The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 17–33 | Cite as

Behavior Analysts and Cultural Analysis: Troubles and Issues

  • E. F. Malagodi
  • Kevin Jackson
Article

Abstract

Three strategic suggestions are offered to behavior analysts who are concerned with extending the interests of our discipline into domains traditionally assigned to the social sciences: (1) to expand our world-view perspectives beyond the boundaries commonly accepted by psychologists in general; (2) to build a cultural analytic framework upon the foundations we have developed for the study of individuals; and (3) to study the works of those social scientists whose views are generally compatible with, and complementary to, our own. Sociologist C. Wright Mills’ distinction between troubles and issues and anthropologist Marvin Harris’s principles of cultural materialism are related to topics raised by these three strategies. The pervasiveness of the “psychocentric” world view within psychology and the social sciences, and throughout our culture at large, is discussed from the points of view of Skinner, Mills, and Harris. It is suggested that a thorough commitment to radical behaviorism, and continuation of interaction between radical behaviorism and cultural materialism, are necessary for maintaining and extending an issues orientation within the discipline of behavior analysis and for guarding against dilutions and subversions of that orientation by “deviation-dampening” contingencies that exist in our profession and in our culture at large.

Key words

radical behaviorism cultural materialism future directions for behavior analysts world views psychocentricism behavior analysis cultural analysis 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. F. Malagodi
    • 1
  • Kevin Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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