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Culture and Behavior



Encouraging productive interaction among people from diverse perspectives, promoting new and continual exploration of issues relating to mental health and broader issues relating to the body/brain/mind/self, and facilitating the new openings which emerge from the sharing of perspectives.

Culture and Behavior

Materials offered here are intended to encourage the exploration of the relationship between social/cultural organization and the individual.

On Serendip
Culture as Disability - an essay by Ray McDermott and Hervé Varenne, and an online forum; "...Everyone in any culture is subject to being labeled and disabled... A disability may be a better display board for the weaknesses of a cultural system than it is an account of real persons... [T]his paper is not about disabled persons. It is about the powers of culture to disable..."

*NEW* Mental Health and the Brain Working Group, Spring 2009 - a conversation with particular attention to brain research and experiences from the inside.

Making Sense of Diversity: Conversations at Bryn Mawr College

Models of Mental Health: A Critique and Prospectus - "People approach issues of mental health from a variety of different perspectives... People argue about the relative merits of the various perspectives, most characteristically by pointing out the shortcomings of perspectives different from those one favors oneself. Such critiques can be productive but are only a step in a larger task: to develop broader perspectives that can productively incorporate the different useful insights reached from each of a variety of different points of view..."

Science as Exploration/Story Telling and The Brain as a Scientist/Explorer/Story Teller: Implications for Metacognition and Self-Advocacy curriculum development at Delaware Valley Friends School

Genes, Brains, and Being Social: The Gregarious Brain - a short essay and public on-line discussion from the Brain Stories blog


Elsewhere on the web
Teaching the Culture of Mental Illness - a reflection on teaching issues relating to mental health

Culture-Bound Syndromes - a paper about the dichotomy of "nature" and "nurture"

The Cultural Context of Psychological Approaches to Alcoholism - a historical survey of the alcoholism as disease theory

Soliloquy or Psychosis? A Cultural Look at Schizophrenia - a survey of theories of schizophrenia

Somatisation and Somatic Neurosis - Cross Cultural Variations

Extraordinary Claims in Cross-Cultural Context - a look at how different cultures make sense of "extraordinary" experiences

Health and Behavior: The Interplay of Biological, Behavioral and Societal Influences - an online text provided by The National Academies Press

Cross-Cultural Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Review

Cultural Roles and Eating Disorders

The Diagnosis of Eating Disorders in Women of Color - an article by a clinical psychologist

Sociology of Mental Illness - Book Review: Nobody Nowhere

Contribution of Psychosocial Factors to Socioeconomic Differences in Health - an extensive discussion

Low Socioeconomic Status and Mental Disorders: A Longitudinal Study of Selection and Causation During Young Adulthood

Online Readings in Psychology and Culture from The Center for Cross-Cultural Research

The Myth of Mental Illness - original essay by Thomas Szasz

Matter over mind by David Karp "There is danger in all single-minded models for explaining mental illness..."

Current materials
Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects (NY Times)

Supporting Boys or Girls When the Line Isn't Clear (NY Times)

Freud Meets Buddha: Therapy for Immigrants; Disorders From the East Emerge Here (NY Times), Making Room on the Couch for Culture (NY Times) - similarities and differences in experience across cultures.


In the spirit of Serendip, thoughts, contributions, and ideas for additions/changes are both invited and encouraged. Visitors are welcomed to post comments and thoughts using the form below or may also submit comments directly to Serendip.


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