Is Positive Psychology An Indigenous Psychology?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

The Routledge International Handbook Of Critical Positive Psychology


This chapter argues that positive psychology, like much of the psychological knowledge produced in the United States, is imbued with the folk psychology of middle-class Americans. All psychologies – including positive psychology – could be said to be indigenous psychologies. The chapter describes the emergence of this conception of the self in the history of Western thought. It explains the sociocentric conception of the self that is common across South Asia and Southeast Asia, and, to a greater or lesser extent, in the communities of the South Asian diaspora throughout the world. The chapter suggests that some of the ways in which a sociocentric view of self shapes a range of social practices, relationships, moral values, and social institutions. It focuses on South/Southeast Asia because each of peoples has longstanding experience living in South Asian societies. The chapter discusses the Cultural perspectives on the self and personhood, wellbeing, and selves in relation.

Published By



N. J. L. Brown, T. Lomas, and F. J. Eiroa-Orosa

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