International and Cultural Psychology

Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Editors: Vakoch, Douglas (Ed.)

  • This book examines the similarities and differences in altruism across cultures
  • Examines the role of altruism in ritual and religion
  • Analyzes the interplay of biology and culture in altruism
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About this book

Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective provides such a scholarly overview, examining the intersection of culture and such topics as evolutionary accounts of altruism and the importance of altruism in ritual and religion. ​​The past decade has seen a proliferation of research on altruism, made possible in part by significant funding from organizations such as the John Templeton Foundation. While significant research has been conducted on biological, social, and individual dimensions of altruism, there has been no attempt to provide an overview of the ways that altruistic behavior and attitudes vary across cultures. The book addresses the methodological challenges of researching altruism across cultures, as well as the ways that altruism is manifest in difficult circumstances. A particular strength of the book is its attention to multiple disciplinary approaches to understanding altruism, with contributors from fields including psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology, communication, philosophy, religious studies, gender studies, and bioethics.​

About the authors

Douglas A. Vakoch is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, as well as Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute. His research spans the fields of psychology, anthropology, and space sciences, and his books include Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective (NASA, 2011), On Orbit and Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight (Springer, 2012), Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication (NASA, 2012), Astrobiology, History, and Society: Extraterrestrial Life and the Impact of Discovery (Springer, 2013), and Between Worlds: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition (MIT Press, 2013). Dr. Vakoch chaired the symposium ―Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective‖ at the 34th Annual Conference of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, which brought together researchers from anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, and public health for the first in-depth discussion of altruism across cultures. He has been a faculty participant in two separate month-long summer seminars sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation: ―Biology and Purpose: Altruism, Morality, and Human Nature in Evolutionary Theory‖ and ―Works of Love: Scientific and Theological Perspectives on Altruism.‖ Dr. Vakoch has served on the Executive Committee of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, which brings together psychologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and research. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Ecopsychology, and he serves as general editor for Berghahn Books’ Ecofeminist Theory and Practice Series, which includes his own book, Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse (2011).

Reviews

"Based on a symposium on the same theme held in connection with the 34th Annual Conference of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, February 23–27, 2005, at Santa Fe, NM, and convened by the volume’s editor, the book contains contributions by 21 authors of different nationalities in 13 chapters, 7 of which are based on papers originally presented at this conference. While a “Foreword” by senior cross-cultural psychologist Harry C. Triandis (vii–xi) aptly leads into the subject matter, the “Afterword” (chapter 13, pp. 159–63), by Steven G. Post and Matthew T. Lee, concludes that “other-regarding behaviors are without exception endorsed in all major world religions and in the world cultures that have grown up around them” (p. 159) which allows us to assume that altruism is “a universal value” indeed (p. 163). (Post is a physician and Lee a sociologist, and both are engaged in the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, Stony Brook, NY.)...Short biographical notes about the contributors (pp. 165–71) and the editor (p. 173) as well as a general index (pp. 175–80) conclude this book, which is a high-quality tool for cross-cultural studies of altruism and beyond."
Christopher H. Grundmann
Zygon, vol. 49, no. 1, March 2014

"Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective provides a multidisciplinary effort to examine human altruism cross-culturally. The authors of the 11 chapters plus epilogue and afterword come from a variety of disciplines: Psychology and anthropology are well represented, with additional contributions from social work, philosophy, theology, and education. Other chapter authors come from communication, folklore studies, English literature, public health, recreation and tourism, and ecology and environmental sciences. The multidisciplinary breadth of this volume results from its origination as a symposium conducted at the 34th Annual Conference of the Society for Cross Cultural Research convened in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in February 2005. The pioneering work of Daniel Batson on altruism provides a foundation for the book and a common thread running through many of the chapters (Batson, 2011, 2012)...This book should be of interest to both students and professionals concerned with gaining a broader understanding of altruism in cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary perspectives. As noted above, it builds on the pioneering work of Batson and complements other recent work on altruism (Knafo & Israel, 2012; Midlarsky, Mullin, & Barkin, 2012; Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin, & Schroeder, 2005; Snyder & Dwyer, 2013)."
John M. Davis
PsycCRITIQUES
April 28, 2014, Vol. 59, No. 17, Article 8





Table of contents (13 chapters)

  • Altruism in Its Personal, Social, and Cultural Contexts: An Introduction

    Draguns, Juris G.

    Pages 1-16

  • Conceptual Aspects of Altruism in Cross-Cultural Contexts

    Smith, Sandi W. (et al.)

    Pages 17-29

  • Cross-Cultural Variation in Altruism: Traditional Parental Manipulation and Ancestor-Descendant Conflict

    Coe, Kathryn (et al.)

    Pages 31-44

  • Guatemalan Adolescents’ Reports of Helping in Urban and Rural Mayan Communities

    Gibbons, Judith L.

    Pages 45-56

  • Do We Really Like the Kind Girls and Animals?: Cross-Cultural Analysis of Altruism in Folktales

    Arkhipova, Alexandra (et al.)

    Pages 57-70

Buy this book

eBook $109.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-6952-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $149.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-6951-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $149.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4899-8597-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Altruism in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Editors
  • Douglas Vakoch
Series Title
International and Cultural Psychology
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-6952-0
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-6952-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4614-6951-3
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4899-8597-2
Series ISSN
1574-0455
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 180
Topics