BEYOND MERE COMMUNICATION, TOWARD GREATER INTERACTION AND EVENTUAL INTEGRATION: NEW TASKS FOR SCCRJuris G. Draguns
Pennsylvania State University
For 36 years SCCR has provided a unique interdisciplinary forum for the presentation of cross-cultural findings and the discussion of issues relevant to the conceptualization and investigation of cultures. Anthropologists and psychologists have been the principal participants in these exchanges, with valuable but less frequent contributions from members of other social science disciplines.
Let us now envisage an additional, more ambitious objective: for SCCR to become the site and vehicle for fostering interdisciplinary integration of social science research. By integration I do not mean amalgamation. The various strands, familiar to all who have attended and presented at SCCR, will continue to survive and to thrive. We have, however, not done enough to build bridges between the various existing approaches to cross-cultural research. The two main reference points of anthropology and psychology, contexts and dimensions, respectively, should be alternated, blended and then integrated, and perhaps supplemented and enriched by inputs from the traditions of investigation, originated, for example, in comparative linguistics, sociology, history or other disciplines. This call for pluralism is based on the recognition, which is more widely shared than articulated, that there is no one, ideal or perfect, cross-cultural method or model nor is one ever likely to emerge. Consequently, the useful but limited perspectives from which we proceed would be enhanced by being pooled, combined, and compared, in the hope that a more multifaceted understanding of human condition in culture will result. Qualitative observations should be a point of departure for quantitative research, and arrays of statistical results should be scrutinized in the unique contexts of their occurrence. Results based on HRAF should spark investigations by other worldwide methods, as exemplified by the cultural dimensions proposed by Hofstede and by the work with multinational networks of collaborators for studying such phenomena as mate selection or romantic attachment. Monocultural, bicultural, and multicultural research should be pursued both simultaneously and sequentially. These courses of action are all the more urgently needed as the several social science disciplines tackle problems and challenges that transcend their traditional boundaries. At recent SCCR meetings, symposia have been devoted to altruism, space exploration, terrorism, and warfare. Additional relevant topics include globalization and its various negative, positive, and neutral consequences, the effect of sudden sociopolitical and economic change and any limits of human capability in accommodating to it, and the purportedly human universal striving to attain freedom and/or to escape from it. Cross-cultural investigation in educational, organizational, business, and mental health settings stands to benefit from the infusion of greater conceptual and methodological pluralism.
What are the implications of these rather abstract and programmatic musings? Beginning with next year’s annual meeting in New Orleans, let us actively take advantage of the diversity of our membership in promoting investigation and interpretation from several different angles. Let us stimulate and allow to be stimulated by our colleagues in the cross-cultural enterprise whose modus operandi is different, and let us collaborate in the pursuit of our basic and applied research goals.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
SCCR will elect a new president-elect, secretary-treasurer, and social sciences area representative this fall. Please send any nominations to Juris G. Draguns (Nominations Committee Chair) at firstname.lastname@example.org