Engaging culture and science : A scientific realist interpretation of Maori mental health
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The intersection of Maori culture and psychological science is engaged by analysing the problem of the mental health of Maori. It is the articulation of what this problem might comprise in terms of historical, conceptual, methodological and ethical features, that is of most interest Scientific realism is the theory of science that I adopt in the pursuit of determining the key theoretical and empirical commitments that have characterised and continue to shape the received view of 'Maori mental health'. In developing an understanding of the features which create divergence between Maori culture and psychological science it is possible to develop a view of the more pervasive normative assumptions that maintain distance between these respective institutions. In using the vehicle of the mental health of Maori I explore the concept of cultural reification and the implications of this force to impede the interrelationship between culture and science. Complicit in the semantic project of cultural reification is the burgeoning support of postmodern theories, as they relate to cultural 'Others'. It is suggested that what emerges from this complicity is the denial that individual Maori possess mental states and that this is the essential factor which prevents the improving of relations between psychological science and Maori culture in explicit regard to 'Maori mental health'.