Ethnography and psychoanalysis

Richard Reichart (reichart@PLUTO.NJCC.COM)
Wed, 6 Dec 1995 17:34:02 -0500

It may not add anything here, but I recall that Alan Holmberg's PhD
research among the Siriono in Eastern Bolivia, just before WWII, was aimed
at exploring whether the Freudian view of human character was expressed
differently (or even contradicted) among a people whose material culture
left them often on the verge of starvation. As I recall, he found that
they dreamed of food, and had very few sexual inhibitions. (It was
published by the Smithsonian, with, however, the juicy sexual parts
elided -- though by today's standards they were dry as dust.)

Also, yesterday's NYTimes (Dec. 5) Science Times section has a popularized
account of current problems for the psychological clinician stemming from
cross-cultural misunderstanding. One sidebar headline: "Some syndromes do
not exist at all in Western culture."

... Dick Reichart