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Human Motives and Cultural Models

Human Motives and Cultural Models


Part of Publications of the Society for Psychological Anthropology

Claudia Strauss, Roy G. D'Andrade, Richard A. Shweder, Dorothy C. Holland, Naomi Quinn, Holly F. Mathews, Sara Harkness, Charles M. Super, Constance H. Keefer, Catherine Lutz
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  • Date Published: May 1992
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521423380


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About the Authors
  • A full understanding of human action requires an understanding of what motivates people to do what they do. For too many years studies of motivation and of culture have drawn from different theoretical paradigms. Typically, human motivation has been modelled on animal behaviour, while culture has been described as pure knowledge or symbol. The result has been insufficient appreciation of the role of culture in human motivation and a truncated view of culture as disembodied knowledge. In this volume, anthropologists have attempted a different approach, seeking to integrate knowledge, desire, and action in a single explanatory framework. This research builds upon recent work in cognitive anthropology on cultural models, that is, shared cognitive schemas through which human realities are constructed and interpreted, while also drawing upon insights from developmental psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and social theory. Most of the research described here was conducted in the United States and deals with some of the pressing concerns - romance, marriage, parenthood, and success - of women and men from different class and ethnic backgrounds. A study of gender roles in Mexico provides comparative cross-cultural data. Several of the chapters deal with oppressive social ideologies, exploring cultural models of gender and class. The careful, in-depth case studies and innovative methods of discourse analysis used here turn up findings about the relation of ideology to people's thought and action that challenge any kind of simple social determinism.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This useful, at times exciting, collection revives the integrationist vision of culture of Weber, Benedict and geertz …' David Lipset, Current Anthropology

    ' … a major contribution to psychological anthropology … sure to be a significant reference point for anthropological theory for some time to come.' American Anthropologist

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1992
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521423380
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Models and motives Claudia Strauss
    Part I. Cultural Models as Motives:
    2. Schemas and motivation Roy G. D'Andrade
    3. Ghost busters in anthropology Richard A. Shweder
    Part II. How Do Cultural Models Become Motives?:
    4. How cultural systems become desire: a case study of American romance Dorothy C. Holland
    5. The motivational force of self-understanding: evidence from wives' inner conflicts Naomi Quinn
    6. The directive force of morality tales in a Mexican community Holly F. Mathews
    7. Learning to be an American parent: how cultural models gain directive force Sara Harkness, Charles M. Super and Constance H. Keefer
    Part III. Cultural Models as Motives Reconsidered:
    8. Motivated models Catherine Lutz
    9. What makes Tony run? Schemas as motives reconsidered Claudia Strauss
    10. Afterword Roy G. D'Andrade

  • Editors

    Roy G. D'Andrade, University of California, San Diego

    Claudia Strauss, Pitzer College, Claremont


    Claudia Strauss, Roy G. D'Andrade, Richard A. Shweder, Dorothy C. Holland, Naomi Quinn, Holly F. Mathews, Sara Harkness, Charles M. Super, Constance H. Keefer, Catherine Lutz

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