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Culture as Embodiment. The Social Tuning of Behavior

  • ID: 2330128
  • Book
  • September 2013
  • 344 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Utilizing the most recent insights in psychology, cognitive, and affective science, Culture as Embodiment reveals the true cultural patterning of behavior in group–related practices. Refuting longstanding notions that culture alone is responsible for group behavior, cultural psychology experts Voestermans and Verheggen cogently argue that behavioral science must first specify precisely what the notion of culture consists of, in terms of concrete empirical evidence. The authors proceed to lay out a coherent set of perspectives on the social tuning of the body, behaviour, feeling, and cognition to reveal that we call culture is actually an embodied affair, to be observed in recognizable practices among group members. Their conclusions are supported through lengthy analyses of key domains of human behavior, including gender and male–female power relations, class and age differences, ethnicity, and religious faith. Thought–provoking and timely, Culture as Embodiment offers original and indispensable insights into our understanding of the forces that shape behavior in the 21st–century globalized world.

Voestermans and Verheggen provide a thorough critique of superficial views that treat culture as an invisible determinant of human behavior analogous to the way magnetism determines the behavior of iron filings. Their perspective is integrative, seeking to link the biological and social levels, as well as interactionist, focusing on the ways that members of primary groups relate to each other. This book will be invaluable to researchers in academic disciplines such as anthropology, organizational behavior, psychology, and sociology as well as to those who are vitally interested in the ways that cultural influences shape the development and constrain the application of a wide variety of public policies.
Professor Michael K. Lindell, Texas A&M University

Yet another book on culture? If the reader thinks he or she has read too many already, think again! Readers interested in the subject, whatever their perspectives or backgrounds, will find a fresh look at the subject with much to stimulate their thinking and emotions. The book views it through the unique prism of behavioral patterns embedded in specific social categories including gender, status, age, ethnicity, and religion. Its breadth and scope, variety of theoretical terrains and illustrative examples explored, and the stark nature of the argument provide a fascinating paradigm for understanding globalization and its cultural discontents.
Khaled Adham, Associate Professor, United Arab Emirates University

This book, written in a fascinating and powerful style, off ers a revolutionary perspective on what culture is, how it is formed, and how it shapes behavior. It should be read by everyone who takes culture seriously.
Professor Zeynep Kiziltepe, Boðaziçi University, Istanbul
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Preface vii

Acknowledgments xii

Part One Towards a New Psychology of Culture 1

1 Understanding Culture 3

2 Inventing Culture Theory 27

3 A Psychological Perspective on Culture 70

Part Two Sex, Status, Age, Ethnicity, and Faith 109

4 Sex: The Shaping of Sex and Gender 113

5 Status: The Body of Class and Organized Compliance 141

6 Age: The Optimal Balance of Love and Challenge 160

7 Ethnicity: Cultural Arrests and Bicultural Competence 188

8 Faith: Religion as a Man–made Order 211

Part Three Psychology and Globalization 243

9 A Psychology of Globalization 245

10 Epilogue 287

Bibliographical Essay 292

Index 319
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"What I liked most about Culture as Embodiment is its positioning of psychological principles and behavioral patterns within the context of everyday life. This aspect of the book should not come as a surprise, given its focus on culture. But it is noteworthy, nonetheless, because in covering what are at times quite abstract concepts in psychology and beyond (e.g. metaphorical reasoning) the authors manage to force readers to traverse multiple terrains across history, economics, political science, and anthropology." PsycCritiques, July 2014. .

In sum, with rich analyses and admirable aims, Culture as Embodiment reimagines what a psychological science of culture can mean for the 21st century, providing a compelling alternative to prevailing cultural psychological theories. Theory and Psychology, July 2015
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