A Universally Particular Psychology? A Feminist Practical Theological Exploration of Indigenous and Cultural Psychology
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- Mercer, J.A. Pastoral Psychol (2007) 56: 81. doi:10.1007/s11089-007-0091-0
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The newly published volume, “Indigenous and Cultural Psychology: Understanding People in Context” (2006) seeks to further understandings of human behavior with an indigenous psychology that places culture and context in the foreground of its methods, practices, and analysis. As such it represents a significant development in its field, and is important to practical theologians with their attention to context, culture, and the lived religious practices of persons and communities. This article offers a critical review of the book from the standpoint of feminist practical theology, in an effort to further and support the agenda of indigenous psychology. After describing the importance of indigenous psychology for the work of practical theologians, I consider the volume’s chapter on indigenous Filipino psychology (chapter five by Rogelia Pe-Pua) as paradigmatic of the strengths of an indigenous approach put forward in the larger volume. Last, I critically consider two key paradoxical tensions present in the volume’s articulation of indigenous psychology: the tension between universality and particularity, and the tension between indigeneity and critical gender analysis.