ERIC Number: ED254467
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Self in Culture I: Person-Centered Ethnography and Psychoanalytic Anthropology.
LeVine, Robert A.
Concepts and methods intended to enhance the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and psychological anthropology are proposed and illustrations of the application of these concepts and methods are given based on ethnographic data on the Gusii of Kenya. Using five minimum assumptions about the universality of personality, an ethnographic approach to understanding the self is proposed--an approach that uses the methods of social anthropology to obtain empirical data of psychological as well as social significance. Emphasis is on three categories: (1) routine interpersonal encounters, in which the self is presented to another according to a conventional code of conduct; (2) public occasions, in which the self is represented to communicants through a conventional code of religious, political, or aesthetic symbols; and (3) autobiographical discourse, in which the self is represented as a personal history placed in a conventional framework of normative self-description. A discussion of these categories is followed by a description of two general hypotheses used to explain research on these three bodies of narratives about the self--the common-denominator hypothesis and the complementarity hypothesis. This research on the adult self among the Gusii of Kenya illustrates the use of psychosocial analysis of cultural materials and individual case studies as a means of: (1) exploring the experience of adults in the Gusii community; and (2) drawing valid conclusions about how individuals function psychologically in their cultural environment. A seven-page list of project research papers concludes the document. (LH)
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bernard Van Leer Foundation, The Hague (Netherlands).
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Graduate School of Education.