History of Chinese Indigenous Psychology
- Olwen BedfordOlwen BedfordMurdoch University, Department of Psychology
- and Kuang-Hui YehKuang-Hui YehAcademia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology
Chinese indigenous psychology (Chinese IP) requires that the researchers’ theories, concepts, methods, tools, and results explicitly incorporate the structures and processes of the studied psychological and behavioral phenomena as embedded in their original context. Chinese IP is distinct from mainstream psychology in that it generates and promotes a different kind of psychological knowledge and because it is open with respect to research paradigm.
Chinese IP emerged in the mid-1970s in Taiwan. K. S. Yang is the key figure in its development. He recognized the disconnect between Western and Chinese ways of understanding human functioning and promoted Chinese IP as a way to address the particular problems encountered in Chinese societies. The broad variety of Chinese IP research can be roughly divided into three overlapping areas: general frameworks or approaches for conducting research on a variety of topics in Chinese societies, universal models of particular sociocultural concepts that may applied to any society, and investigation of concepts that have special meaning in Chinese societies, some of which adapt or bridge Western research with Chinese concepts. The ultimate goal of Chinese IP is to contribute to development of a human or global psychology, and Chinese IP researchers have proposed both bottom-up and top-down approaches to obtaining this goal. Chinese IP inherently questions the universality of mainstream psychology. This stance gives rise to numerous challenges for IP researchers including pressure from their own academic institutions to publish in high-impact journals that do not value indigenous research.