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Developing community and social psychology for Aotearoa: Experiences from a New Zealand programme of indigenization

Experiences related to developing an indigenous community and social psychology in the teaching of psychology at the University of Waikato in Aotearoa/New Zealand are described. The process of localization emphasizes the need to interpret "universal" concepts in terms of local cultural patterns and to elaborate psychological concepts derived from the cultures of indigenous peoples. The localization of psychology in New Zealand involves: (a) differences between the dominant United States cultural pattern, in which much English-language psychology is embedded, and New Zealand cultural patterns; and (b) differences between the dominant Pakeha (Anglo-New Zealander) cultural patterns and the cultural patterns of indigenous Maori peoples. These cultural differences involve contrasts between individualistic and collective conceptions of self-identities and social identities, and alternative conceptions of community needs. Three processes relevant to localization are outlined: socio-cultural contextualization, agenda-setting, and knowledge of cultural styles. Socio-cultural contextualization refers to the relevance of psychological knowledge, taught in dominant national institutions, to local social, cultural and political systems. Agenda-setting focuses on how the dominant themes in teaching and research within psychology are selected, and the relevance of these themes to community needs. Knowledge of local cultural styles is required to describe and teach professional roles that are congruent with such cultural styles.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Thomas, D.R. (1994). Developing community and social psychology for Aotearoa: Experiences from a New Zealand programme of indigenization. Paper presented to the Third Afro-Asian Congress of Psychology, 23-26 August 1994, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia.