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An Invitation to Cultural Psychology

An Invitation to Cultural Psychology

Other Titles in:
Psychology (General)

July 2014 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
An Invitation to Cultural Psychology looks at the everyday life worlds of human beings through the lens of a new synthetic perspective in cultural psychology – that of semiotic dynamics.

Based on historical work from many different fields in the social and behavioural sciences, and the humanities too, this perspective applied to cultural psychology suggests that human beings are constantly creating, maintaining and abandoning hierarchies of meanings within all cultural contexts they experience. It’s a perspective that leans heavily on the work of the great French philosopher, Henri Bergson, only now being realised as a core basis for human cultural living.

Jaan Valsiner is the founding editor of the major journal in the field, Culture & Psychology, and Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology. He is the first Niels Bohr Professor of Cultural Psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark, where he leads Europe's first Research Centre on Cultural Psychology.
Introduction: Why Cultural Psychology? Making the human condition meaningful
Chapter 1: Human Experience through the Lens of Culture: An invitation to psychology in a new key
Chapter 2: What is culture? And -- why human psychology needs to be cultural?
Chapter 3: Co-constructing the Mind Socially: Beyond a communion
Chapter 4: Mutuality of Internalization and Externalization
Chapter 5: Creating Ourselves: Signs, myths, and resistances
Chapter 6: Sign Hierarchies: Their construction, use, and demolition
Chapter 7: How Culture is Made Through Objects
Chapter 8: Cultivating Environments: Over-determination by meaning
Chapter 9: Weaving Social Textures Together: Personal and collective culture in action
Chapter 10: Signs as Organizers: Maintaining and innovating tensions
Epilogue: Cultural psychology as a science of universality of culture

An Invitation to Cultural Psychology is a fascinating and timely volume. It offers rich insights into the connections between personal subjective and social collective domains of human experience, demonstrating the importance of integrating these perspectives in cultural psychology for more nuanced approaches to the study of humans as individual and cultural  actors.

Susan Rasmussen
University of Houston

From one of the great minds of our time, a bold and original essay on the nature of culture, putting in perspective semiotics and cultural psychology. Professor Valsiner provides a new approach of signs in action and grounds it in the best intellectual tradition. Deep, but written in easy language, refreshingly humorous for such an ambitious scholarly work and  illustrated with good metaphors, simple graphics and many empirical examples.

Saadi Lahlou
London School of Economics and Political Science

This book is in the best sense of the word an invitation to cultural psychology. Jaan Valsiner provides analyses and insights based on a sound review of historical works in the social and behavioural sciences both explaining the current state of cultural psychology and outlining its future developments. Meaning and the dynamic construction of meaning in culture set the frame and core topics of this book which is itself an excellent and in so many ways a meaningful contribution to the field. Its a compelling must-read for anyone interested in cultural psychology.

Dieter Ferring
University of Luxembourg

Rather than review and expound on research conducted within the cultural psychology arena, Valsiner delves into the theoretical background and implications of culture in humans’ everyday lives. Utilizing various perspectives - e.g. psychology, sociology, history, anthropology, philosophy - the book is far from a traditional introductory resource on cultural psychology. The departure from mainstream psychology is evident from the first chapters, in which the author highlights the misadventures and missed opportunities of psychology to incorporate culture. Starting from the relatively simple notion that psyche and culture are mutually constituted, Valsiner explores the relationship through a variety of examples, such as signs, myths, art, place, objects, fashion, and so on. Although the book is at times dense with theory and philosophical explanations, Valsiner provides numerous examples from historical accounts and supplements theory with graphics to depict abstract concepts. Readers interested in the theoretical aspects of cultural psychology will find this book a useful guide.

S. Reysen, Texas A&M University, Commerce

The book by Valsiner is much more than an explication of how cultural interpretation may be created and co-constructed in social contexts. It is a powerful work, theoretical and well-documented, founding a new direction, aimed at deepening our understanding of the cultural psychology of semiotic dynamics.

Patrizia Meringolo, University of Florence
Psychology Learning and Teaching

This book seems to be beyond the reading ability of my cultural psychology students.

Dr Andreas Georgiou Philaretou
Social & Behavioral Sciences, European University of Cyprus
October 22, 2015

Thus far the only available comprehensive introductory level monograph on semiotic cultural psychology.

Dr Nikita Kharlamov
Communication & Psychology Department, Aalborg University
December 20, 2014

A very compelling read, Valsiner provides some rich insight into the various domains of human experience providing new approaches for the study of human behaviour.

Mr Matt Kirby
Performance, University College Falmouth
September 26, 2014

The book gives an excellent critical introduction to the field of Cultural Psychology. It is highly recommended to anyone teaching Cultural Psychology.

Dr Carolin Demuth
Communication & Psychology Department, Aalborg University
November 23, 2015

This book is the core text in our MA program in cultural psychology, required for all students.

Dr Nikita Kharlamov
Communication & Psychology Department, Aalborg University
November 8, 2015

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ISBN: 9781446248782
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