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American Psychologist


The number of psychologists whose work crosses cultural boundaries is increasing. Without a critical awareness of their own cultural grounding, they risk imposing the assumptions, concepts, practices, and values of U.S.-centered psychology on societies where they do not fit, as a brief example from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami shows. Hermeneutic thinkers offer theoretical resources for gaining cultural awareness. Culture, in the hermeneutic view, is the constellation of meanings that constitutes a way of life. Such cultural meanings-especially in the form of folk psychologies and moral visions-inevitably shape every psychology, including U.S. psychology. The insights of hermeneutics, as well as its conceptual resources and research approaches, open the way for psychological knowledge and practice that are more culturally situated.


This work is a preprint that has been provided to PubMed Central courtesy of the American Psychological Association.

© 2014 American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: 10.1037/a0036851

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