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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book describes cultural psychology, which is looking at behavioral, thought, and emotional patterns from a social rather than an individual perspective. The first part of the book is theoretical and the second provides applications for research, interviewing, identifying psychological themes in narratives, and applications in children's moral reasoning.
Purpose: The author's purpose is twofold: "to articulate a specific and comprehensive conception of culture" (Part I) and "to develop methodological procedures for testing the theoretical issues raised in Part I." In general, the book "seeks to deepen our understanding of the cultural aspects of human psychology." These are worthy objectives. I think the author did achieve these objectives but the book is difficult to read in places.
Audience: The author does not say for whom the book is written, but I think it is written for practitioners and theoreticians. The author seems to be a credible authority.
Features: The book expands on the notion of activity theory first introduced by Vygotsky and other Russian researchers. The author's goal is to elucidate both theory and methodology of cultural psychology. He applies his theory to research, interviewing, identifying psychological themes in narratives, and children's moral reasoning. The book explains theory well. The only shortcoming is that it is not easy to read in places.
Assessment: This book is very good but I found myself having to read certain passages over and over again. Sometimes it's easy to get mired in theory and not be able to see the bigger picture. However, the author seems to present the methodology section in a more readable manner. I particularly liked the chapter on interviewing techniques.