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The Handbook of Culture and Psychology$
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David Matsumoto and Hyisung C. Hwang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190679743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190679743.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

What Is Culture For?

What Is Culture For?

Chapter:
(p.123) 5 What Is Culture For?
Source:
The Handbook of Culture and Psychology
Author(s):

Yoshihisa Kashima

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190679743.003.0005

What is culture for? What functions does culture serve? This chapter traces a historical background to these functionalist questions and examine their contemporary relevance. Although functionalist perspectives arose from Darwin’s evolutionism in social science and psychology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their theoretical implications were thoroughly criticized and gave way to the emergence of a newer, neo-functionalist thinking in the late twentieth century. A neo-functionalist perspective is discernible in a variety of theoretical approaches in culture and psychology. Its basic tenet suggests that culture is often, though not always, helpful for its adopters to adapt to their local environmental niche, meeting different types of environmental challenges, both natural and human made (built, economic, intergroup, intragroup, psychological). The chapter concludes by advocating that research on culture and psychology can play a critical role in helping humanity meet the twenty-first-century challenges of climate change and intergroup conflicts.

Keywords:   cultural evolution, cultural dynamics, niche constructionism, functionalism, cross-cultural psychology, cultural psychology

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