Cultural Psychology Introduction
On the 2nd of April the Department of Psychology and Professional Counseling at Webster University Geneva organized a public talk on ‘Introducing cultural psychology and its methods’ with a distinguished guest, Prof. Jaan Valsiner, Aalborg University, Denmark. Prof. Valsiner discussed in this talk the different meanings of culture and how culture and mind are co-constitutive within cultural psychology. He argued for a semiotic approach to the human psychic, one that considers the hierarchies of signs constructed by the person in the micro-genesis of his or her interaction with others. The emphasis of meaning-making in the here and now of experiencing the world led to the proposal of a ‘nanopsychology’ — a methodological focus on psychological processes of single cases and the possibility of abstracting general laws from them (in terms of process rather than specific content), in contrast with the usual approach in psychology which calls for the study of larger samples in order to generalize findings. This talk was also a meeting of the Psychology and Society Group within the department. A podcast conversation with Prof. Valsiner is available on our podcast webpage.