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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Money is usually seen to be exchanged with anything that has an equivalent exchange value in the society in which a market economy prevails. When we define economic activity in the broadest sense, money is one specific form of the medium that mediates between people. In this chapter, we will discuss the role of money from the viewpoint of cultural psychology. At first, after briefly reviewing the previous research on the psychology of economic activity, we will show money and possessions are embedded in human relationships and their meanings are not separable from them. The meaning of “my belongings,” for example, “this money (or possession) is ‘mine’” is not determined based on the simple and dichotomous distinction between mine and others, and the possibility (and/or the impossibility) of the transfer of them is decided under the control of social norms that are held in common within a group of people. Second, we will explain how such norms are realized on the basis of our methodology—which we call that of cultural psychology of differences. Thirdly, we will give an overview of our Pocket Money Project, where we have analyzed the relationship between money and children of the four East Asian countries: Japan, Korea, China, and Vietnam. While this project is a case study conducted based on our methodology, the readers will know how the structures of norms, which make the economic activity possible, are different between different cultural groups, and how we can recognize them.

Keywords: pocket money, economic activity, east asian countries, money as a cultural tool, cultural psychology of differences, dialogical research method, expanded mediational structure (ems)

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