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Editorial: culture, self, and autonomy

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Editorial on the Research Topic
Culture, Self, and Autonomy

In our special topic Culture, Self and Autonomy we have examined the complex issues relating to how self and autonomy are explored, construed, and experienced by different subjects and across cultural contexts. The notion of the self stands at the center of the discussion on psychological autonomy, defined as a system of processes, including self-determination, self-regulation, and self-direction (e. g., Beck, 1997 ; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2002 ; Ryan and Deci, 2017 ). Culture plays a key role in determining the basis of potentiality for autonomy, as it sets boundaries for the appropriate level of autonomy for individuals within a society ( Chirkov, 2017 ). One of the primary dimensions of this topic was the development of the autonomous self in children and cultural differences in this developmental dynamic. Another important dimension has been the conditions for autonomy functioning in adolescents and young adults. The third dimension reflected in the submitted articles was an analysis of the macro-contexts and broad existential concerns as the background for autonomous functioning. The submissions to our special topic have been clustered along these three primary dimensions of our inquiry.

Developmental Aspects of the Self and Autonomy Advancement

The work of Corapci et al. has contributed to such an understanding, linking young, educated Turkish mothers’ self-construals to sensitive parenting. Their work has examined the role of autonomous-relational self-construal ( Kagitçibaşi, 2007 ) in these mothers’ parenting practice, highlighting how social change and the ensuing impact of education and changing socioeconomic status of the mothers have resulted in their self-views as well as how they have reared their children. These Turkish mothers have continued to value relatedness of the self while emphasizing the importance of autonomy. Such research evidence suggests that the cultural context continues to shape how one perceives the self and autonomy.

Beck, U. (1997). Democratization of the family. Childhood 4, 151–168. doi: 10. 1177/0907568297004002002

Beck, U., and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002). Individualization . London: Sage Publications.

Chirkov, V. (2016). Fundamentals of Research on Culture and Psychology: Theory and Methods . New York, NY: Routledge. doi: 10. 4324/9781315768328

Chirkov, V. (2017). “ Culture and autonomy,” in The Praeger Handbook of Personality Across Cultures , Vol. 2, ed A. T. Church (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger), 91–119.

Chirkov, V. (in press). An introduction to the theory of sociocultural models. Asian J. Soc. Psychol. doi: 10. 1111/ajsp. 12381. [Epub ahead of print].

Chua, R. Y., Kadirvelu, A., Yasin, S., Choudhry, F. R., and Park, M. S. (2019). The cultural, family and community factors for resilience in southeast asian indigenous communities: a systematic review. J. Commun. Psychol. 47, 1750–1771. doi: 10. 1002/jcop. 22224

Kagitçibaşi (2007). Family, Self and Human Development Across Cultures: Theory and Applications.(Revised 2nd Ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Park, M. S. (2015). “ Changing family perceptions across cultures: the Malaysian context,” in Culture and Cognition: A Collection of Critical Essays , eds S. Haque and E. Sheppard (Bern: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers), 197–210.

Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness . New York, NY: Guilford Press.

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