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Indigenous Psychology is an intellectual movement across the globe, based on the following factors:

  1. A reaction against the colonization/hegemony of Western psychology.
  2. The need for non-Western cultures to solve their local problems through indigenous practices and applications.
  3. The need for a non-Western culture to recognize itself in the constructs and practices of psychology.
  4. The need to use indigenous philosophies and concepts to generate theories of global discourse.

Psychology, like any other language game, is a living conversation, for which  translation is the key to the perpetuation and permutation of the discourse.  As Western psychology is translated into other cultures, the more we make sure that the influence is going both ways, and the more we allow  conflicting voices to inhabit the terms we use in psychology, the more likely it is that alternative ways of doing psychological science will emerge. 

Thus, inherent in the Indigenous Psychology movement is a global surge of the creative energy and potential in psychology, a movement that, if nurtured, will lead to a very different psychology of tomorrow.  The Division 32 Task Force on Indigenous Psychology is established to facilitate this process of growth and transformation in psychology at the global level.  In particular, it reiterates the need to recognize the legitimacy of all indigenous forms of knowledge and the ultimate benefit of global sharing and collaboration.  Dedicated to the promotion and advocacy of indigenous psychologies across the globe, the task force will implement the following goals:

  1. Making a mission statement or manifesto for indigenous psychology that is congenial to the indigenous psychologies across the globe.
  2. Dissemination of knowledge concerning indigenous psychology through conferences,  journals, and edited volumes.
  3. Promoting online debates and exchanges across the globe on issues concerning indigenous psychology.
  4. Serving as resources, via our website, for the global community of indigenous psychologists.




Three Cheers to Indigenous Psychology (IP):
Why should we do Indigenous Psychological Research?

Dharm P. S. Bhawuk

A wise uncle quoted an Indian proverb that says -- "The cart follows the track, and so does the unworthy child. The poets, lions, and noble children walk outside the track." He was a noble son himself and made his own empire outside the family resource. So did my father. And these people always inspired me to go outside the mold. Mainstream psychology is the mold, and doing IP is working outside the mold. It takes the creativity of a poet, the courage of a lion, and the conviction of a scholar to work outside the core of a discipline, and such work always goes to define the field. Cross-Cultural psychology has done so well that IACCP and its scholarly mouthpiece, JCCP, have become mainstream and JCCP only publishes pseudo-etic research. JCCP also wants to play the game of impact factor, and is doing well. Cross-cultural psychologists are definitely doing a great service to psychology by bringing culture in their study, but the search for universals or etics is folding them into the mainstream psychology at the cost of missing out the exploration of culture as the core of all human activities and social behaviors. IP researchers need to continue to provide the centrifugal force necessary to balance this mindless centripetal force that is sucking us into the black hole of homogenized thinking. Cheers to IP!

IP is necessarily a creative venture because it is trying to go outside the mold. By definition, creativity is activities that are outside the box. So, we should continue to do IP and be creative. Cheers to IP!

The champions of homogenization see McDonald everywhere and neglect Jolibees (a Filipino fast-food restaurant). We gloss over the fact that McDonald does not serve beef in India, and would never serve pork in the middle east. Culture will always shape organizations and what they serve or how they serve. Trade is an ancient activity, and must go on for cultural diffusion. It is the mindless pursuit of one thing that will sell everywhere that is sweeping the global village that is costing us diversity and drying up the sources of local creativity. IP creates an environment to question the trends of homogenization and inspire us to find indigenous solutions to local problems, instead of exporting ready-made solutions from the west to the rest of the world. For empowering the world citizens to creatively solve their problems with local resources and wisdom, we need to continue to do indigenous psychological research. Cheers to IP.

Let's wish the best of luck to those who want to flow in the channel of main stream western psychology, and congratulate those who do not mind to struggle to carve their own route in unchartered waters for we need many paths for human creativity and inspiration to serve humanity.

I continue to be inspired by E M Foster's “Two Cheers to Democracy.”  For IP, I hold back nothing, and hence the three cheers :)