[Commentary] The “common view” and the “cultural binary”— and how to move forward

Vignoles, Vivian L (2018) [Commentary] The “common view” and the “cultural binary”— and how to move forward. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 21 (4). pp. 336-345. ISSN 1367-2223

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (246kB)


Takano and Osaka’s (1997, 1999) careful review of empirical research on individualism and collectivism in the US and Japan revealed a striking lack of support for the “common view” that Japanese individuals are typical collectivists whereas Americans are typical individualists. Two decades on, Takano and Osaka (2018) conclude that empirical studies have continued to fail to support the common view—and yet this view is stubbornly persistent in the literature. More is at stake here than the characterization of two national cultures. The common view epitomizes a widely adopted binary view of culture, which reduces the richness and complexity of global cultural diversity to an oversimplified contrast between individualist/independent/Western/North American and collectivist/interdependent/Eastern/East Asian categories. Unless cultural psychologists can move beyond binary thinking and research practices, correcting an inaccurate portrayal of American and Japanese cultures will be of limited benefit. Future progress might be fostered by (a) defining concepts more precisely, (b) more use of exploratory approaches, (c) wider sampling of cultural groups and contexts, (d) using available methodological guidance for cross-cultural research, and (e) expanding research into cultural identities and stereotypes.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 13:49
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2019 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79231

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update