THE TREATMENT OF CULTURE IN AMERICAN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY TEXTBOOKS
In recent years, the typical treatment of “culture” in American textbooks in social psychology has shifted from discussing its influence on behavior in separate, self-contained chapters to integrating the construct of culture and the results of cross-cultural research into the broader themes of the texts. This change in approach has enhanced the generalizability of many social-psychological theories and models, while challenging the universality of others. However, the coverage of cultural influences has by no means been applied consistently across all major topics in social psychology. Nor has there been necessarily a systematic effort to sample cultures widely, with only a handful of major cultures often being considered. In this paper we present an analysis of the coverage of culture within 10 undergraduate textbooks in social psychology that are widely used in the USA. We content-coded coverage of culture along a number of dimensions, including the specific topic and cultures involved, the structure/process dichotomy, and any recommendations for revisions to mainstream American social-psychological theory. We will conclude with a general assessment of progress towards the internationalization of theory in social psychology.
© 2008 Victor Karandashev