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Boyer, L.B. (1973). Transcultural Psychiatry: By Ari Kiev. New York: The Free Press, 1972. 223 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:653-654.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:653-654

Transcultural Psychiatry: By Ari Kiev. New York: The Free Press, 1972. 223 pp.

Review by:
L. Bryce Boyer

Transcultural Psychiatry is the fourth in a series of related books by Kiev. In Magic, Faith and Healing, he described interrelationships between the psychiatric systems of preindustrial societies and the sociohistorical contexts in which the systems evolved. In Psychiatry and the Communist World he sought to examine the significance of Marxist-Leninist ideology in psychiatric theory and practices of communist countries but found too great a diversity of interests and history, external medical influences, and stages of industrial development and national interests to permit the use of the type of analysis he had applied to the simpler societies. Curanderismo: Mexican-American Folk Psychiatry was the useful result of a synthesis of Kiev's own field work and anthropological literature.

Transcultural Psychiatry can be of significant help to mental health programmers involved in planning changes in the psychiatric systems of undeveloped countries and societies. It assesses the difficulties they will confront, and concludes with a list of 'certain imperatives' that 'ought to be followed in establishing collaborative programs in developing countries'. It can be profitably perused by psychiatric, medical and paramedical practitioners and students to learn about the influences of cultural background on the causation and molding of psychiatric symptomatology.

Psychoanalysts will find the first six of the book's seven chapters to be of interest. Some, particularly neofreudians, in agreement with sociological theorists who deem cultural influence to be of overriding importance in the causation of psychopathological states, will adversely judge Kiev's emphasis on the ultimate organic bases of such conditions. Others will find fault from a different viewpoint.

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