The challenges of culture to psychology and post-modern thinking
Waldegrave, C. (1993). The challenges of culture to psychology and post-modern thinking. In Nikora, L.W. (Ed.) Cultural Justice and Ethics. Proceedings of a symposium held at the Annual Conference of the New Zealand Psychological Society, University of Victoria, Wellington, 23-24 August 1993. (pp. 2-7).
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3349
Someone at a workshop in the Waikato once said to us, “You know a Maori, if they want to, can always learn to be a psychologist, but a psychologist can’t learn to be a Maori”. Cultural knowledge may or may not be accompanied by social science knowledge. Cultural knowledge can stand on its own. Those who possess it, and choose to work in the institutions we are associated with, have gifts this country desperately needs. All our organisations require such people, and they need to be properly resourced, have employment security and control over their work. Their own work away from our organisations also requires adequate resourcing. They can heal their own in ways that we will never be able to. They will almost certainly offer the field rich alternative metaphors and meanings that can free us from the tired old medical, biological and social science ones. This also has implications for those in other branches of psychology, including research, experimental and industrial psychology. There is perhaps a unique opportunity for psychologists in this country of Aotearoa/New Zealand to recognise other ways of describing events, which will lead to creative practices and enable the health and welfare resources to get to those who most need them, on their own terms. It would also enable other people, other workers from other cultures to develop new paradigms, and new shifts in our field. This will not lead to the abandonment of social science, but it will enable that body of knowledge, to sit appropriately along side other realms of knowledge such as gender knowledge, and cultural knowledge, without dominating. A new experience for the social scientists, but I suspect a liberating one!
Psychology Department, University of Waikato
Copyright © 1993 National Standing Committee on Bicultural Issues