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Internalization: how culture becomes mind

Zittoun, Tania and Gillespie, Alex ORCID: 0000-0002-0162-1269 (2015) Internalization: how culture becomes mind. Culture and Psychology, 21 (4). pp. 477-491. ISSN 1354-067X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1354067X15615809


Internalization, the process by which culture becomes mind, is a core concept in cultural psychology. However, since the 1990s it has also been the source of debate. Critiques have focused on the underlying metaphor of internal-external as problematic. It has been proposed that appropriation provides a better conceptualization, a term that focuses attention more on behavior and less on psychological processes. The present article reviews the debate and introduces the recent concepts of position exchange and symbolic resources. Position exchange focuses on the societal side of culture, on the way in which social situations shape people’s experiences. Symbolic resources focus on culture in terms of specific elements, such as books, films, and so on, which also shape people’s experiences. The key idea common to both position exchange and symbolic resources is that people move through culture, both physically and psychologically. Moving through culture shapes a series of experiences across the lifecourse, and these experiences “layer up” within individuals, forming a complex sedimentation of culture within individuals. In so far as culture is heterogeneous and fragmented, so the sedimented layers of experience will also be heterogeneous

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 12:26
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:18

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