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Ghost: Do not forget; this visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose: Culture, psychology and 'Being Human'

McHoul, A. and Rapley, M. (2001) Ghost: Do not forget; this visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose: Culture, psychology and 'Being Human'. Culture & Psychology, 7 (4). pp. 433-451.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354067X0174002
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Abstract

After a brief inspection of some cases where people apparently ‘mis-identify’ others, we draw some initial and tentative conclusions about ways of thinking about ‘who people are’. We then move on to look at underlying assumptions in psychology about this very question; with these assumptions considered under the rubric of psychology’s ‘model of being human’. Locating problems with this model on the basis of its affinity with Kantian thought, we conclude that what it misses is an understanding of cultural order as the primary medium for human existence. Against this, we propose instead—via Harvey Sacks in particular and ethnomethodological thinking in general—that to be in the world is always to be in the cultural world. Consequently, what persons can do and be is never a form of governance or control by fixed rules; rather, it is always already an orientation to publicly known and material forms of cultural order. We end by speculating on the general consequences of such a re-formulated ‘model of being human’ for a paradigm of psychology yet to come.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: 2001 SAGE
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/9861
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