Culture, Self, and Meaning:  by Victor  de Munck
113 pages, $19.95 list
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Culture, Self, and Meaning
In this highly informative and interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between culture and psyche, de Munck provides a substantive introduction to pertinent issues, theory, and empirical studies that lie at the junction of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. This engagingly written text reviews various approaches to such questions as: Where is culture located—inside or outside the head? What is the self—is there a single, unified self or do many selves inhabit the body? Do institutional structures form to meet our needs—or are our everyday lives simply a result of institutional structures? What is meaning and how do we study it? de Munck’s examination of these different approaches illuminates the importance of the topic, expands readers’ understanding of human life, and points to psychological anthropology’s relevance in affecting public policies.
“A brilliant and provocative summation of the developments in psychological anthropology dealing with the central issues of culture, self, and meaning.” — Ken Kensinger

“An excellent text for culture and personality courses. It is readable and opens the subject so that the student can begin the process of questioning the relationship between culture and self.” —H. Bruce Stokes, California Baptist University

Culture, Self, and Meaning is one of the most insightful books I have read in our field in some time. The author should be congratulated on doing such illuminating work.” —Ray Scupin

“This thoughtful book is an excellent introduction to the three concepts named in the title, and provides nice, balanced coverage of opposing viewpoints in discussion of the concepts. I will highly recommend it.” —Brian Stross, University of Texas

“I ordered it for my psychological anthropology class. It’s cutting edge!” —Dona Davis, University of South Dakota

“I find the chapter on the self especially good. It brings together the literature comprehensively and offers a convincing argument against multiple, fragmented selves.” —Leslie Irvine, University of Colorado

“The theme, the clarity, and the organization of the book make it manageable, understandable, and applicable. It applies to life ‘outside’ the classroom also!” —Judith A. Siebert, University of Iowa

“The de Munck text is a concise, well-organized book that addresses all of the key elements needed to get a basic understanding of personality, culture, and meaning from an anthropological and psychological perspective.” —Marilyn Moore, California Baptist University
Table of Contents
1. Surveying the Terrain

2. Where Is Culture Located?
Culture Is Located Outside / Culture Is Located in People’s Heads / Real-World Implications of the “Outside/Inside” Theories of Culture

3. What (or Who) Is the Self?
A Brief History of the Self / Theories of the Self as Multiple and Singular / The Self as a Necessary Illusion / The Postmodern Self / Does the Concept of Self Vary Cross-Culturally? / Summary

4. What Is Meaning?
Early Ethnoscience Approaches to Meaning / Taxonomies, Paradigms, and Marking Hierarchies: Three Universal Cognitive Structures / Prototypes and Graded Categories / The Schema Concept