Abstract and Keywords
Affective networks of relationships frame every social encounter that a person has in life. Mainstream psychological research has, however, failed to take adequate consideration of these dynamics in the writing about and exploration of human conduct across cultures. In every step of research, we espouse elements of our habitual cultural dynamics. When we consider a context unfamiliar for us, we tend to superimpose our familiar ways of living onto the other culture, the other person. Also, there is a preference for quantifiable, observable elements of human conduct, which has contributed to much knowledge about human phenomena in specific settings but everyday lives of ordinary people all over the world remain largely ignored by psychological research. This occurs on account of the tedium involved in searching the streets for processes that defy simple labeling and categorization. The greater the distance between the socio-economic, cultural, and geographic conditions of a researcher and the researched, the more arduous the journey of intersubjectivity, the agreement between partners in research. This makes our judgments more prone to incorrect exploration. Indian community life is characterized by complex, confounding and contradictory manifestations of ways of living owing to internal and external factors. This makes it all the more critical to inform ourselves about ambient social reality and personal proclivity in order to understand people and their conduct. This chapter discusses some of these features of social life in India that impinge upon interpersonal encounters, and thereby need to be attended to in research.
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