Courses in Cultural Psychology