Origins and development of indigenous psychologies: An international analysis
Carl Martin Allwood*
Lund University, Sweden
John W. Berry
Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
With contributions by: Carl Martin Allwood; John Berry; Pawel Boski; Fanny M. Cheung; Kwang-Kuo Hwang; Henry Kao; Uichol Kim & Young-Shin Park; Leo Marai; Fathali M. Moghaddam; Linda Waimarie Nikora, Michelle Levy, Bridgette Masters, & Moana Waitoki; A. Bame Nsamenang; Elizabeth Protacio-De Castro (formerly Marcelino), Melecio C. Fabros, & Reginald Kapunan; T. S. Saraswathi; Jai B. P. Sinha; Kuo-Shu Yang
Go to list of papers in the special issue
This article examines the origin, development, and characteristics of the indigenous psychologies (IPs) initiated in various regions of the world. These IPs arose as a reaction to the mainstream version of psychology and seek to reflect the social, political, and cultural character of peoples around the world. Fifteen contributions from researchers from different parts of the world are presented, replying to four questions that were posed to them. A number of common themes were identified in the contributions. Post-colonial reactions to mainstream psychology, and the belief that it was not an efficient aid to solving local social problems, were seen as important reasons for developing IPs. IPs were generally seen as attempts to produce a local psychology within a specific cultural context. Different views about what methods are legitimate in IPs were present (from experiments to various more “humanistic” methods). IPs were commonly seen as being able to open up, invigorate, and improve mainstream psychology. The style of theorizing in the IPs was felt by many to be to build theories from the “bottom up” on the basis of local phenomena, findings, and experiences. Some contributors saw the IP as a kind of cultural psychology, and a few noted that IP and cross-cultural psychology have an interactive mutually enriching relationship. Nearly half of the contributors emphasized the critical reaction to their work on IP by colleagues working more in the line of mainstream psychology. Many contributors felt that IP could contribute to the development of a more general universal psychology. Different indications of heterogeneity in the IPs were found among the contributors, for example, with respect to the role given to religion in the local IP. Sometimes the presence of different IPs within the same country was reported. This also indicates heterogeneity in the IPs.
Cet article examine l'origine, le développement et les caractéristiques des psychologies indigènes (PIs) initiées dans plusieurs régions du monde. Ces PIs ont émergé en réaction à la version dominante de la psychologie et cherchaient à refléter le caractère social, politique et culturel des individus autour du monde. Quinze contributions de chercheurs de différentes parties du monde sont présentées. Ces chercheurs répondent à quatre questions qui leur ont été posées. Un certain nombre de thèmes communs furent identifiés dans les contributions. Les réactions post-coloniales vis-à-vis la psychologie dominante et la croyance qu'il ne s'agissait pas d'une aide efficace pour résoudre des problèmes sociaux locaux furent soulevées comme étant des raisons importantes pour développer les PIs. Les PIs étaient généralement perçues comme des tentatives de produire une psychologie locale dans un contexte culturel spécifique. Des points de vue différents sur les méthodes considérées comme légitimes dans les PIs étaient présentées (des expérimentations à une variété de méthodes plus «humanistes»). Les PIs étaient communément perçues comme étant capables d'ouvrir, de revigorer et d'améliorer la psychologie dominante. Plusieurs ont exprimé que la façon de faire des théories dans les PIs consiste à construire des théories à partir de la base en fonction de phénomènes, d'expériences et de résultats locaux. Certains collaborateurs voyaient les PIs comme une sorte de psychologie culturelle et quelques-uns ont noté que la PI et la psychologie trans-culturelle ont une relation interactive mutuellement enrichissante. Près de la moitié des collaborateurs ont mis l'emphase sur la réaction critique de leurs travaux sur la PI de la part de collègues travaillant davantage en fonction de la psychologie dominante. Plusieurs collaborateurs croyaient que la PI peut contribuer au développement d'une psychologie générale davantage universelle. Différentes indications de l'hétérogénéité dans les PIs ont été trouvées dans les contributions, par exemple, en regard du rôle donné à la religion dans la PI locale. Quelques fois, la présence de différentes PIs dans un même pays était rapportée. Ceci illustre aussi l'hétérogénéité dans les PIs.
Este artículo analiza el origen, el desarrollo y las características de las psicologías tradicionales (PT) iniciadas en zonas diversas del mundo. Estas PT surgieron en respuesta a la versión dominante de la psicología e intentan reflejar el carácter social, político y cultural de los pueblos de todo el mundo. Aquí se presentan quince artículos de investigadores de diferentes partes del mundo que responden a cuatro preguntas que se les plantearon. Los artículos incluyeron varios temas comunes. Las reacciones post-coloniales ante la psicología dominante, y la creencia de que ésta no representaba una ayuda eficaz para resolver los problemas sociales locales, constituyeron buenas razones para que se desarrollaran las PT. En términos generales, las PT se consideraron intentos por producir una psicología local dentro de un contexto cultural específico. Hubo diferentes opiniones respecto a cuáles métodos eran legítimos dentro de las PT (desde experimentos hasta varios métodos más ‘humanísticos’). En general se creía que las PT podían abrir, vigorizar y mejorar la psicología dominante. Para muchos, la manera de crear teorías en las PT consistía en construir teorías a partir de la base, en función de fenómenos, de experiencias y resultados locales. Algunos colaboradores vieron en las PT una especie de psicología cultural, y algunos notaron que las PT y la psicología transcultural guardan una relación interactiva mutuamente enriquecedora. Casi la mitad de los colaboradores subrayaron la reacción crítica que hacia sus trabajos sobre las PT mostraban colegas que trabajaban más dentro de los lineamientos de la psicología dominante. Varios de los colaboradores sentían que las PT podían contribuir al desarrollo de una psicología universal más general. Los colaboradores hallaron distintos indicios de heterogeneidad de las PT, por ejemplo en lo que respecta al papel que se le ha dado a la religión en las PT locales. En ocasiones se reportó la presencia de diferentes PT dentro de un mismo país. Esto es un indicio de heterogeneidad en las PT.
In this article we are concerned with the issue of the origin and development of indigenous psychologies1 in various regions of the world. Specifically, we search for the conditions and processes that underlie the emergence of psychologies that seek to reflect the social, political, and cultural character of peoples around the world. We sought to accomplish this by asking colleagues to reflect on these questions, and then by presenting our analyses of their responses. Following a brief introduction to the field, we present 15 replies to our questions, and conclude with a discussion of the similarities and differences in views about IPs (indigenous psychologies).
It is generally agreed that human behaviour is shaped by the cultural context in which it developed. We can view the discipline of psychology as a complex set of behaviours (including concepts, methods, and interpretations) that emerged in one cultural region of the world (the European-American). These behaviours had their roots mainly in one religio-philosophical tradition (the Judeo-Christian), and had been passed on to the West mainly by one thought-tradition (the Greco-Roman). The outcome is the widespread presence of one indigenous psychology (that of Western societies), which has been exported to, and largely accepted by, other societies.
The IP approach to psychology has developed in many different countries and continents in the last 30 years or so and represents an important challenge to the mainstream2, mainly Western, psychology (WP). The IP approach can be characterized as attempts by researchers in mostly non-Western societies and cultures to develop a psychological science that more closely reflects their own social and cultural premises. Thus, by their own self-understanding, these psychologies reflect, just as WP (Western mainstream psychology) does, their own social and cultural contexts.
The IPs should be distinguished from other forms of culture-oriented psychologies such as cross-cultural psychology and cultural psychology (see, e.g., Hwang & Yang, 2000). Cross-cultural psychology typically has a comparative perspective (see, e.g., Berry, Poortinga, Segall, & Dasen, 2002) and cultural psychology a perspective inspired by the activity theory created by Soviet psychologists (Vygotsky, Leontiev, and others) and writings in social anthropology (see, e.g., Cole, 1996). The IPs are distinguished from these other approaches by their determination to use their own cultural resources in their development of the psychological discipline.
Such an approach to science constitutes a breach with a traditional view of science as neutral and objective. However, although many observers see merit in the 20th-century positivistic norm that science should be objective and independent of politics and religion, later developments in the study of science (for example in the area of science studies) have demonstrated the dependence between science as it is practised and the society in which it is produced (e.g., Giere, 1992; Mulkay, 1972; Shadish & Fuller, 1994; Ziman, 1995, 2000). The problems researched, the methods by which they are studied, and the type of arguments counted as relevant, valid, and legitimate to support the researchers' conclusions are all seen as dependent on culturally dependent pre-understanding.
Taking a general approach to this issue, even if we recognize the cultural dependency of research—and more specifically of psychology—this still does not solve the more normative issue concerning what types of cultural pre-understandings should be welcomed, or allowed to play a role in, research (see, e.g., Taylor, 1996). It can be seen in the great variety of answers to this issue given the different specific IPs that this is an unresolved issue in these psychologies. For example, the question concerning the role to be given to religious understanding in the IPs is not answered in a uniform way.
There are two questions concerning the IP approach: the extent to which the goal to intentionally create a psychology from one's own social conditions and cultural understandings is compatible with norms about the objectivity in science; and the extent to which it is desirable to achieve such objectivity in research. Both these questions have given impetus to the ongoing development of the IPs. Given our position that WP is also an indigenous one (because it is dependent on its own cultural background), such questions are of equal relevance for WP.
There are many reasons why the IPs are of interest. Each IP provides a new and different perspective from which to gain understanding of the human being. Thus, by intentionally using their cultural context as a starting point for their own development, the IPs have made possible a multiple expansion of the possibilities to improve our understanding of mankind. In addition, the premise subscribed to in the IPs that they, and all other approaches to psychology, are rooted in and relative to their cultural background, poses a significant challenge to WP's traditional self-image of being neutral and objective. By perceiving itself as a culturally dependent, locally-originated indigenous psychology, WP may achieve a more realistic self-image.
Furthermore, because the development of the IPs has incorporated the notion of their cultural contingency into their self-understanding, they provide an informative and provocative example of how such awareness is handled in a research tradition. An intriguing facet here is how the specific IPs relate to the notion of science. For example, to what extent will the IPs attempt to revise, or distance themselves from, traditional notions of science?
An improved understanding of the nature of IP as a constitutive phenomenon (i.e., as a process wherein understanding of the human being is generated) will provide a better understanding about the nature of human knowledge development, and more specifically about the conditions and possibilities for psychological understanding of the human being. In this context, the question of the origin of the psychologies in the IP approach is of great interest. Generally speaking, understanding the origins of a phenomenon provides insight into its background conditions and this, in turn, provides information about the type of phenomenon dealt with. Thus, a better understanding of the origins of the IPs may improve our understanding of the IP approach.
In addition, a better understanding of the origins of IPs provides insight into the processes of the social production of understanding, in this case of understanding generated in a scientific framework. For example, it is of relevance to analyse to what extent the different IPs originated independently in their own cultural contexts, and to what extent their creation was at least partly a consequence of a general zeitgeist and impulses from the international academic arena.
There are different ways to investigate the issues raised above. One way to learn more about what characterizes the IPs, and about their origins, is to ask researchers involved in this approach. Such an approach will provide the informed views of the relevant involved actors. Different researchers are likely to answer the questions in different ways; the degree of heterogeneity in the answers is informative with respect to the diversity among the IPs. Moreover, the answers given by different authors about the characteristics and origins of the IPs are also of interest, since they reflect how the different authors choose to strategically position themselves in the rhetorical arena with respect to the phenomena in question (e.g., Borofsky, 1987; Middleton & Edwards, 1990).
On a more practical level, we attempted to identify the most relevant actors in the field and to ask them to provide their answers to four questions (presented below). We used two criteria for the selection of contributing researchers: (1) to achieve global spread, and (2) to include important/interesting researchers in the field. Initially we sent out a letter of invitation to 20 prominent researchers in the IPs asking them to contribute their answers to our questions. These letters were sent to researchers in all regions of the world. Of those invited, three did not answer (despite reminders), three declined to participate (because they did not consider themselves appropriate respondents), and two agreed to participate, but despite reminders, did not. One further contribution was invited and accepted along the way. Many of the texts contributed were longer than the length stated in the invitation (800 words). We edited these texts and these are included in the present paper with the contributors' approval.
The four questions we asked the contributors to answer were the following:
Give a brief description of the history of the development of the indigenized psychologies globally (e.g., When did the indigenized psychologies start to develop globally? Where did the initiative come from? Name some significant event in the global development of the indigenized psychologies. Describe the approach taken and the important research questions formulated, as you see it, and name some of the important researchers.)
Give a brief description of the history of the development of the indigenized psychologies in your own country (e.g., When did the indigenized psychologies start to develop in your country and what relation did this development have to the global development of indigenized psychologies? Where did the initiative come from in your country? Name some significant event in the development of the indigenized psychologies in your country. Describe the approach taken and the important research questions formulated, as you see it, and name some of the important researchers in your country. To what extent do you consider that an indigenized psychology approach [in contrast to US/Western mainstream psychological research] is dominating psychological research in your country?)
Describe briefly some important characteristics of the indigenized psychologies on the global world level, today.
Describe briefly some important characteristics of the indigenized psychologies in your own country today.
Fanny M. Cheung, Department of Psychology, Chinese University, Hong Kong, China
Global development and characteristics
Theories and constructs of psychology are developed in a cultural context; some are universally applicable, others may be more relevant to a particular cultural context. Psychology as an independent discipline began in Western cultures. With the dominance of Western psychology, there is an assumption that the existing theories are universal. Cross-cultural differences in research findings have identified “culture-bound” or indigenous phenomena, which were often viewed with curiosity but largely ignored in mainstream psychology. Early attempts to import and adapt Western theories and tools have given rise to concerns about their local relevance. Local psychologists have to choose between adapting to Western models or searching for their own theories and tools that provide more meaning. These indigenous approaches were mostly isolated from Western psychology.
With globalization as a social force in the 21st century, cross-cultural psychology is challenging these assumptions and practices, and raising the awareness that Western psychology may itself be an “indigenized” form of psychology. A more integrative approach is now combining the initial dichotomy of etic vs. emic approaches to consider how “universal” constructs may be manifested differently in different cultural contexts, and how “indigenous” constructs may be different ways of cutting the same psychological reality in different cultural contexts.
Country development and characteristics
The indigenization movement in Chinese psychology began in Taiwan in the 1970s. Kuo-Shu Yang pioneered the movement with a focus on important personality constructs in Chinese societies, including traditionalism-modernity and social orientation. He and his associates developed a number of scales to measure these indigenous social constructs and studied the changes in the personality of Chinese people under societal modernization. His theoretical framework and studies have encouraged other psychologists to study the culture-specific aspects of social relationships and behaviours in Chinese societies. These constructs include Face, Harmony, Renqing (reciprocity in relationship), and Yuan (pre-destined relationship). Most of these studies and measures are concentrated in the field of social psychology.
In Hong Kong, psychologists have taken on a more cross-cultural perspective to the development indigenous psychology. Many universal as well as indigenously derived constructs are examined in cross-cultural contexts.
In the field of personality assessment, Fanny Cheung and her colleagues have adopted a combined emic-etic approach to develop a personality inventory that includes both universal and culturally salient personality dimensions that make up the personality structure of the Chinese people (Cheung et al., 2001). The Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI) provides an example of developing a culturally relevant instrument in a non-Western culture using standard psychological assessment methods in mainstream psychology. They identified a personality factor, Interpersonal Relatedness, which could not be encompassed by existing Western personality theories.
According to Cheung and her colleagues (Cheung, Cheung, Wada, & Zhang, 2003), “the goal of indigenous psychology is not only to identify unique aspects of human functioning from the native's perspectives. The identification of culturally relevant dimensions can challenge the encapsulation of mainstream psychology.” The original objective in the development of the CPAI was to provide Chinese psychologists with an instrument that captured important dimensions of personality of the Chinese people. The research findings have led the research team down a more theoretical path to examine how the “indigenous” dimensions may also be relevant in other Asian as well as Western cultures. Given the cross-cultural relevance of these dimensions, the CPAI has been renamed the “Cross-cultural Personality Assessment Inventory.”
Kwang-Kuo Hwang, Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Country development and characteristics
Professor Kuo-Shu Yang is the most prominent leader of the movement for the indigenization of psychology in Taiwan, devoting himself to the promotion and organization of the movement since the end of 1970s. He established a Laboratory of Research for Indigenous Psychology in the National Taiwan University, and inaugurated a journal entitled Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies in 1993. As a consequence of his personal inspiration, his students have conducted numerous empirical studies, most of which have been published in local journals using Chinese as their major language (for an English review of those accomplishments, see Yang, 1999).
I finished my Master's thesis under Dr Yang's supervision, and after completing a doctorate, I became a member of the indigenous psychology group in Taiwan. I am strongly opposed to the approach of “naïve positivism,” arguing that the mere accumulation of empirical research findings makes little contribution to the progress of social science. In recognition of the fact that the epistemology and methodology of scientific psychology are products of Western civilization, I have insisted that the work of theoretical construction and cultural analysis should be carried out on the basis of Western philosophy of science.
I constructed a theoretical model of Face and Favor on the philosophical basis of scientific realism (Hwang, 1987), intending it to be a formal model that is applicable to various cultures. Using the model as a framework, I analysed the deep structure of Confucianism by the method of structuralism (Hwang, 2001), which enables an understanding of the Confucian cultural heritage from the perspective of social psychology. After that, I analysed the Chinese cultural traditions of Daoism, Legalism, and the Martial school, and published these analyses along with previous works (Hwang, 1995).
My early works are mostly cultural analyses from the perspective of social psychology. They can be used as frameworks for conducting psychological research in Confucian societies, but they do not constitute psychological research in themselves. This approach is unique, and is considered bizarre to most of my colleagues in indigenous psychology. The debates on these issues make our colleagues aware of the divergence and conflicts between various approaches within indigenous psychology. Further debate was stimulated by Yang (1993), who published an article entitled Why do we need to develop an indigenous Chinese psychology? and invited several social scientists outside the indigenous camp to comment on his viewpoint, including a historian, an anthropologist, and a philosopher majoring in Western philosophy of science, who questioned the adequacy of his viewpoints from various perspectives.
Recently, I have classified the issues proposed in those debates and analysed them in terms of their standpoint on ontology, epistemology, and methodology (Hwang, 2005). I found that the themes were very similar to those of the debates that have occurred between mainstream and indigenous psychologists in other non-Western countries of the world. I suggested that three levels of breakthroughs must be made in order to ensure progress in indigenous psychology: philosophical reflection; theoretical construction; and empirical research. In order to establish a solid philosophical ground for the future progress of indigenous psychology, I modified the philosophy of constructive realism (Hwang, in press-a), and proposed a conceptual framework to distinguish two types of knowledge, i.e., the scientific knowledge of a microworld constructed by a scientist, and the knowledge used by people in their lifeworlds, which is developed by cultural groups. I then used this framework to explain the modernization of non-Western countries, the emergence of the indigenization movement, the epistemological goal of indigenous psychologies, and the strategy to attain that goal (Hwang, in press-b).
Based on the philosophy of constructive realism, I (Hwang, 2000) have integrated my previous works and have proposed a series of theoretical models on Confucian relationalism. I have used these as frameworks to conduct empirical research on morality (see Hwang, 1998), and conflict resolution in Chinese societies (Hwang, 1997-8). It is expected that this approach might provide a new paradigm for the development of indigenous psychologies in various areas of the world.
Henry Kao, Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guanzhou, China
Global development and characteristics
There are several sources of influence on the development of global indigenous psychologies: (1) changes in developing countries in the 1970s stimulated endogenous and indigenous rethinking about their social and economic conditions by social and behavioural scientists; (2) their dissatisfaction with what they had learned from Western disciplines for solving problems of their homelands; (3) their growing dissatisfaction with the unquestioned, imitative, and replicative nature of psychological research that is deeply rooted in Western psychology; (4) self-reflection on their own social and cultural characteristics that were beyond Western psychological construction; (5) the awareness by some Western psychologists that the nature of psychology was “monocultural,” “Euro-American,” and “indigenous psychology of the West”; and (6) the parochial and insular stands of Western psychology, which disregarded the interests and research done in other countries and languages.
Globally, important researchers have been: R. Ardilla, H. Azuma, J. Berry, R. Diaz-Guerrero, D. Ho, H. Triandis, G. Hofstede, C. Y. Chiu, D. Sinha, J. B. P. Sinha, M. H. Bond, V. Enriquez, H. Stevensen, U. Kim, Lagmay, and F. L. K. Hsu.
The most important research questions for indigenous psychologies are to: (1) examine culture-specific patterns of behaviour in developing societies that require new conceptual and theoretical construction beyond that of the Western psychology; (2) identify and develop unique concepts, constructs, and theories; and (3) do research on: brain, language, and cognition; personality and culture; social behaviour and culture; managerial behaviour; and culture, health, and therapies. Research methods suitable for these topics include: archival analysis of classical writings, folk stories, and religious teachings; field experience and participation; surveys, experiments, testing, and clinical observation; conceptual and theoretical development; and cross-cultural comparisons.
Numerous activities have promoted the development of Chinese indigenous psychology: (1) discussions and conferences on the indigenization of the social and behavioural sciences, which led to the “sinisization-of-psychology” movement in Taiwan and Hong Kong from the early l980s; (2) a series of international conferences on Chinese language and cognitive processes was begun in l981 by the Hong Kong University Department of Psychology; (3) the Conference of Chinese Psychologists, begun in l995 by the National Taiwan University, has been held regularly in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Beijing; (4) the launch of the journal, Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies, in l993 by the Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University. These activities have attended to all areas of psychology, including Chinese language, brain and cognition, managerial behaviour, social behaviour, culture-specific concepts, and health and therapeutic interventions.
Among the key researchers involved in these developments are: M. H. Bond, K. S. Yang, C. F. Yang, D. Ho, H. S. Kao, C. Y. Chiu, K. K. Hwang, H. C. Chen, I. M. Liu, C. M. Cheng, F. M. Cheung, L. H. Tan, O. Tzeng.
Chinese indigenous psychology has focused on a number of themes. These include: (1) research inputs to general understanding and knowledge of human behaviour in order to enrich and complement the contents of contemporary psychology; (2) contributions to theory-building and concept development on the basis of indigenous findings and experiences; (3) contributions to improve the application of psychology to solve problems in developing societies, based on appropriate theories and research conclusions; (4) contributions to inter-cultural communication, understanding, learning, and relations in the context of a globalizing human community.
The salient features of these activities have been: (1) culture-specific and tradition-oriented concept developments and verification; (2) research with universal implications, including work on Chinese language and theory, and on cognitive neuroscience studies, which has contributed to a better understanding of brain functions and the basis of human cognition; (3) research in health and therapy, which has drawn international attention and participation in such areas as acupuncture, Taichi, QiGong, and calligraphy, each with theoretical as well as clinical contributions; and (4) research in social and managerial behaviour that has been valuable for international enterprises operating in the Greater China Circle.
Uichol Kim, and Young-Shin Park, Inha University, Inchon, Korea
Global development and characteristics
Science brings order and understanding into our complex and chaotic world. Physical and biological sciences provided elegant and universal understanding that could be verified and applied to improve the quality of our life. To bring order out of chaos, science proceeds through the process of simplification (hypothesis), generalization (theory), verification (validation), application (testing), and discrimination (refinement). Psychology is one of the last sciences to emerge, attempting to explain the complexities of our inner mind, interpersonal relationship, and socio-cultural realities. During the process of making a science of psychology, we have eliminated central aspects of human functioning (i.e., consciousness, intention, meaning, and goal) in search of abstract and universal laws. Moreover, psychologists hoped to discover universal laws by eliminating the influence of context and culture. As a result, they have eliminated the essence of human being and the validity and generalizability of existing psychological theories have been questioned since the late 1960s (Kim & Berry,1993).
Indigenous psychologies are necessary since existing psychological theories are not universal and since our perception is influenced by our implicit assumptions, context, and meaning. Existing psychological theories reflect the Euro-American values that champion individualistic, de-contextualized, and analytical knowledge. The second main problem is that the application of psychological knowledge resulted in dismal failures. The limitations of psychological theories came to be recognized by Third World scholars in the early 1970s, who began to question the validity and generalizability of Western psychology. Similar criticisms emerged in Europe, which resulted in the creation of numerous European associations and journals.
Psychologists have tried to discover universal laws of perception by eliminating the subjective aspects, such as meaning and context, and study the perception of physical stimulus, as Ebbinghaus has advocated. However, perception of a physical stimulus is qualitatively different from the perception of a meaningful stimulus.
The three most important theses of indigenous psychologies are: (1) realities appear different because we have different assumptions about how to perceive and interpret our world, (2) perception occurs in context, and (3) we perceive reality using our five senses and using symbols and language developed by our culture.
Country development and characteristics
In East Asia, the need for indigenous psychologies was recognized with the analysis of indigenous concepts, such as the Japanese concept of amae (“indulgent dependence”), the Chinese concept of guanxi (human relationship), and the Korean concept of chong (affectionate attachment for a person, place, or thing). These concepts pointed to the limitation of Western theories that are individualistic. East Asian concepts emphasize human relationship. The Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word for “human being” can be literally translated as “human between.” In other words, it is what happens between human beings that make us human. The development of indigenous psychologies that started in the mid-1980s has become an important movement in East Asia.
In Korea, indigenous psychology became synonymous with cultural psychology. In other words, Korean concepts such as chong, chemyon (“face”), and han(“lamentation”) have been the focal point of research (Choi, Kim, & Kim, 1997). Recently, indigenous analyses of psychological concepts (e.g., the study of achievement, stress, self, parent-child relationship, school violence, occupational safety, and trust) have been initiated (Kim, 2001). Indigenous psychology is consistent with Albert Bandura's self-efficacy theory (1997), which recognizes human agency, context, and meaning as being central. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies yielded results that are highly reliable, valid, and applicable. The development of indigenous psychologies in Korea, East Asia, and around the world promises to provide a psychological understanding of human beings that is truly universal, valid, and applicable.
Kuo-Shu Yang, Graduate Institute of Psychology, Fo Guang University, I Lan, Taiwan
While indigenous psychologies began with Wilhelm Wundt's 10-volume work on Völkerpsychologie, the most recent wave began as local academic movements, mainly in India, the Philippines, Mexico, and Taiwan in the early 1970s. They merged into an international academic movement in the early 1980s through the pioneering and influential writings of Durganand Sinha, Virgilio Enriquez, and Rogelio Diaz-Guerrero. Two collections devoted to indigenous psychologies have been important in promoting them globally (Heelas & Locke, 1981; Kim & Berry, 1993).
The motivation for almost all indigenous psychologies in non-Western countries is reactive and defensive, in the sense that they represent serious attempts to get rid of the global dominance of Western psychology. Most expect that Westernized psychologies will eventually be replaced by indigenous psychologies, each of which represents a culturally based knowledge system for doing a better job of understanding, explaining, and predicting local people's day-to-day behaviour. Most, if not all, indigenous psychologists believe that psychologies in all cultures, Western and non-Western, should be indigenous.
The major purposes of the international academic movement of psychological indigenization are at least fourfold: (1) to point out that Western dominance is unhealthy, not only to the development of meaningful and useful psychologies in non-Western cultures, but also to the construction of a comprehensive, balanced global psychology; (2) to arouse non-Western psychologists' need to develop their own indigenous psychology for their own people; (3) to share each other's experiences in doing indigenous psychological research and in promoting their own indigenous psychologies; and (4) to exchange ideas on how to integrate different indigenous psychologies, Western and non-Western, into a cross-culturally indigenous global psychology (Yang, 2000).
While many proponents of indigenous psychology tend to advocate the human science approach (preferring more qualitative methods), I consider both the human science and natural science approaches acceptable when doing indigenous psychological research.
I consider Western psychologists to be indigenous (too numerous to mention here), so I mention only some non-Western indigenous researchers who have made significant contributions internationally: Bor-Shiuang Cheng (Taiwan), Sang-Chin Choi (Korea), Virgilio Enriquez (the Philippines), Rogelio Diaz-Guerrero (Mexico), David Y. F. Ho (Hong Kong), Kwang-Kuo Hwang (Taiwan), Uichol Kim (Korea), Rogelia Pe-Pua (the Philippines), Durganand Sinha (India), Jai B. P. Sinha (India), Susumu Yamaguchi (Japan), Chung-Fang Yang (Hong Kong), Kuo-Shu Yang (Taiwan), and An-Bang Yu (Taiwan).
I began to feel disillusioned with the Westernized (especially Americanized) Chinese psychology around 1974, mostly because the imported Western concepts, theories, methods, and tools could not do justice to the unique, complicated aspects and patterns of Chinese people's psychological and behavioural functioning. In 1975 I launched an academic movement to indigenize psychological research in Chinese societies (i.e., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China), and advocated that the Chinese values, ideas, concepts, ways of thinking, and other cultural elements should be reflected as deeply and thoroughly as possible in all phases of psychological research with Chinese participants.
We held an interdisciplinary conference in 1980 in which 60 Chinese scholars from 10 disciplines in the social sciences and humanities from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore participated. An anthology edited by Yang and Wen and published in Chinese in 1982 has been quite influential in the promotion of the academic movement in Chinese societies.
Starting from 1988, we sped up the tempo to promote indigenous Chinese psychology by: (1) organizing a research team of about 20 professors from different local universities; (2) conducting a set of concerted indigenous empirical studies every 2 or 3 years; (3) holding a large-scale interdisciplinary conference on Chinese psychological functioning every 2 or 3 years; (4) publishing more than 20 books in the Chinese language reporting the methodological, theoretical, and empirical accomplishments of indigenous Chinese psychology; (5) publishing an academic journal entitled Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies (in Chinese) starting from 1993; (6) offering semester courses on indigenous Chinese psychology for graduate and senior undergraduate students in different universities; and (7) offering seminars, workshops, and training programmes on issues concerning indigenous Chinese psychology for graduate students and young faculty members from various universities (for a review, see Yang, 1997).
Ever since 1997, indigenous psychologists in Taiwan have been intentionally increasing their international participation by attending more international conferences and by publishing more papers in international journals and more books with international publishers.
Some indigenous psychologists in Taiwan conducting indigenous research are: Bor-Shiuan Cheng, Ruey-Ling Chu, Li-Li Huang, Kwang-Kuo Hwang, Mei-Chih Li, Tsui-Shan Li, Wen-Ying Lin, LouLu, Chien-Ru Sun, Chung-Kwei Wang, Kuo-Shu Yang, Der-Hui Yee, Kuang-Hui Yeh, and An-Bang Yu.
There are four global characteristics: (1) most indigenous psychologies are more or less a defensive reaction to the dominance of Western (especially American) psychology in shaping local psychologists' ways of thinking; many indigenous psychologists have experienced difficulty in overcoming resistance, not only from Western psychologists, but also from Westernized local psychologists; (2) their ultimate goal is to create a really indigenous local psychology deeply rooted in the particular historical, cultural, social, and language traditions of their own society; (3) indigenous psychologies are diverse in their favourite topics for study, ways of thinking in conceptualization, favoured methods for data collection, and the types of theories constructed; (4) there are currently more indigenous psychologists endorsing cultural relativism than those endorsing cultural universalism.
For 50 years, psychology in Taiwan has been under the sole foreign influence of the United States. Most research psychologists in Taiwan have been trained in the States, and Taiwan has had a thoroughly Americanized psychology. However, indigenous psychologists in Taiwan have been determined to refrain from uncritically, or even blindly, applying American psychologists' concepts, theories, methods, and tools to the study of Chinese behaviour. Instead, they have based their studies on Chinese historical, cultural, social, and language traditions, especially the Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist ones, and have sought to develop an indigenous Chinese psychology suitable for people in all the Chinese societies.
Research, using multiple paradigms, has been completed in more than 40 different areas, including xiaodao (filial piety), face behaviour, yuan (predestined relational affinity) beliefs, bao (reciprocation), renyuan (popularity), yi (righteousness), zhongyong (Confucian Doctrine of the Mean), social-oriented achievement motivation, organizational behaviour, individual traditionality, marital relationship, harmony and conflict, and self psychology (for a review, see Yang, 1999).
Overall, indigenous Chinese psychology is now well received in Taiwan by colleagues who have not adopted such an approach. Indigenous psychologists there have been enjoying equal opportunity in job promotions and research grants.
Elizabeth Protacio-De Castro (formerly Marcelino), Department of Psychology, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, The Philippines, with Melecio C. Fabros, PhD and Reginald Kapunan
Global development and characteristics
The roots of psychology in Asian countries go back two millennia or more in the religio-philosophical treatises and what Ho (1988) calls the “vernacular tradition of the masses,” particularly in India, China, and Japan, but also in the Philippines and many other Asian countries.
The indigenized psychologies started to develop globally following the Second World War. This was highlighted as early as 1968, when Campbell labelled modern psychology as a “Euro-American product,” and 1974, when Nandy called the imported psychology in the developing world a kind of ready-made intellectual package complete with constructs, concepts, methodology, and instruments for data collection that were far removed from the intellectual traditions and sociocultural realities (Kao & Sinha, 1997). In the last decades Asia has become the major site outside the English-speaking world where cross-cultural research has been making strides.
It should be reiterated (D. Sinha, 1996) that though indigenous psychologies predate cross-cultural psychology, the former in many ways can be considered as an out-growth of the latter in its pursuit of getting mainstream psychology to divest its culture-blind and culture-bound tendencies. The two have enriched each other and should be regarded as complementary. As Kao (1989) has observed, “indigenous psychology based on unique behavioral phenomena must of necessity be the foundation upon which cross-cultural psychology is built.”
Western psychology has remained in sharp contrast to religion, but in Eastern thought—especially reflected in the Indian systems of philosophy—religion, philosophy, and psychology do not stand sundered. Likewise, while Western psychology conceptualizes the relationship between man and nature (environment) as dichotomous, in Eastern psychological thinking the two are seen as being in a state of symbiosis.
In the East, psychology has always been intensely practical in its approach. In its effort to be socially relevant, it has developed a perspective that is problem-oriented and interdisciplinary, and is increasingly investigating broader societal issues like deprivation and poverty, social inequality, and agro-economic development. Some important researchers are Durganand Sinha, Virgilio G. Enriquez, Michael H. Bond, D.Y.F. Ho, John Berry, Uichol Kim, Henry S. R. Kao, Anand C. Paranjpe, Kwok Leung, and R. Diaz-Guerrero.
Country development and characteristics
In the Philippines (an American colony for nearly half a century), in the early 1970s there was a strong clamour to dismantle American domination and a call for national self-determination and self-reliance. Filipino social scientists, most of them trained in American universities in the 1950s and '60s, were articulating their dissatisfaction with Western (meaning American) theories and methodologies and the lack of fit between intellectual traditions of less developed countries and Western social science (Atal, 1974). Filipino researchers proclaimed the “limits of Western social research methods in the rural Philippines” (Feliciano, 1965). Most important, the problems caused by the imposition of a foreign language in understanding local culture were recognized.
Upon returning to the Philippines from his doctoral studies at NorthWestern University (Chicago) in 1971, Dr Virgilio G. Enriquez advocated a psychology that truly reflected the Filipino as seen from a Filipino perspective. He, and several of the country's leading social scientists, criticized and corrected earlier (mis)interpretations of supposed national traits by centring on that which truly defines a Filipino: his sense of pakikipagkapwa (his “me/other”orientation or shared identity). Furthermore, he challenged the then-existing norm of understanding cultures from the perspective of a dominant culture, and proposed a more democratic “indigenization from within” approach towards creating a truly universal psychology.
Enriquez instituted the use of the national language both as the medium of instruction in psychology, and as the perfect entry point in the empirical understanding of the Filipino diwa (essence). Enriquez' ideas, together with those of his friends and colleagues (Salazar, Covar, Jocano, and others), succeeded in radicalizing, de-colonizing, rejuvenating, making relevant, and re-inventing psychology in the Philippines.
Enriquez (1985, 1992) defined the major characteristics of Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Phillipine psychology). Its philosophical antecedents include (1) empirical philosophy, academic-scientific psychology, the ideas of Ricardo Pascual, and logical analysis of language; (2) rational philosophy, the clerical tradition (Thomistic philosophy and psychology), and phenomenology; and (3) liberalism, the Philippine propaganda movement, the writings of Philippine heroes Jacinto, Mabini, and del Pilar, and ethnic psychology.
Today, some 10 years after his death, his students and followers (e.g., Protacio-Marcelino, Pe-Pua, Guanzon- Lapena, Ortega, Dalisay) have carried on the tradition—expanding on the ideas of Dr Enriquez and refining the theories and methods of Sikolohiyang Pilipino.
The same criticisms that were levelled against Sikolohiyang Pilipino at its founding are, interesting enough, levelled against it today. Foremost is the issue of who exact1y is the “Pilipino” (Salazar, 1991). In a country of multiple ethnicities, this is a valid point. Furthermore, some argue that Sikolohiyang Pilipino is still not a discipline as much as a movement. Others claim that it is not logico-positivistic enough, or not critical enough. These criticisms/debates have sustained (and attest to) its continuing popularity.
Leo Marai, Psychology Strand, School of Business Administration, University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
Indigenous psychologies remain as an evolutionary part of a society's psychological way of doing things. However, the systematic presentation of its development was presented by Kim and Berry in 1993 in their edited book entitled: Indigenous psychologies: Research experiences in cultural context. In this book, different indigenous psychologists from various countries present their views on the indigenous psychologies that exist, or are emerging in their countries. As reflected from their views, the initiatives came from especially indigenous scholars (usually from Third World countries) who studied in West, but when returning home found that what they had learnt was difficult to apply and, at the extreme, had no relevance. The social developmental problems related to escalating behavioural aspects in developing countries in fact serve as catalysts for developing indigenous psychologies, which may provide some understanding and solutions to these issues. The approach taken is purely indigenous, defining what is indigenous psychologies and the use of indigenous concepts in understanding psychological process, as well as defining the epistemology underlying indigenous works. A recent article by renowned indigenous psychologist Kim (2001) exemplifies robustly the epistemology and the kind of indigenous psychologies that are truly scientific. Kim principally argues that indigenous psychologies represent a paradigm shift from the positivistic approach that is dominating psychology at present to context, epistemology, and phenomenology in orientation. The important researchers in indigenous psychologies globally include; John Berry (Canada), Uichol Kim (Korea), D. Sinha (India), R. Diaz-Guerrero (Mexico), J. Georgas (Greece), P. Boski (Poland), B. F. Lomov, E. A. Budilova, V. A. Koltsova, and A. M. Medvedev (Russia), F. M. Moghaddam (USA), J. E. Trimble (USA), B. Medicine (USA), V. G. Enriquez (Philippines), R. Ardila (Latin America), D. Jodelet (France), Sang-Chin Choi (Korea), Soo-Hyang Choi (Korea), M. Durojaiye (Africa), Padmal de Silva (Great Britain), D. Yau-Fai Hu (Hong Kong), G. Davidson (Australia), D. Thomas (New Zealand), Samy (Fiji), and Leo Marai (Papua New Guinea).
Although there was earlier psychological research on indigenous concepts in the area of testing in Papua New Guinea (e.g., Ord, 1972), the first formal call for indigenous psychologies was made by Marai (1997). In his review on the development of psychology in Papua New Guinea, Marai found that psychology has failed in applied and research domains. Such failures were attributed to the influence of Western psychology in local context, which is inappropriate and irrelevant. Marai proposed that the indigenous psychologists should define the appropriate psychology for the country. Nonetheless, the domination of Western psychology in Papua New Guinea is still evident, especially in the curriculum taught at the universities and in research practices.
There are three important characteristics of indigenous psychologies globally at present. First, on the theoretical front, various proposals in terms of epistemology and theory has been put forward for indigenous psychologies. An excellent article by Kim (2001) quite vividly demonstrates this trend. He argues for indigenous psychologies to incorporate culture, language, philosophy, and science as products of collective effort, and for the relationship between an individual and a group to be viewed as a dynamic, interactive system of mutual influence. Second, indigenous psychologists who have studied in the West, but return home to find that this kind of psychology is difficult to apply in local context, are the ones contributing to the area of psychological research in the indigenous psychologies arena. That is where the centre of gravity is located and we expect to see a paradigm shift from the mainstream positivistic psychology (for an example, see Kim, 2001). Third, indigenous concepts have contributed to the operationalization of indigenous psychologies in different cultural settings, thus providing scientific validity to its study (Kim & Berry, 1993; Matsumoto, 2001).
The characteristic of indigenous psychologies in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the call for defining what form of indigenous psychology is relevant for the country (Marai, 1997). Although there is no systematic presentation of indigenous psychology in PNG, what is needed is a follow-up to that call!
Linda Waimarie Nikora, Michelle Levy, Bridgette Masters, and Moana Waitoki, Maori & Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Global development and characteristics
Indigenous psychology globally is characterized by a reaction against the dominance of the American psychological knowledge “production machine,” and the search by indigenous peoples for a voice in their own future. While some indigenous psychologists are in search of psychological universals, some interested in cross-national studies, and some in teasing out minute similarities and differences between cultures, others have bent to the task of solving local challenges within their own contexts with compatible approaches.
Moghaddam (1987) cleverly maps the flow of psychological knowledge, from the First World, in this instance America, to other nations who are considered “importers” rather than exporters of knowledge. Aotearoa/New Zealand (A/NZ) is considered a Second World nation and importer of psychological knowledge, with very little being exported. Omitted in Moghaddam's analysis is the position of Fourth World nations, defined here as indigenous communities positioned within First and Second World nations, for example, Hawai'ians, Aboriginals, and Maori—the original inhabitants of the lands in which they dwell.
The term “indigenous” has two meanings: one refers to these Fourth World peoples, another to all peoples residing in a society; in both, the focus is on peoples who are self-reflecting. The prospect of the Kim and Berry (1993) book made us very excited. This was to be the first time that the interface between “indigenous” and “psychology” would be bought together and explored in such a major and published way. The book was not very satisfying from the perspective of the first meaning of the term. Indeed, what was revealing was the construction of recent migrants as being just as “indigenous” as Maori, Hawai'ian, and Australian Aboriginals! One could not help but feel that the “natives” were being put upon yet again.
Terminology aside, the objectives of an indigenous psychology are agreeable: That is, to develop psychologies that are not imposed or imported; that are influenced by the cultural contexts in which people live; that are developed from within the culture using a variety of methods; and that result in locally relevant psychological knowledge.
Indigenous psychology in A/NZ has always been a part of how Maori approach wellness, health, and being, stemming from a world-view that values balance, continuity, unity, and purpose. It is not widely written about, yet it is understood and assumed by Maori, and acted upon and expected. Perhaps it is best referred to by the Maori term tikanga, or customary practice—those behaviours, values, ways of doing things, and understanding actions that have always and will continue to be with us.
Early social scientists to A/NZ sought, through key informants, to document a Maori view of the world. These writers and, later, Maori academics Buck and Ngata left a hugely rich information base for contemporary psychologists. The search for Maori psychological frameworks often start with early works such as these rather than with PsycAbstracts.
Up until the 1940s, few academic psychologists took an interest in the Maori world. Research through the 1940s to the 1960s was criticized for being “on” Maori, rather than “with” Maori; the work of Beaglehole, Ritchie, and their students in the culture and personality tradition marked an approach to Maori communities and to local contexts that set the background for the development of cross-cultural and community psychology through the 1970s and 1980s (see Ritchie, 1992; Hamerton, Nikora, Robertson, & Thomas, 1992). Although productive, their efforts still stood in the shadow of dominant Western psychological paradigms.
Irrespective of these advances, in 1987, Abbott and Durie (1987) found psychology to be the most monocultural of all the professional training programmes that they surveyed. They argued that to produce graduates able to work effectively with Maori, increased speed towards the inclusion of Maori content in curriculum development needed to occur. Since then, much has been achieved, but still much more needs to be done (Levy, 2002). Perhaps this explains why Maori psychologists and academics have taken their skills and invested their energies in the “Maori development agenda” that has gripped our country for the last two decades.
Most central to advancing the Maori development agenda has been psychiatrist, psychologist, and professor of Maori Studies, Mason Durie (e.g., 1994). Durie's work has become the touchstone for professionals and policy-makers across the health and welfare sectors. He is not only prolific in his ideas, but he also has a clear and concise way of articulating tikanga—a necessary skill for any exponent of indigenous psychology in A/NZ.
For psychology, the Maori development agenda is to create psychologies to meet the needs of Maori people in a way that maintains a unique cultural heritage, and makes for a better collective Maori future. It is a journey towards Maori self-determination (Nikora, 2001). Our primary focus has been on the development of a critical mass of indigenous psychologists capable of developing robust tikanga-based psychological frameworks. Although a slow process, there is a small yet active group of people who are making a contribution through practice, teaching, research, or involvement in professional organizations (see Nikora, Levy, Masters, Waitoki, Te Awekotuku, & Etheredge, 2003).
T. S. Saraswathi, formerly with the M. S. University of Baroda, Baroda, India
Country development and characteristics
The origin of indigenous psychology in India, as in some other countries in the Orient, is closely entwined with religion. Hinduism, which is described more as a way of life than as a religion, prescribes a code of conduct for human behaviour, recognizing the changing developmental tasks in different life stages.
At the philosophical level, especially in the theory of self-actualization, the states of consciousness are described in great detail and are closely akin to the unconscious, the conscious ego, and the super-ego; transcending these is a super-consciousness or enlightenment. There is also recognition of the base instincts, the emotions (detailed in sculpture, art, music), and the intellect. The self receives particular attention, distinguishing the worldly self, which is bound, from the spiritual self, which can be liberated.
Thus, I see the origins of indigenous psychology in India in Hindu philosophy. Because Hinduism is a way of life, these ideas have permeated the daily life of the population through beliefs, practices, and ethnotheories that continue to influence behaviour in a substantial way.
With respect to the major contributors, I view Prof. Durganand Sinha as having played a lead role, also inspiring the Allahabad school of scholars. Prof. J. B. P. Sinha has also made a distinct contribution, especially in the field of organizational psychology. Others include Prof. R. C. Tripathi, Prof. Girishwar Misra, Prof. Lila Krishnan, and Prof. R. K. Naidu.
In my view, the indigenous psychology perspective does not dominate Indian psychology. There is an increasing and more focused interest; but there is no domination.
The major characteristics of Indian indigenous psychology are not very clear. Perhaps there is an attempt to draw on some of the Indian philosophical concepts that have become an integral part of the Indian psyche (see D. Sinha, 1997).
Jai B. P. Sinha, Assert Institute of Management, Puri, India
Country development and characteristics
Although stray ideas and insights of an indigenous nature appeared in India in the 1950s and 1960s, a clear trend towards the emergence of indigenous psychology was noticed in the 1970s. The trend picked up momentum in the 1980s and subsequently moved towards integrating indigenous and foreign ideas, concepts, and methods. There were at least four factors that played a seminal role:
Disenchantment with Western psychology. Indian psychologists replicated Western studies, theories, and methods. An increasingly large number of inconsistent findings and unconfirmed theories compelled them to think afresh.
With surging nationalism, there was a trend towards de-colonization of psychological knowledge by searching the philosophical roots of Indian wisdom and retrieving indigenous concepts and psychological processes from the ancient texts.
Confronted by the problems of national development and communal conflicts, psychologists found themselves at a loss, because Western psychology did not offer usable solutions or even appropriate perspectives.
Formation of the IACCP certainly provided a rallying ground for psychologists from non-Western cultures to think of alternative psychologies. Collaboration with some of the Western psychologists (e.g., John Berry, Harry Triandis, among others) facilitated the process.
As new ideas and approaches from indigenous origins started coming up, Indian psychologists, particularly those who were the front-runners (see D. Sinha,1997) identified patches of overlap between Indian, Western, and non-Western psychological knowledge, leading to integrative indigenous psychology in India (see J. B. P. Sinha, 2003, for details). A major event that facilitated this process was a series of three sets of surveys of research in psychology, sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (e.g., Pandey, 1988). The surveys showed the imitative and replicative nature of research, which in turn stimulated many psychologists to conduct innovative studies by drawing ideas from their socio-cultural milieu.
It seems that the Western influence and the ancient Indian psycho-spiritual thoughts filtered through folkways (consisting of common Indian beliefs, preferences, norms, and so on) to generate five overlapping trends towards indigenous psychology in India (J. B. P. Sinha, 2003).
A purist endogenous trend supported by beliefs and/or some evidence that the ancient Indian wisdom has patches of similarities with Western psychology. Moreover, it presents a more promising view of psychological well-being (e.g., Bhawuk, 1999).
A trend towards endogenous indigenization in which ancient Indian concepts (e.g., nishakam karma) are operationalized to show their relevance for the present day (Pande & Naidu, 1992).
A purist exogenous trend in which Western concepts and methods (information integration theory and method) are employed to study Indian reality (concept of fairness, group harmony, and so on).
A trend towards exogenous indigenization, in which Western concepts (such as ingratiation, achievement motivation, etc.), framework (e.g., psycho-analytic, Kakar, 1978), and methods (for example, level of aspirations, field dependence) were modified and adapted to examine Indian reality.
A trend towards an integrative indigenization, in which Western and Indian concepts and methods were integrated to produce hybrid concepts and theories (e.g., nurturing task leadership, J. B. P. Sinha, 1995 ).
In the future, all five trends are going to get stronger, creating a multi-corned space for building indigenous psychology in India that might contribute to a more enriched universal psychology. However, indigenous psychology is still a “little culture” dominated by Western psychology.
Fathali M. Moghaddam, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
Indigenous psychology in non-Western societies evolved as a result of two sets of influences, internal and external to non-Western societies. The internal influences concerned resources, and particularly reaching a critical mass of trained psychologists.
This growth in internal resources coincided with a number of movements internationally. First, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and various UN agencies, non-Western psychologists came across the concept of “appropriate technology,” and soon learned to raise the question of “appropriateness” with respect to imported psychological knowledge (Moghaddam & Taylor, 1986). Second, in the 1960s a number of European psychologists, for example, Henri Tajfel and Serge Moscovici in social psychology, were spearheading a movement to establish a distinct European psychology, separate from the dominant United States model (Moghaddam, 1987). These developments influenced Asian and African psychologists to do the same, as is apparent from their new journals. A third factor acting as an impetus for indigenous psychology in non-Western societies has been minority movements in the West: feminist psychology, Black psychology, and Latino psychology.
Without doubt the most important event leading to a movement toward indigenous psychology in Iran is the revolution of 1978. The Shah was viewed as a puppet of the West and particularly the United States, a roadblock to any attempt to achieve an authentic Iranian voice, including one in psychology. The attack on the Shah was associated with an attack on Western world-views, particularly in psychology and economics. When the universities re-opened after the fall of the Shah's regime in the “spring of revolution” in 1979, there was tremendous pressure on psychologists to abandon traditional Western models and develop an alternative psychological science, one “appropriate” for the Iranian population (Moghaddam, 2002). The criticisms ranged from the characteristics of research methods used in traditional Western psychology, to the assumptions underlying the very foundations of Western psychology. However, the last quarter of a century have shown that the development of an indigenous psychology is not an easy path to follow, particularly under difficult political conditions.
The movement toward an indigenous psychology in Iran has been confronted by major challenges arising from the post-revolution political context. The so-called “cultural revolution” of the early 1980s in Iran, in important ways resulted in even greater reliance on US psychology. A review of the main texts, journals, research projects, and conferences in Iran reveals that although there is still genuine interest in developing an indigenous psychology, the reliance on Western and particularly US models continues to be considerable. This is particularly true in the most competitive universities, where professors with the highest status are those with the greatest success in working with traditional Western models of psychology.
There are three major international trends to be considered:
Increased international trade and communications; associated with this is increased export of traditional US psychology to different parts of the world.
Serious and, to some extent, successful attempts by non-Western psychologists to move toward indigenous psychology using alternative methods and models, particularly in parts of South America, the Indian subcontinent, mainland China, and South Korea. These indigenization movements are particularly associated with new qualitative/discursive methods, and a rejection of the traditional causal model of behaviour.
Some progressive movements to develop indigenous psychology in Russia and former Soviet block countries, based on Vygotsky and others, rather than on orthodox Marxist-Leninist ideology. The re-discovery of Vygotsky is revitalizing indigenous psychology in Russia and elsewhere (Moghaddam, 2002).
Indigenous psychology in Iran currently involves at least three different movements. A movement (1) to develop an “Islamic psychology” was present in major universities from at least the early 1970s and continues to produce intriguing monographs (in Farsi). However, probably because of its ideological leanings and lack of attention to empirical research, this “Islamic psychology” is receiving more attention in schools of theology and philosophy than in the more prominent departments of psychology.
Whereas the movement towards “Islamic psychology” is sanctioned by the Iranian authorities, efforts to develop an indigenous psychology of (2) gender and of (3) democracy and social change (Moghaddam, 2002) have not been actively supported, and are often seen as being associated with movements opposed to the Islamic government. However, because in some major universities over 85% of psychology students are female, and because of the continuing political struggles in Iran, it is inevitable that at least some Iranian psychologists should seek to develop a psychological science that more effectively addresses the issues of gender and democracy in Iran. This struggle has led to a paradoxical situation: In many cases censors are permitting the translation and publication of traditional US texts in Iran, but not allowing the publication of feminist and liberation psychology by Iranian authors. This is because in many ways traditional US texts are conservative and non-threatening, relative to feminist and liberation psychology.
A. Bame Nsamenang, Centre de ressources pour le développement humain, Université de Yaoundé, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Every cultural community the world over has an indigenous psychology, whether articulated or not. Thus, human psychological functioning predates psychology as an academic discipline. Why is there a gulf between academic psychology and the one that is accumulating as indigenous psychology? It is clear that extant psychological knowledge has been wrung from predominantly one group of human beings, not from a representative sample of humanity. Can psychological research be carried out on all human beings? Is psychology's subject matter, the human being, a global species? A search for answers to these rogue questions can begin to locate the conceptual origin of indigenous psychology at a point in human history when, wittingly or unwittingly, one group of human beings considered itself to be more human than all the others. This then led to efforts to exclude the behaviour and developmental paths of “outlandish” humans from a discipline that studied “true humanity.” For example, while all other peoples had culture, civilization was “something that belonged to Europe as a treasure that shall be enjoyed by the entire planet” (Mignolo, 1998, p. 33). Thus, somewhere about European Enlightenment, the academic disciplines emerged and these efforts transformed into the distinction between the civilized and savage minds; and eventually down to our day into mainstream psychology and other psychologies, including indigenous psychology.
Psychology can thus be regarded as an outreach discipline of Europe's civilizing mission, or more accurately as its civilizational studies. Efforts to distinguish psychology from indigenous psychology reinforce this point and are better interpreted as attempts to clarify the “foundation of a field of study that located Europe as locus of enunciation and other civilizations of the planet as the locus of the enunciated” (Mignolo, 1998, p. 33). Mignolo further refers to “the connivance between disciplinary foundations and colonial powers” (p. 34). Today, mainstream psychology and Western forces of globalization sustain the connivance.
Psychology is much more an intellectual arm of Europe's civilizing mission and much less a universal science of human behaviour. One image of psychology is as a technological gadget that improves in historical time with Western civilization and scientific progress; hence the distinction between technological and nontechnological intelligences (Mundy-Castle, 1974)—respectively, of psychology and indigenous psychology. One evidence of this in publication traditions is that the sources of data from non-European research participants have to be unambiguously explicated, which is not typically the case with data from Europe and the “mainstream” population in its first class diaspora, North America.
Although the conceptual origin of indigenous psychology is much earlier, a reading of the export and import of psychological concepts and methods is replete with reactions to efforts to “indigenize” or culturize them to the US marketplace and US psychology, which is itself an indigenous psychology. Publications by D. Sinha (1997) for India, and for Africa by Durojaiye (1993) and Nsamenang (2001), highlight the origins of indigenous efforts to understand local behaviour or the rise of reaction against the hegemony of an imported (imposed) psychology, whether from the US or elsewhere.
The efforts to “domesticate” psychological knowledge in Cameroon, as elsewhere in Africa, are linked to resistance against the imposition of colonial knowledge systems, which began centuries ago and continue today in various forms. Psychology is a very young and fledgling discipline in Cameroon, and is still largely tied to the apron strings of service disciplines like education, social work, and medicine (Nsamenang, 1993, 1995). Accordingly, the history of the development of indigenized psychology in Cameroon, as in much of the continent, begins with efforts to appropriate these disciplines and/or services to national realities. Two examples of academic efforts are Nsamenang's (1992) publication of Human Development in Cultural Context: A Third World Perspective and a workshop on Child Development and National Development held in Yaounde, Cameroon in 1992 (Nsamenang & Dasen, 1993).
First, with the increasing salience of psychological phenomena, local precepts and the voices of research participants increasingly find their entry into psychological science. Second, indigenous psychology has sensitized an otherwise insensitive psychological community to the diversity of its subject matter. Third, in spite of resistance to the conceptualization of the diversity of the discipline's subject matter, growing numbers of psychologists are becoming aware that some concepts and methods are not applicable to the global human condition. This is leading to an expansion of visions and efforts to evolve new methods that capture hitherto excluded psychological phenomena. The so-called “soft” methods of qualitative research (Serpell & Akkari, 2001) fall within these new efforts. Fourth, the most “resistant cohort” of psychologists are further splintering the discipline and focusing their splinters more in biology than on culture, given that biology is more amenable to new technologies.
Efforts to indigenize psychology in Cameroon are inchoate. However, two trends are noticeable. First, efforts are being made to free education/training curricula from excessive Eurocentrism and to indigenize the training of professionals and scholars (Ministry of Education, 1995), including psychologists. Second, developmental research is endeavouring to focus on African social ontogeny, a developmental path in lifespan perspective within an African world-view, espoused by Nsamenang (1992, 2001).
Carl Martin Allwood, Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Global development and characteristics
Human understanding is dependent on the social and cultural conditions in which it is generated and sustained. Indigenized psychologies exemplify what may happen to a scientific knowledge tradition developed in one cultural context (the West) when it is moved to other cultural contexts (Allwood, 1998). By indigenized psychologies I mean psychologies that are developed as a reaction to mainstream psychology as it has been, and is, developed mainly in the USA. I exclude from this definition the indigenous psychologies that have traditionally been part of many cultures (see Allwood, 2002).
The history of the indigenized psychologies is in large part specific to each country or cultural region. Researchers in different societies have reacted to Western psychology from their own conditions. Generally, there appear to be two motives for the development of the indigenized psychologies, one practical and one cultural/ideological.
The practical motive is that in many non-Western contexts Western psychology has often been found not to be very useful for solving social problems. The cultural/ideological motive is that in many non-Western countries Western psychology is considered not to reflect the researcher's own cultural conceptions or understandings. For example, one may miss perspectives, theoretical understandings, or concepts from one's own culture. Moreover, Western psychology is often felt to be too liberal, individualistic, or materialistic. The desire to indigenize one's own psychological research can be seen as an effect of a broader post-colonial reaction. In many countries, Western psychology was introduced during the colonial period and the indigenization process has often been part of a more general national post-colonial reaction (D. Sinha, 1997).
Different aspects of Western psychology have been indigenized. These include researching phenomena and populations from one's own country or culture, but still using problems and methods from Western psychology. A more ambitious form is to focus on problems that come out of the needs of the country's own culture and society. Another approach is to indigenize the research methodology in order to make it more appropriate to one's own research context. One can also attempt to use or develop concepts and theories that are more representative of one's own cultural tradition. Finally, specific ontological postulates may be introduced (e.g., Ghamari-Tabrizi, 1996, and other articles in the same issue).
Globally, it is important to emphasize the heterogeneity of indigenized psychologies since they are a product of their own specific social and cultural conditions. However, shared features among various indigenized psychologies present an interesting empirical research question. As described above, a common denominator is to object to US American psychology. Similarly, the role played by international conferences and associations in the development of the indigenized psychologies deserves further research.
Local development and characteristics
At the beginning of the 20th century, the early development of the field of psychology in Sweden was influenced by various continental European traditions (for a brief overview, see Lundberg, 2001). However, after the Second World War, Sweden was heavily influenced by Anglo-American culture, and continental philosophical approaches became less popular in psychology. Swedish researchers in psychology oriented themselves mainly to US and British psychology. The same is the case today. There is no noticeable tendency to develop a specifically Swedish psychology, except possibly in the few examples described below. However, different types of measurement scales developed in the US and Britain are translated into Swedish and standardized in the Swedish setting. And in applied contexts, there is a felt need to investigate phenomena as they occur in Sweden.
In social psychology, there is some interest in European aspects such as the work of Henry Tajfel on social identity. Some parts of clinical psychology have been influenced by psychoanalysis (including, in highbrow academia, Lacan) and its dynamic offspring. There is also interest among some researchers (for example in organizational psychology) in the ongoing development of the ex-Soviet social cultural school of Vygotsky and Leontiev. Given these few exceptions, there is very little contact between Swedish psychology and the more country-specific psychologies of countries outside of the Anglo-American cultural sphere.
A rare instance of a more typically Swedish psychology is the “psychology of labour,” which was influenced by the reformist social democratic ideas that have dominated the political scene and the administration of Sweden in the last 70 years. It has been oriented towards improving conditions for employees both in state-run organizations and services and in private companies. This field of psychology was one influence behind the development of the Scandinavian Systems Development School and its approach to the development of computer systems, which emphasizes the importance of the role of employees in the development and introduction of new computer systems in the workplace (see Allwood & Hakken, 2001).
John Berry, Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
Global development and characteristics
Much of the interest in indigenous perspectives in psychology has been in societies commonly called “developing.” Often overlooked is the idea that WASP (Western Academic Scientific Psychology) is itself an indigenous psychology rooted in a particular cultural tradition. Moscovici (1972) argued that the social psychology then in existence was a set of topics and findings that were rooted in the interests and social problems of one society (the USA). He called upon European social psychologists to examine their own social reality, and to develop their own concepts, and research findings based on their own reality. At the same time, Berry and Wilde (1972) published a book that promoted the idea that Canadian social psychology was characterized by imitative (of USA) research, but could (or should) be rooted in some core features of Canadian society. These core features might be issues of: living in the North; understanding both English-French, and Aboriginal-non-Aboriginal relations; and researching multiculturalism, so that this social reality could succeed as a viable way of living together in culturally plural societies. While the European initiative took root, and led to the establishment of an association and a journal, the Canadian initiative was greeted as a virtual absurdity!
At much the same time, indigenous psychologies were being developed in many societies, but were not really coordinated into a new world view about the nature of the discipline. However, those who were becoming aware of the international spread of the approach also proposed that there could be a comparative (rather than only a local) use of the emerging concepts and data. Proposals were made for “cross-indigenous” or “universal” approaches that would integrate the emerging ideas and findings from many societies. One attempt to bring many of these approaches together was made in a book edited by Kim and Berry (1993).
Country development and characteristics
As noted above, initial proposals were made in the early 1970s to develop a psychology that would be more relevant to understanding behaviour rooted in the contextual realities of Canada. These proposals were accompanied by an explicit rejection of the automatic relevance and validity of psychology developed elsewhere. For example, Berry (1974) likened psychology as a science to a blueprint of a machine or house, and asked: If our blueprint was created elsewhere, for a different reality, how can we hope to make sense of the complex reality that we have before us? I went on to suggest that we should begin to create a new blueprint, one that considers the core features of our own society, and then launch a programme of conceptualization and research that corresponds to it. This proposal shares much of the thinking that was underway elsewhere in the indigenization movement. However, in Canada it coincided with a form of emergent nationalism, and we were criticized as being “anti-American” and overtly nationalist, rather than seeking a more relevant discipline. (Note that being “non-American” in Canada is often assumed to be the same as being “anti-American”!) Some psychologists in Canada participated in this initiative, but most did not, believing it (possibly quite rightly) to be a barrier to their career advancement.
Subsequent work focused on the distinction between psychology in Canada, and a psychology of Canada (Berry, 1983). The former was an imported version of the discipline, usually without modification, and resembled the “imposed etic” variety of work more generally seen in cross-cultural psychology. The latter is an indigenous or “societal” psychology that takes the local context as its starting point, and resembles the “emic” perspective. To develop this, I proposed a matrix that identified three special features of Canadian society that should inform the development of a Canadian psychology: (1) our “northern” ecosystem, with a particular focus on its primary inhabitants (indigenous peoples), and those that move there (migrant and seasonal workers, miners, hunters, trappers, etc.); (2) our “dualism,” based on the substantial representation in our population of people from France and Great Britain (involving the use of two languages, bilingualism, intercultural relations and conflict, etc.); and (3) our “pluralism,” based on the increasing range of cultural origins and diversity of our population (involving studies of immigration/refugee phenomena, inter-ethnic attitudes, policy orientations, and changing institutions). These three sets of phenomena all involve a process of mutual acculturation, an area of particular interest to me and many other psychologists in Canada. The second dimension of this matrix was a set of four psychological domains: (1) social, (2) clinical, (3) educational, and (4) work psychology. Considerable work had already been accomplished in the areas of bilingualism (by W. E. Lambert and his colleagues) and with indigenous peoples (mainly by anthropologists), but most of the rest of the work proposed in the matrix remains to be done.
Pawel Boski, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Warsaw, Poland
Global development and characteristics
In this contribution, the concepts “cultural psychology” and “indigenous psychology” are used as equivalent (C/IP for convenience). C/IP is different from cross-cultural psychology (C-CP) in terms of the role and amount of culture they postulate for psychology (Boski, 2002).
C/IP studies the human psyche as embedded in the web of meanings and symbols or mediated by artefacts. It is contrasted with mainstream psychology by the following three criteria: (1) making a sharp distinction between humans and animal species, (2) postulating cultural psyche rather than pure thoughts, feelings, etc. This second criterion is also the source of differentiation between C-CP and C/IP, (3) seeing psyche as intrinsically formed (or shaped) by culture, i.e., culture is not seen as a quasi-independent variable of which individuals can become stripped or “unpacked,” as C-CP wants it.
Thus, the following is a framework for a discipline that constitutes itself in opposition, or as complementary, to mainstream psychology and to cross-cultural psychology: The study of the mediation of psychological processes by cultural artifacts (tools, symbols, scripts, normative constraints, philosophies, archetypes, etc.), which create the context and sense of meaning and intention, instead of studying pure psychological processes in abstract and in articifial experiments. Since cultural contextual mediation is always specific, cultural psychology must be indigenous psychology, by definition.
C/IP was originally initiated by non-Western authors dissatisfied with C-CP's universalist paradigms and approaches. Today, when a standard C-CP study becomes a multinational investigation, C/IP has the ambition of complementing globalization with localization.
The literature on C/IP can be separated into: (1) conceptual-programmatic works postulating and drawing attention to the need for C/IP (D. Sinha, 1997; Kim,2001; and many contributors in Kim & Berry, 1993); (2) research-based theoretical contributions. Examples of C/IP psychologists are: Cole (1996), Wierzbicka (1999), Nisbett (2003), and Kitayama and Markus (2000); this author identifies himself with the latter group.
C/IP projects can be quite specific (ethnic) or present grand schemes rooted in core elements of civilizations. Usually, indigenous constructs are language-specific and remain basically not translatable into other languages (i.e., lost in translation), e.g.: amae (Japanese), lajya (Hindi), cheong/simcheong (Korean),sarmatism (Polish), simpatico (Latin/Mexican). According to this author's view, the most adequate way of presenting indigenous concepts to foreigners (including cultural psychologists!) is through pictorial means and not through verbal code, where the phenomenon of lost in translation will most likely occur.
Today's main impetus for cultural psychology clearly comes from American-East Asian comparative studies, conducted by Markus and Kitayama, Nisbett, Kaiping Peng, and their associates. These studies are concerned respectively with cultural constructions of independent-interdependent self, and analytical-holistic modes of thinking. While comparative in methodology, these authors' projects are clearly distinct from mega-projects based on samples from all over the world. It is also hard to miss the fact that researchers from these camps do not participate in IACCP activities.
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other cultures of East Asia have the richness of the past and the dynamism of today, which must result in truly indigenous formulations vis-à-vis Western psychology. Kim and Yang (in press) exemplifies this trend.
Europe is currently undergoing tremendous cultural changes, two of which appear most crucial: (1) massive immigration from materially poor regions of the world; and (2) integration of 30 nation states into the EU, after many years of being ravaged by wars. These processes are of such magnitude that the existing frameworks of acculturation (between two cultures) are not sufficient here. It may become less and less productive to postulate indigenous psychologies based on fixed ethnic entities. Rather we can expect developments towards a truly multicultural and multilayered world, marked by a growing post-modernistzeitgeist, and personalized cultures. What I am envisaging here is a world in which the equation indigenous = ethnic (folk) psychology will be marginalized.
Country development and characteristics
Indigenous psychology can refer to problems specific both to a given society and to cultural values. Two examples of work in Polish indigenous psychology are Boski (1993) and Wierzbicka (1999).
In Poland, humanist concerns are one leading theme (Boski, 1993, in press). Humanism is conceived as care for other people, involvement in close, affective relations with them, and prosocial concern for their well-being; it is contrasted with materialist consumerism and business orientation.
Wierzbicka is a psycho-semanticist and a critic of Ekman's approach to the cross-cultural study of emotions. She employs the concept of cultural script and investigates emotional expressions embedded in such scripts as they occur in works of literature and personal documents (memoirs) (e.g., Wierzbicka, 1999).
The construct of cultural script is methodologically essential for Wierzbicka's and my own studies (see Boski, Van de Vijver, Hurme, & Miluska, 1999). It is operationalized by the type of research materials used: pictures, videos, feature films, pieces of literature, etc. This enables us to study cultural perception-evaluation-identification in a single culture or comparatively. In contrast, studies conducted by C-CP are preoccupied with a cultural “stimulus equivalence.” We advocate just the opposite: The more of culture in research material, the better.
The indigenous psychologies represent attempts by researchers in many countries to develop psychologies that are rooted in their own culture's understanding of human behaviour. Since the new indigenous psychologies (IPs) can be seen as an important addition to Western psychology (WP), we invited prominent scholars with an interest in IP, from all over the world, to give short statements of their views on the development and characteristics of IP. Our analysis of the 15 responses (including our own) revealed 8 important themes. These themes were the ones most frequently discussed, and reveal a set of views that were often, but not always, fairly consensual about the development and character of IP across the various societies sampled. In this Discussion, we provide some comments on these themes, and link them to similar issues that have appeared in the recent literature on IP. The first theme discussed below concerns the origins and development of the IPs. The subsequent themes cover different aspects of the character of IPs: their aim to be based on and investigate cultural roots and issues, IPs as a reaction to WP, IPs' view of appropriate methods, and their relation to WP and to other versions of culture-oriented psychology. Next, some of the contributors' hopes for a more universally valid psychology based on the results of the IPs are discussed. In the last theme we discuss the extent to which the IPs can be seen as homogeneous or heterogeneous.
Origins and development of IP
When writing about the origins and development of the IPs, the contributors distinguished different stages in their development. A first stage recognized by many was the traditional, ancient teachings by philosophers and religious teachers in their own culture. However, it was usually recognized that the modern IPs, although drawing on these teachings, are distinct from them.
There are two important factors behind the development of the new IPs. First, post-colonial, often anti-Western, reactions involved a critical attitude towards intellectual influences from the West, including the imported WP. Second, and in line with the first, observations that the imported WP was not useful for solving local social problems were conducive to the development of IPs. Other sources of inspiration for the development of some IPs were early European attempts by Moscovici and others to form a specifically European social psychology. The deliberate activities of specific individual researchers were reported to have been important, often from the 1970s onwards, for the development of some IPs. Examples are Kuo-Shu Yang for Taiwan and the Chinese societies, Virgilio Enriquez for the Philippines, and Durganand Sinha for India. At the same time, John Berry and colleagues initiated a movement towards a Canadian IP. These researchers (and others), together with published books, including edited anthologies (e.g., Kim & Berry, 1993), then inspired younger scholars who were experiencing some difficulties in applying WP to problems in their own country, to start the development of IPs. In addition, other books and journals, and proceedings of international conferences (such as those initiated by Yang, and the IACCP and IAAP), were reported by some to have facilitated the development of IPs. Thus, both local and international events were important, especially for later initiatives, to develop IPs. Finally, indigenous developments of psychology may be present in a country even when there is no approach to psychology present that identifies itself as an IP and when the development has presumably not been much affected by post-colonial reactions or by the development of the IPs in other countries. Sweden exemplifies such a country and it is of relevance that political ideologies have still influenced the few indigenous approaches to psychology that exist in that country.
Characteristics of IP
We next discuss various aspects that characterize the IPs. This theme was attended to by all the contributors and relates to the aim of IPs to be based on and to investigate cultural roots and issues. IP was seen as an attempt to produce a local psychology within a specific cultural context. By “cultural,” we mean here a set of background features within which a group of people has developed over the course of their history, including a set of institutions (social, political, economic, religious) and a shared set of meanings and values. The local culture is unanimously identified both as a source of inspiration for developing an IP, and as a concrete goal in achieving an IP. As a source, these cultural contexts provide various inputs, including a group's language, philosophical and ethical frameworks, sacred beliefs, and social structural arrangements. As a goal, cultural meanings give shape to the emerging IP, including the concepts adopted, the methods used, and the interpretive frames of reference that pattern the final product. Their unanimous concern with this theme means that it is widely accepted both as a local characteristic and as a global one.
IP as a reaction against WP
The next theme, which was discussed by nearly all the contributors, concerns IP as a reaction to the dominance of WP. The contributions show that IP is a reaction by scholars and practitioners to the dominance of WP. For many respondents, both the impetus to develop IP and its specific character are “reactive.” IP is viewed as a response that rejects the validity and usefulness of WP in their societies. This negative aspect is accompanied by a positive one: IP also seeks to provide an alternative psychology to the massive presence of WP in their own society, and internationally. It is asserted that WP has been “exported” by Western psychologists, through their powerful array of associations, research grants, fellowships, journals, and textbooks. But it is also recognized that WP has been “imported” by those who have received advanced education in the West, and who continue to attempt to practise WP in their own countries (once called “Yankee doodling” by some scholars from India). For some, the rejection of WP is rooted in their recognition that WP is “culture-bound” and not universal, and is really only one of many possible IPs; it may be valid and useful in the West (like other IPs for their societies), but it is rejected as being ethnocentric—even as a form of scientific colonization when imposed on others. This failure of WP is expressed as giving rise to concerns and dissatisfaction, or even as dismal. Here are mentioned Western disciplines, theories, and tools as well as WP theories and perspectives. In addition, IPs are sometimes described as being more concretely oriented: According to one contributor, Eastern IPs are “intensely practical.” This emphasis on application and practicality is linked to the frequent role of psychology in educational, clinical, and developmental activities in many societies, both within different levels of university education and in governmental programmes. For a few, dissatisfaction with WP has resulted in a number of distancing actions, including not publishing in WP journals and not presenting their findings in the English language (although there were also other important reasons for presenting their findings in their home language). This strategy seems to have been pursued to allow them to draw back from the dominant influence of WP, and to give themselves cultural space within which to rethink their research and teaching careers, and to develop their own IP.
Appropriate methods for IP
The next theme, covered by nearly all the contributors, relates to the contributors' discussion of appropriate methods for the IPs. There was a general consensus that WP methods are not universal and should not be used uncritically. Most of the contributors stated that it is important for IP that the research methods used are appropriate to their cultural and social context. In this way issues and phenomena not explored in WP might be more successfully explored. However, there was quite a range of views about what methods are legitimate in an IP context and quite a range of methods were mentioned; some contributors, indeed, noted that IPs use “multiple paradigms.” Quite a few contributors felt that nonpositivistic methods, methods from human science (ranging from archival studies of ancient texts to phenomenology), or so-called “qualitative methods” were appropriate for IP. However, some contributors argued that IP might well use natural science approaches such as experiments, use Western concepts and methods, or do studies from the point of view of Western philosophy of science. Other examples of methods approved of are cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies, comparative studies (e.g., “rooted in core elements of civilizations,” or cross-cultural), field experience or participation, testing, and clinical observations. The importance of investigating psychological phenomena by means of the local language and of using samples of genuine local cultural material (including video recordings, or vignettes in questionnaires) was pointed out.
Theory in IP
All the contributors discussed theory building in the IPs and sometimes contrasted it with that in WP or (less often) related IP to cultural psychology and cross-cultural psychology (C-CP). WP was usually viewed as an indigenous psychology, and since WP is not universal it was argued that it should not be applied blindly. The style of theorizing in IP, in contrast to WP theorizing, was felt by many to be to build theories on the basis of local phenomena, findings, and experiences (i.e., bottom-up). According to some contributors it is typical for IP, in contrast to WP, to focus on phenomena such as consciousness, meaning, intention, and goals, viewing these as formed by the cultural and social context. Some contributors asserted that the IPs differ from WP in that they are nonanalytic and nonindividualistic, in the sense that they do not separate human beings from nature, or religion from philosophy and psychology. Due to the differences between IPs and WP, influences from IPs were seen as being able to open up, invigorate, and to improve WP. Different contributors argued both that the IPs are critical of the foundations of WP, and that IPs sometimes have “patches” of similarity to WP and sometimes can integrate WP and IP concepts or use WP concepts to study local phenomena. In addition, there were different views concerning the relation between the IPs on the one hand, and cultural psychology and cross-cultural psychology on the other. Some contributors saw the IPs as a kind of cultural psychology, being close to or even identical with the socio-historical school of Vygotsky and the activity theoretical tradition of Leontiev, or to some kinds of social anthropology, and separate from cross-cultural psychology. However, the view that IP and cross-cultural psychology have an interactive relation, enriching one another, was also represented.
Reactions to IP
As a movement inspired by local cultural concerns, and as a reaction to the dominance of WP, it is no surprise that nearly half of the contributors emphasized the reaction to their work on IP. Critical reaction came from various sources, including colleagues, university administrations, and national associations. It is easy to understand that in an academic environment, where progress in one's career often depends on “international” publishing and the teaching of WP (using textbooks and journals), turning one's back on WP can be threatening to a person's own advancement. It is less easy to understand why the pursuit of IP would be so threatening to others. One possibility is that (as for culture-oriented psychology in general) the implicit message of IP is that the psychology (WP) being used and taught by others is not valid. IP essentially says to colleagues: “You do not know what you think you know about human behaviour,” at least not until you know it in context, both locally and comparatively. It may also be that arguing for the relevance of other cultures' understanding in the formation of psychology is experienced as introducing relativism and irrelevant concerns. However, the recent rise of the IP movement has given the IPs some legitimacy for the view that people should be understood in terms of their own cultures, rather than always in terms of some foreign culture. It has also provided some protection against charges of parochialism and nationalism, but earlier the difficulties were evident. At the same time it is encouraging that some contributors felt that in their own country there had been no such discrimination against IP. In addition, it is also interesting to note that in at least one contribution (concerning Iran) some forms of IPs were politically supported, whereas other forms were politically disapproved!
IP as a contribution toward universal psychology
Somewhat more than half of the contributors discussed the possibilities of developing a more universal psychology via a comparative integration of the different IPs. One of the pioneers of IP (Enriquez, 1993) argued that by comparing IPs from different societies (the “cross-indigenous method”) we might observe an “overall pattern” of human behavioural development and expression. Similarly, Berry and Kim (1993) argued that the comparative method could be used to discern what may be common or “universal” about human behaviour. For both, only when many IPs are available will we be able to achieve a truly pan-human psychology. In keeping with these observations, the contributors who discussed this theme emphasized the need to achieve such a broader picture, arguing that the science has a dual responsibility: to understand people in their own terms (IP), and to search for general principles of human behaviour. The development of an IP is valuable in its own right, but they may also collectively serve as building blocks in creating a more general psychology. If the use of the comparative method actually achieves such a global psychology, it could serve as a challenge to the presumed universal status of WP. In other terms, WP was seen as an “imposed etic,” IPs as “emic,” and the more general outcome of the comparative enterprise was argued to be to create a “derived etic” psychology that would stand in clear contrast with current WP. However, it may be noted that while the “derived etic psychology” may be more informed by many other cultures, it would still remain anchored in one specific cultural understanding.
Variations in views of IP
In most of the themes above we have discussed the contributors' views on various aspects of the IPs; in many of these themes we found that the contributors agreed fairly well. For example, all the contributors reacted to the dominance of WP (although the target for this criticism varied from Western to the USA toEurope), and saw IP as a kind of psychology that aims to base psychology on the local societal/cultural features of the researcher's home base. Likewise, the contributors agreed on the need to have IPs in their own societies in order to improve psychology's usefulness in solving social problems. However, there were also many signs of different views and approaches prevalent among the IPs and among the contributors. In this final theme we discuss the degree of homogeneity or heterogeneity of the IPs.
A common denominator for the IPs appears to be an interest in researching indigenous concepts and phenomena, but some of the contributors also expressed an interest in investigating local forms of concepts deriving from WP. With respect to methods there was not much sign of homogeneity between the IPs, but if anything, methods influenced by human science appeared to be well accepted. The contributors handled the role of religion in IP in different ways. Some Asian contributors mentioned religious influences on the IP. As examples: Philippine IP was described as being influenced by Catholic philosophy and as not separated from religion and philosophy; Indian IP was described as being based on Hindu philosophy; and in Iran, at least some versions of IP are clearly influenced by, or even based on, Islam. Other IPs, for example Canadian, do not appear to be very influenced by religion at all.
In brief, these observations illustrate that the cultural climate of the country influences the specific IP. They also show the diversity of the IPs. Similarly, the fact that some contributors reported that a number of different approaches to IP have developed in their country invites the same conclusion. For example, the situation in Iran, with an Islamic-oriented IP and other IPs working with gender and democracy issues, is a case in point. India appears to be another example. Here, five “overlapping trends towards IP in India” were described. Church and Katigbak (2002), in an overview of IP in the Philippines, described many different approaches to the IP. Whether it is most appropriate to speak of one or many IPs, even within one society, appears to be an open question. In contrast to such fragmentation of IPs, it is of interest to note the attempt described in the contributions from China and Taiwan to develop an IP for all of the Chinese societies. Still, even in the Chinese context different approaches to the IP among the contributors were noticeable. In addition, this discussion illustrates that the dimensions along which new IPs develop may vary, for example, with respect to the role of religion, or the approach to the philosophy of science that is promoted, or the methodological preferences (see also Allwood, 2002). In this context it is also of interest that one contribution, given today's globalized world, even doubted the value of basing IPs “on fixed ethnic entities.”
As all of these themes show, the overview and discussion in this article has revealed that the IPs are an exciting and creative addition to contemporary psychology.
Correspondence should be addressed to Carl Martin Allwood, Dept of Psychology, Lund University, Box 213, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden (e-mail:
) or to John Berry (e-mail:
1. There are at least two possible terms with which to label the psychologies discussed in this article: “indigenous” psychologies and “indigenized” psychologies. Both terms have merit, but both can be criticized. For example, the label “indigenous psychology” risks creating confusion with older cultural traditions often stemming from religion and philosophy in a country, such as ideas put forth in Hindu philosophy or religion regarding human beings. Although the psychologies we focus on certainly draw on such traditions, they rarely or never identify themselves totally with these traditions. Moreover, these psychologies are at least to some extent a reaction to (and at the same time often also partly inspired by) mainstream Western psychology. The label “indigenized psychologies” has the drawback that it may be interpreted as implying that the process of indigenizing is completed. However, like all scientific traditions, they are continuously developing. Another drawback with using “indigenized psychology” is that it can be interpreted to overemphasize their dependency on Western psychology. Since the term “indigenous psychology” is the one commonly used in the literature we will keep that usage here. Henceforth, we use “IP” to refer to them.
2. When we talk about mainstream psychology, we do not want to imply that this psychology has some higher or central status among the different approaches to psychology. What we mean by this label (and also by “Western psychology”), is that this is one specific tradition with its own characteristics, and which today is the largest psychological tradition. Henceforth, we use “WP” to refer to it.
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