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Davidson, L. (1972). "Devi" and Transcultural Psychiatry—Introduction: Themes and Parallels. Contemp. Psychoanal., 8(2):173-178.

(1972). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 8(2):173-178

"Devi" and Transcultural Psychiatry—Introduction: Themes and Parallels

Leah Davidson, M.D.

IF SULLIVAN'S tenet "We are all more simply human than otherwise" is valid, then the problem of understanding attitudes and behavior, particularly those we come to consider anomalous, in different social structures, becomes a matter of the inquirer's orientation. Too often, we have assumed erroneously that behavior patterns that are similar, or analogous, have the same meaning. On the shock of discovery of our error, we retreat into our caves of pessimism, doubting we can communicate cross-culturally. It is obvious that behaviors that are analogous may or may not be related to each other. Our understanding, on the other hand, is enhanced when we examine homologous (not analogous) forms. That is, to fully comprehend, without substituting metaphor for insight, we have to appreciate private experience and examine its fit in the structural patterning of relationships between persons. The process of behavior is a sign of a relationship between one object and another. This interactive process, and the relationship of these processes, is what Sullivan emphasized in his attempts at defining the interpersonal.


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