Arab psychology: Myth and reality
MENA Dubai 2003 Abstract
||Mohamed ElHammoumi and Ahmed AIJubaili
||Although psychology has begun to embrace diversity, Arab mind, higher mental functions and rule-governed behavior have remained marginalized. Four areas are presented in this paper:
The notion of Arab psychology is presently gaining some currency (for example, toward an Arab psychology, toward an Islamic psychology [known as Taassil Psychology]). This paper reflects that, as a paradigm, it is still in the making. There are some tensions between Arab psychologists, Muslim psychologists and Arab Western psychologists about the notion of psychology as something to be constructed, something to be appropriated and something to be created.
- The foundational ideas of psychological studies engaged with issues and problems of Arab societies.
- Training in Arab affairs and mental phenomena within psychology.
- The paradigms of higher mental functions reflected in research on Arab mind.
- Future research directions.
This paper is a contribution aimed at positioning the debate within Arab psychologists and establishing the basic parameters of the debate. As we struggle with what it means to build an Arab psychology in the future, which I believe we must, we ought to avoid the mythology and build and refine Arab social reality.
Arab psychologists' appropriation of ideas, concepts, theories, and methods from Western psychological sciences reveals deep and contradictory concerns about issues and problems that are unique to the make up of Arab higher mental functions which are governed and shaped culturally, socially, and historically.
Psychology was developed and mainly cultivated in Western culture and then exported to developing societies. The introduction and the reception of psychology were facilitated by the training of students in Western universities. Teaching, training, and research were driven by Western culturally grounded theories, epistemologies, philosophies, and methods. Arab societies have their own frames of reference, culture and social reality. These realities differ in some remarkable ways from that of Western culture.
The purpose of this paper is to present the key factors that impede the cultivation and development of scientific psychology in Arab societies. We briefly overviewed how psychology emerged and became implanted in the Arab societies. Finally, we conclude that Arab psychology in its present form is both myth and reality.