Introduction to Special Issue on The Missing Psychology in Cultural Anthropology's Key Words

Document Type



Anthropology (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Agency, Person-centered methods, Psychological theory, Resistance, Subjectivity, The imaginary, The self


It is common practice in anthropology to use terms with implicit psychological content (such as embodiment). This is consistent with contemporary developments in anthropological theory and practice that lead to a focus on individuals' voices and practices. Nevertheless, many cultural anthropologists are critical of psychology. This introduction considers and responds to some of the usual criticisms. As this introduction describes, the articles that follow each take one term that is widely used by anthropologists (agency, resistance, subjectivity, the imaginary, and the self) and show how the concept could be better illuminated, and some published case study better explained, through the use of person-centered methods and the selective application of psychological theories.

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© 2006 SAGE Publications