FocusCulture unfolding from and being enfolded in individual minds
- Knowledge is … culturally conditioned scope of possible action and interpretation
- Knowing is … culturally conditioned action
- Learner is … culture-shaping agent and agent-framing culture
- Learning is … participation
- Teaching is … co-participation
SynopsisCultural Psychology is founded on the tenet that mind and culture are inseparable. It thus focuses on how cultures reflect and shape individuals’ psychologies, and how individuals’ psychologies reflect and shape cultures. It is motivated in part by the relatively recent popular realization that most psychological research has been W.E.I.R.D. – that is, based on Western, Education, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic populations – and has thus not been adequately attentive to variations in, for example, social values, reasoning strategies, and modes of categorizing. Cultural Psychology has particular relevance for Developmental Discourses.
CommentaryThere are relatively few condemning criticisms of Cultural Psychology, although there are several generalized anxieties that are typically linked to methodological difficulties (e.g., self-reporting data is an easy and popular approach to collecting lots of information, but its unstable and can be very misleading). Consequently, a major concern with Cultural Psychology is the risk of overstating cultural differences that were previously ignored or understated. Another is the risk of essentializing or stereotyping – that is, of imposing broad and general trends (e.g., western sensibilities trend more toward individualism, and eastern more toward communalism) onto subgroups or even individuals.
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesRichard Shweder
Status as a Theory of LearningWhile it does not typically define itself as such, Cultural Psychology can be properly described as a theory of learning.
Status as a Theory of TeachingCultural Psychology is not a theory of how to teach, but it does afford insight into broad cultural tendencies toward particular conceptions and modes of teaching.
Status as a Scientific TheoryCultural Psychology is subject to regular criticisms related to its methodologies. It is, however, attentive to its frames and grounding metaphors, and substantial empirical evidence is being gathered to inform it.
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2019). “Cultural Psychology” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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