Synopses & Reviews
Gerald Erchak's engaging book stakes out a position in the field of psychological anthropology. He addresses himself primarily to students in the field, and also to specialists who want a clearly presented approach. He argues that culture shapes the human self and behavior, and that the self and behavior are in turn adapted to culture. After defining basic concepts and debates in the field, Erchak takes up the topics of socialization, gender, sexuality, collective behavior, national character, deviance, behavioral disorder, cognition, and emotion (This new textbook contains more material about sexuality and gender than any other such text). For Erhcak, psychocultural adaptation is basic to human life. Culture plays a central role in our behavior and survival.
Each chapter reviews the literature, not as a scholar would, but rather to provide an overview of central issues in the field. Each chapter also provides case material, some of which is drawn from Erchak's own work on West African socialization, Micronesian social change, family violence, initiation rites, and alcoholism. His examples are drawn from the U.S. as well as non-Western cultures. This book will be of particular interest to teachers looking for new texts for undergraduate courses in anthropology, psychology, and sociology.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -198) and index.