Varieties of Global Psychology: Cultural Diversity and Constructions of the Self

  • Laurence J. Kirmayer
  • Ademola Adeponle
  • Vivian Afi Abui Dzokoto


Throughout its history as an academic discipline, psychology has used Western subjects as the basis for research and theory building. The resultant models are shot through with assumptions about the nature of the person presented as universal truths rather than ones contextualized in time and place. This chapter interrogates some of the assumptions of Western psychology to open up a conversation about the diversity of human experience in health and illness. It draws from cultural constructivist and critical anthropological perspectives that view notions of self as situated and shaped by local interpretive practices inscribed within and constrained by historical, political economic contexts. Notions of self are viewed as cultural constructions that reflect collective understandings of phenomena, experience, and behavior. By laying bare these contexts, the chapter shows some of the building blocks of psychological structure and function, the range of methodologies needed to advance this exploration, and the political constraints that continue to marginalize or silence diverse voices and perspectives.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence J. Kirmayer
    • 1
  • Ademola Adeponle
    • 1
  • Vivian Afi Abui Dzokoto
    • 2
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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