The Middle East: A Cultural Psychology / Edition 1

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Overview

For over a decade the Middle East has monopolized news headlines in the West. Journalists and commentators regularly speculate that the region's turmoil may stem from the psychological momentum of its cultural traditions or of a "tribal" or "fatalistic" mentality. Yet few studies of the region's cultural psychology have provided a critical synthesis of psychological research on Middle Eastern societies.

Drawing on autobiographies, literary works, ethnographic accounts, and life-history interviews, The Middle East: A Cultural Psychology, offers the first comprehensive summary of psychological writings on the region, reviewing works by psychologists, anthropologists, and sociologists that have been written in English, Arabic, and French. Rejecting stereotypical descriptions of the "Arab mind" or "Muslim mentality,' Gary Gregg adopts a life-span- development framework, examining influences on development in infancy, early childhood, late childhood, and adolescence as well as on identity formation in early and mature adulthood. He views patterns of development in the context of recent work in cultural psychology, and compares Middle Eastern patterns less with Western middle class norms than with those described for the region's neighbors: Hindu India, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Mediterranean shore of Europe. The research presented in this volume overwhelmingly suggests that the region's strife stems much less from a stubborn adherence to tradition and resistance to modernity than from widespread frustration with broken promises of modernization—with the slow and halting pace of economic progress and democratization.

A sophisticated account of the Middle East's cultural psychology, The Middle East provides students, researchers, policy-makers, and all those interested in the culture and psychology of the region with invaluable insight into the lives, families, and social relationships of Middle Easterners as they struggle to reconcile the lure of Westernized life-styles with traditional values.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...offers scholarly but reader-friendly descriptions and interpretations of cultures, societies, and psychological development of the people in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa.... It is a timely and worthwhile read." —PsycCRITIQUES

"Gregg has provided an engaging, thoughtful, and wide-ranging discussion that should be read by students and scholars interested in the very important cultural transformations taking place in the Near and Middle East." —Fathali Moghaddam, Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University

"This original and timely book explores the life trajectories of men and women in the Middle East and North Africa from a psychocultural point of view.[It] will prove indispensable for anyone attempting to understand how Middle Easterners and North Africans are trying to cope with the struggle between the old and the new in their respective societies and their daily lives." —Uwe P. Gielen, Professor of Psychology, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York

"Gregg contributes a superb work that combines a much needed focus on the Middle East with a wide cultural psychology framework that gives weight to emotion as well as cognition and that acknowledges the richness of ethnographies and life histories accessing subjective experience as well as the measurement of psychological attitudes." —Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, Professor of Social Medicine and member of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

"...Gregg explodes existing myths and stereotypes of Middle Easterners and introduces us to ethnographic accounts of their lives, relationships, goals and identities He is a reliable guide to a hot and controversial terrain. I found the book illuminating and full of surprises, and I recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Middle Easterners than is available from journalistic sources." —Robert A. LeVine, Roy E. Larsen Professor of Education and Human Development, Emeritus Harvard University

"Gregg has provided an engaging, thoughtful, and wide-ranging discussion that should be read by students and scholars interested in the very important cultural transformations taking place in the Near and Middle East." —Fathali Moghaddam, Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University

"The author is undoubtedly aware of the complexities and problems plaguing the area, and displays a welcomed sensitivity in writing about it."—Middle East Journal

"The publishers are to be commended for producing a book in a discipline widely considered to be passe, but which deserves reconsideration. Gregg provides an encyclopedic review of the cultural-psychology literature while seeking to reintroduce individual variation as an important variable for understanding the key issues of our times. He raises the important question of the impact of oppression, war and violence on large numbers of residents of the Middle East and North Africa, and provides a useful agenda for future research."—Nature

"...a thoroughly researched analysis of the cultural psychology of people in the Middle East." — The Muslim World Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195171990
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/4/2005
  • Series: Culture, Cognition, and Behavior Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

After receiving a Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Michigan, Gary Gregg spent five years in southern Morocco, conducting ethnographic research on the partly nomadic Imeghrane confederation in the High Atlas-Dades Valley region, and then a Fulbright- and NSF-sponsored study of identity development among young adults. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and currently teaches at Kalamazoo College.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by David Matsumoto
Introduction
Part I. Cultural context of development
1. Misunderstandings
2. The social ecology of psychological development
3. Honor and Islam: Shaping emotions, traits, and selves
Part II. Periods of psychological development
Introduction to Part II
4. Childbirth and infant care
5. Early childhood
6. Late childhood
7. Adolescence
8. Earlt adulthood and identity
9. Mature adulthood
10. Patterns and lives: Development through the life-span
Afterword: A research agenda

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