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Biocultural Dialogues : Biology and Culture in Psychological Anthropology

by Daniel J Hruschka, Daniel H Lende, Carol M Worthman
Ethos ()

Abstract

Psychological anthropology has a long history of integrative, cross-disciplinary research within the social sciences. This holistic tradition has substantially contributed to understanding the relationships between individuals and their cultural environment and to developing more sophisticated models of human variation within and between cultures. Whereas these contributions have generally arisen from conversations between psychology and anthropology, research integrating biological and cultural anthropology has become an increasingly established part of other anthropological subfields, such as medical and biological anthropology. This special issue continues psychological anthropology's commitment to holistic inquiry by examining how dialogues between biological and cultural perspectives can generate new insights when applied to key questions in psychological anthropology. The articles in this volume tackle various issues including the effect of cultural consonance on well-being in Brazil, the biocultural roots of addiction among Colombian youth, the social and psychological factors implicated in becoming a Gandomble medium, the process of coping with political-ecological inequality in Peru, and the biocultural pathways to somatization and suffering in Nepal. Not surprisingly, the research presented here has direct links to the biocultural approaches that have emerged in medical and biological anthropology. It also represents a broadening of the topics in psychological anthropology currently examined from a biocultural perspective. This article introduces these new research directions. Furthermore, it argues for the utility of psychological models in building biocultural frameworks, describes how biological and cultural anthropology can each benefit from conversations with the other, and addresses some of the theoretical, practical, and social challenges in developing and sustaining biocultural dialogues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

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