chapter
20 Pages

Introduction

ByMarvin K. Opler

THE IMPACT of social and cultural environment upon the development of personalities is the central concern of social psychiatry. While this environment is in no sense a fixed form or pattern into which personality falls and is moulded, neither is it simply a mere extraneous influence added to inevitable results determined by the child-rearing practices of a culture. The attempts to exaggerate the socio-cultural setting to a global and inclusive mould effect are daily belied by the variations in personalities encountered by observers, scientific or otherwise, in any given setting. On the other hand, even the most cursory acquaintance with psychiatric case histories individually considered indicates the crudity of beginning with the Freudian basic disciplines and inferring therefrom the total contours of adult personality configurations. Both methods, the grossly cultural and the rigidly psychogenetic, are only partly useful as formulae and only partly true to individual and cultural realities.