Friday, April 10, 2015
Markus and Kitayama weren't Quite Asian Enough: The Situational Self
Markus and Kitayama's seminal paper (1991) did not quite go far enough or too far. Westerners tend to be entity theorists, believing and to a certain extent maintaining characteristics determined solely by what they believe, and narrate to be their own dispositions. Markus and Kitayama argued that Asians feel themselves to be interdependent with their significant others and have an interdependent self draw dotted (in B).
But Markus and Kitayama still presume that the determinants of behaviour are inside the self rather than in the situation.
As argued by Hashimoto, Li and Yamagishi (2011) and the paper upon which the above image is based (Kim, Song, & Takemoto, in preparation) however, the red X's represent factors which influence East Asian's behaviour. Some of red X's are cultural (or institutional) others are the self in others.
The determinants of behaviour are not only inside us, many of them do not yet exist, others will change if the situation changes, and if we if change our situation. In some ways Markus and Kitayama (1991) therefore went too far seeing the interdependent self as porous buffeted by others. Asians are in fact influenced by societal and situational factors but they are able to actively change their situations, culture (as institutions) and selves. Asians are not porous. They do not lack autonomy. They actively choose the situations that they thereby allow to influence themselves.
I am not East Asian but I would for example, sacrifice my body for my significant others, and even my house, future house, pets and grandchildren *that are yet to exist*, because I am inside them, as well as my self.
1) The parts of self in other are drawn, but the parts of others in self are abbreviated for simplicity.
2) I believe that Cousins' (1989) "Contextual self" included non social behaviour influencing factors and as such is a major precursor but the Kyoto school, Nishida, and Watsuji, are the main theoretical proponents of the situational self.
4) The other of situational self is visual. The Other of the Japanese is not in their head. She is out of that cave. The Japanese are better at dancing (Nietzsche, 1883). It is for that reason, I believe, that behaviour influencing factors (Xs) can be external.
5) The diological self (Hermans and Kempen) concentrating on the simulation of other interlocutors, likewise implies self in others and others in self, but the "super-addressee" (which Hermans and Kempen ignore) seems to be spatially internal and only temporally differentiated. The dialogical self could be represented by the above diagram but for the non human parts. People, other than Noddy, rarely speak to their objects. The Japanese do not do Noddy
6) The Japanese simulate seeing themselves, so they see themselves with with their objects (home, car, clothes, and even since simulated, X-ray vision, underwear) and as such these things are parts of the self, or at least behaviour influencing factors (red Xs). I should add not only "Home" and "Company" but also, clothing including underwear to the above diagram.
7) Markus (with Cross: Markus and Cross, 1990) originally wrote this 'cultural psychology' theory about women, and their "different voice" (Gilligan, 1982). As long as women attempt to have a different "voice" they will be porous, dialectical, and sharing their psyche with others. Western women need to embrace the Goddess who sees learn how to dance, and get their super-addressee out of their heads. The logos will always be "phallogocentric". A recent paper by Cousins suggests that it originate in mating calls. I think in phonemes, therefore I abuse myself.
Cousins, S. D. (1989). Culture and self-perception in Japan and the United States. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 124.
Kim, Song & Takemoto (in preparation). "" ...
Hashimoto, H., Li, Y., & Yamagishi, T. (2011). Beliefs and preferences in cultural agents and cultural game players. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 14, 140–147.
Markus, H., & Cross, S. (1990). The interpersonal self.
Markus. H. & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the Self: Implications for cognition, emotion and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253. p226. Downloaded from www.biu.ac.il/PS/docs/diesendruck/2.pdf on 2011/11/11t cave. The Japanese are better at dancing (Nietzsche, 1883). http://flic.kr/p/s1vUsA
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.