Irgebayeva N.M. Ethopsychology and national psychology issues

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Irgebayeva Nazilya Mukatayevna - associate professor of Master and PhD Institute of Abay Kazakh National Pedagogical University.


Анотація. У статті аналізуються праці вчених, які здійснили значний внесок у розвиток етопсихології в Казахстані, а також сучасний стан розвитку цієї галузі науки в РК.

Пікір.Мақалада ұлттық психологияның қалыптасуына үлес қосып, түрлі зерттеулер жүргізген ғалымдар еңбектеріне талдау жасалып, қазіргі кезде елімізде бұл саланың зерттелу жағдайы, мәні мен мазмұны қарастырылады.

Аннотация.В статье анализируются труды ученых, которые внесли значительный вклад в развитие этноспихологии в Казахстане, а также состояние и развития данной отрасли в РК в настоящее время.

Summary The article analyzed ethnopsychological science and one of its basic concepts, a scientific rationale of national psychology peculiarities in social life was presented in the given article. System-making and dynamic components of this science: Motivational-background, intellectual-cognitive, emotional-volitional, communicative-behavioral were dismantled.

Ethnopsychology (Greek ethnos) means tribe, clan. Ethnopsychology (ethnos and psychology) interdisciplinary science that studies national disposition inherent in different ethnos, psychological peculiarities special to certain ethnos [1]. National psychology emerging is associated with earlier times when instead of conducting national restraint policy various countries opened up for versatile policy strategies, when new gates, ways and sea routes were discovered; colonial wars policy, massive kidnapping and enthrallment, creation of world market, elimination of national impediments provided an impetus to the national psychology development. At that period when social structure began to evolve European scholars suggested ideas which described exact trends and periods of people’s social life. Keeping in mind that moral perceptions, mentalities, customs and traditions of nations differ some scientists wanted to find the roots of these distinctions in materialistic factors.

In the second half of XIX century scientific schools of European sociology as Anthropology School of sociology, Organic School, Social Darwinism considered people’s society similar to animals’ world. However common characteristics which united the outcomes of those researches did not value enough the objective trends that impacted on social life. Researchers were adjusting Biology laws of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory to social life rules. They tend to prove that biology laws affect on people’s social, economic and moral life behavior. Based on their findings they wanted to extract moral and inner image of human beings out of their biological characteristics. Scientific researches demonstrate that psychological features common to each ethnical community are outcomes of social evolution. When babies are born, nothing is embedded in their mind either national disposition or beliefs. Mentality, culture, language, and character everything comes with human’s social evolution. Only during the process of raising and extension in certain ethnical group a person becomes a representative of this community. Social psychology, notably national psychology emerges out of social influence. Following the researches, a baby who was born in Africa however brought up in England, in English society with its culture gradually adapts to the national restraint and as a result his ethnic “south blood” temper does not exert. As a separate branch of education ethnopsychology stems from the West where Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal developed its methodological and theoretical basis.

Swiss philosopher, student and follower of I. Herbart, German empirical psychology founder, Moritz Lazarus (1824-1903) laid a foundation to “national psychology”. Primarily he researched such notions as joke and language perceptions, afterwards his academic works and findings were recognized around the world. In 1859 in collaboration with German philosopher, linguist Heymann Steinthal M.Lazarus established a magazine “National psychology and Linguistics”. The magazine was associated with researches in culture, language, and life style. Heymann Steinthal was well-known for his studies in education, grammar, logics, linguistic psychology; moreover, he was the founder of psychological trend in linguistics when people have got to be interested in “nation’s psychology». As M.Lazarus he also suggested an idea to found a special discipline “nation’s psychology”. Acknowledging the culture of each ethnos, H. Steinthal puts forward that ethnos unity and integrity in their psychic connection with language, customs and traditions, intention, myths, religion and national folk. He delivers that psychic similarities of individuals are demonstrated in their minds. As a separate discipline of science H. Steinthal and M.Lazarus pointed out the following objectives of Nations psychology:

1) To learn psychological outlines of national spirit; 2) To discover people’s moral or ideal behavior laws through their life, artful or scientific path. 3) To define nation’s peculiar patterns formation, their evolvement, disruption reasons, results and consequences. In accordance with them, “Nations psychology” must look into the tasks resolved by General Psychology because “nation’s spirit” becomes apparent in individuals and can not exist without people [2]. As it was known Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was the scholar who systematized Nations psychology as an exceptional realm of science. His first ethnopsychological article published in 1886 was translated into Russian as “Problems of nation’s psychology” and edited in 1912 [3]. At the beginning of his research W. Wundt focused on H. Steinthal and M.Lazarus findings then he chose completely another path. Firstly, H. Steinthal and M.Lazarus considered people’s spirit from another standpoint linked to psychological phenomena. W.Wundt supported the idea that people’s spirit can not subsist without body; he conceived individuals’ conjoint life and their interrelations with their own life can give rise to a new phenomena. General perceptions of individuals, their feelings, and aspirations were contemplated as the new phenomena and content of people’s spirit. Secondly, W.Wundt wanted to taper away the range of nation’s psychological research program proposed by H. Steinthal and M.Lazarus. He firmly believed that in authentic researches we can not restrict narration and explanation in a segregated way. “As a supplementary discipline of nations psychology ethnology can put across each nation’s psychic state”, claimed Wundt.

Thirdly, W.Wundt conceived that common notions of individuals can be demonstrated in their languages, myths, customs and traditions, whereas other elements of moral culture are moved to them and considered in the second level. In his earlier works the scholar indicates that precise structure of products made by creative spirit contains the following aspects: - The language comprises the notions pertained to nation’s spirit and interrelations between them; - Myths, according to Wundt, reflect the primitive society, contain the primary content concepts of that time. - Manners are actions that originate from these concepts. Challenges of ethnic psychology foundations development are associated with the 20’s years of XX century. Together with Chelpanov Shpet opened a cabinet of ethnic and social psychology; they identified that as a discipline ethnic psychology includes the phenomena of spiritual life i.e. myths, beliefs, poetry, art, morality. In 1927 Shpet in his work “Introduction to Ethnic Psychology” [4] methodologically analyzed scientific findings of H. Steinthal, M.Lazarus, W.Wundt. He showed ethnic psychology not as explanatory science but as narrative science. Shpet had no doubt that the cultural and historical content of people’s life has no psychological characteristics. In ethnic psychology definition, he introduced not the term of relativity, but the notion of collective ruefulness. Unfortunately, ideas of H. Steinthal, M.Lazarus, W.Wundt, Shpet remained just in explanatory records level, in addition their final models were not applied in psychological researches. Scientists of XIX - XX centuries who established ethnopsychology values correlated human’s world not to the world of nature, but culture. It should be noted that Wundt ideas laid a foundation for cultural anthropology.

At the end of the XIX century, French scientist G. Le Bon (1841 - 1931), who is considered as the founder of social psychology in the West, supplemented nations psychology with his own personal views. He believed that each race has its steady psychological mentality, formed over many centuries. According to Le Bon, the totality of ethnic groups’ psychological characteristics forms a medium type, which enables us to understand the essence of this certain people’s community. Profound differences between mentalality of different ethnic groups’ representatives, according to the views of Le Bon, lead to the fact that they have different perceptions of external world, feel, reason and act in their own way.

Following Le Bon, there is a hierarchy of human races. He distinguished a primitive race - people with no traces of culture, inferior races capable to rudiments of civilization (he refers to Blacks in this context), and the average race - people who have created high types of civilizations that could surpass only Europeans: it is Chinese, Japanese, Mongols, also Assyrians and Arabs. By superior races Le Bon relegates to only Indo-European peoples, the lowest of which – Indians [5]. From the modern point of view Le Bon’s position was totally unacceptable and not justified. In accordance with his standpoint, mergence is not possible and differences are insurmountable among the four listed above large groups. In addition, he emphasized hierarchy of peoples not only in groups, but also within each of them. Featured social "ladder" of races, without doubt, reflects not only existed at that time bias to different nations, but also a lack of understanding the identity of each nation in its evolution. It should be noted that Western science subsequently used to Le Bon’s ideas to formulate a thesis of national exclusiveness, seeking to oppose one nation to another, focusing on what divides them, and not on what unites, thus justifying the outbreak of colonial wars. Despite his significant scientific merits Le Bon is known in the West as an ardent follower of French social philosopher Gobineau, who is considered to be the founder of racism theory. Taking such positions, Western scholars at that time ignored a germination of people’s integration, and now in modern times the process of nations’ convergence has become a reality. That is why their attention, as noted by E.A.Bagramov was aimed at finding the dissimilarity and even antagonism between nations and not to study the inherent distinctiveness of each nation in terms of people’s common thoughts, feelings, experiences, which could contribute to the mutual understanding of nation.

In XX century under the pressure of conclusive scientific evidences, which were the results of numerous applied researches, foreign sociologists and psychologists were forced to admit that race does not shape national psyche of people. National character, national consciousness, courage, commitment to the country have been mentioning in the Kazakh history since the ancient times. We can verify this by reading pearls of Kazakh national heritage - proverbs, heroic epics, wise sayings of Kazakh poets. They recount that national life of Kazakhs is full of affection to other society members, emotions and good intentions.

The theme of national character is extensively described in works of Shokan Ualikhanov in the XIX century. Most often, he writes about the national consciousness and its psychological characteristics. The notion of “national spirit” occupies a special place in his writings. Describing his people, Shokan Ualikhanov has repeatedly said that spiritual world of Kazakhs is very rich, Kazakhs are always eager to progress and development [6]. Shokan singled out aitys, i.e. a public contest of Kazakh poets, poetry competition of improvisers, as a special art inherent in the Kazakh people. He described psychological feature of Kazakhs in this way: “faith, habits, games, with historically rich meaningful events in myths, code compliance of national laws allowed the Kazakh people to be among the best ones”. Also in his writings Shokan tells us that natural landscapes, geographical factors influence the formation of each person’s personality. Meanwhile, scientist and psychologist K.Zharykbayev claims that psychology basis in our country were developed by Abay Kunanbayuly. In confirmation of his words, Zharykbayev tells us that great Kazakh poet Abay selecting from the Kazakh language, systematized psychological concepts and words such as character, strength , character, mood, grief, joy, passion, enthusiasm, diligence, intelligence, consciousness, fear, sloth, envy, malevolence. Besides, Abay did not just complement the mentioned above concepts, but also wrote about the psychological world of nomads [7].

It is synonymous with national psychology. In their works Ybyray Altynsarin, Abay Kunanbayuly, Sultanmakhmut Toraygyrov described national characteristics and its contents. One of the first scientists who defended his doctoral thesis in psychology realm is Mazhit Mukanuly. He viewed consciousness and mind from ethno and linguo- psychological perspectives [8]. A representative of a nation can understand who he is, just reminding himself who his ancestors were. Historical memory is materialized in traditions and cultural, religious, economic, public activities. Every nation has its national consciousness, reflected in a complex set of social, political, economic, moral, aesthetic, philosophical, religious and other views and beliefs that characterize a certain level of spiritual development. National consciousness is the product of a long historical development. It contains ideological views which were scientifically proved and have systemized structure: ideas, programs, norms, values inserted in theoretical and practical components. It emerges in an ordinary level. Theoretical, ordinary and everyday levels are tightly knitted to each other.

Social consciousness consists of two interrelated parts: theoretical level and the ordinary consciousness level. Theoretical level includes ideology: generalized views of people on life and society. The level of ordinary consciousness includes social psychology: An immediate reaction of people on impacts of objective reality and life in society. National consciousness is the result of people’s realization that they are members of a particular ethnic group and understanding of their positions in this system of social relations. On the basis of national consciousness lies a phenomenon of ethnic identity, i.e. formation of people’s stable ideas about themselves as members of a particular ethnic group. National consciousness is almost impossible without a national language functioning, because language is the mean of its expression and formation. Psyche - a subjective image of the objective world, the result reflected in individual and social consciousness of people, impacts of objects and phenomena of the world. Perception of objective reality is usually carried out not only at the level of psychology in a form of feelings, motives, attitudes, relationships and traditions, but also at the level of ideology in the form of ideas, theories, concepts, attitudes considering social being through the prism of fundamental social interests of society. Psychology and ideology - two components of consciousness both of the individual and groups of people. In psychology of one man his inner world and the individual perception of reality are embodied. In social psychology, the same group of people manifests their mediocre response to everyday life events; views, opinions, moods, relationships between individuals are formed and fixed in it.

Social psychology has not only common, that is inherent in everyday consciousness of all people, but something that is characteristic for a particular group of people depending on their occupation, education level, ethnic or religious affiliation, gender, age and other characteristics. In this sense, every nation, every class, every profession, age group, family, etc. have their psychological characteristics. Social psychology, in its turn, includes the psychology of nation, class, profession, age, gender, and family. Nation’s psychology as an existing phenomenon by its content is a component of public consciousness, but more precisely, of the social psychology. It has its material base, its specific carriers and reflects what common things representatives of ethnic communities have in their worldview, in sustainable forms of behavior, psychological traits shape, reactions, speech, language, attitudes towards other people and nature. Psychology of the nation is the result of historical development in which economic, social and political conditions of life and people’s activities determined the formation of their social psyche features. Thus, self-consciousness demonstrates persons’s tastes, interests, feelings, honour, language, his life path. Causal interpretation of observed or predicted behavior of our and foreign group representatives reflects the nature of inter-ethnic relations and leads to various degrees of proximity or remoteness of subjective ethnic groups from each other. At everyday level of ethnic consciousness it is reflected in ethno-integration and ethno-differential signs and perceived behaviors.

Meanwhile national consciousness is manifested in ideas, views, opinions, feelings, emotions, moods and expresses the content, level and characteristic views of nation’s members. Components of national dignity are the pride, thoughts and spiritual wealth of nation’s ancestors, respect for positive customs and traditions, love for homeland, a sense of continuity with its nature; culture, folk music, poetry appreciation, etc. National psychology has its own structure and is manifested in the form of national and psychological features. Structure of the national psychology includes systemic (static) and dynamic (functional) components. Among the system making components of the nation, representatives of many of psychology sciences include the national character, national temperament, national mentality, national feelings and moods, national traditions and habits.

National character, according to anthropologists and sociologists - is a historically rooted set of stable psychological traits that define the usual demeanor of behavior and typical image of actions of a certain nation and relations manifested in their social and domestic environments directed to the world, work, and other ethnic communities. The notion of “national character” came from everyday life, everyday language and has collective generalizing value. With regard to the domestic-social environment in national character particularly elements of ideology and social psychology are closely intertwined, including national and class elements. Attitude to the environment determines the direction of people’s national consciousness. This group of national traits includes such characters as conservatism, religiosity, optimism, pessimism, etc. Attitude towards labor is manifested in the national character in form of qualities such as efficiency, practicality, accuracy, punctuality, commitment, initiative, passivity, lack of organization, etc.

Diligence is inherent, perhaps in all nations of the world, but there is a difference between Americans, Japanese, Germans, Kazakhs and other nations’ diligence. Industriousness of Japanese – painstaking, patience, skill, diligence, perseverance. German industriousness – accuracy, thoroughness, accuracy, precision, discipline. Hard workings Americans are associated with energetic assertiveness, inexhaustible business passion, risk taking, initiative and rationalism [9]. Kazakhs are reliable, responsible; always empathize others trying to help them, hospitable. Attutude towards our own and other ethnic communities also quite specific content for different ethnic communities.

National temperament, in accordance with many scholars, determines emotionally expressive specific of behavior and actions of people as members of a particular ethnic group, characterizes the distinctness of their behavioral activity. Representatives of some nations (e.g. French, Italians, Spaniards, etc.) are more emotional and sensitive. In a relatively short period of time they can be really enthusiastic about something, experience burst of emotions, however they can rapidly feel the decline of similar reactions, especially in difficult circumstances. Representatives of other nations (e.g. British, Scandinavians, etc.) are less emotional, more prone to logic in their actions and rational behavior, changes in their sentiments are less observed. National temperament is also manifested in gestures. Thus, the researchers found that at an average rate of one hour conversation a typical Finn uses only one gesture, in the same situation Italian uses gestures at least eighty times. Frenchman - at least one hundred and twenty times, an American – even one hundred eighty times. The notion of “temperament” in ethnic psychology has a different meaning than in general psychology. National temperament and individual’s temperament are not the same. Differences in reactivity and emotionality of different ethnic communities is primarily due to the fact that traditional forms of behavior, reactivity developed over the centuries, are digested by each new generation and serve as a guide to actions.

National mind, according to philosophers and sociologists – primarily, is thinking specificity of majority members of a nation. Representatives of different nations have the same mechanism of mental activity. It obeys the same laws, but has national specifics, which are determined by historical and socio-economic development conditions of certain ethnic communities. So, abstract thinking, for example, for Germans is a consequence of escaping to ideas world from reality with its paltry limitations. British outwardness, aligned with their historical priority in conquering many countries and continents, in trade, active military, economic activity for many centuries, on the contrary, gave rise to speculative thinking. Specific traits of the French - wit, eloquence are reflected in their thinking [10]. The Kazakh people are more focused on implication of the word. Taking decisions, they would measure thrice and cut once. Not only individuals but whole nations in their own way perceive and experience the world around them and other people. Forms of interaction with nature, norms of communication between people in every nation differ. Forms of interaction with nature, norms of communication make his mental uniqueness. National characteristics of thinking can be reflected in philosophical systems construction, in writing books, articles, during conversations, communication, etc. National feelings and moods - emotive attitudes of people to their ethnic community, its interests, values and forms of life, and to other nations. National feelings are durable and tenacious. They are formed for centuries on the basis of people’s living conditions and their historical experiences. These feelings can have both positive and negative connotations. Positive tone is expressed in such feelings as national pride, patriotism and love for other people, a sense of friendship and brotherhood towards other nations; negative connotation is manifested in nationalism and chauvinism, national and racial prejudice, alienation state towards other peoples and etc.

National traditions and habits - rules, norms and patterns of behavior, forms of communication between people established on the basis of nation’s long life experience and ingrained in everyday life, transmitted to new members of an ethnic community. Historical experience shows that lack of national traditions, customs, habits, tastes knowledge often leads to serious complications in dealing with members of other ethnic communities. So, the British are characterized with their necessity to resolve all issues “according to customs”. Meanwhile Americans tend to refer to standards. Bearing in mind dynamic and systematic sides of national psychology, for today Kazakh people communicating with other ethnic groups give preference to consent. Using experimental methods dynamic components of national psychology, unlike its components system allow to comprehend, identify and explain the specifics of its manifestations accurately and adequately as much as it’s possible. These components are commonly called national-psychological characteristics, implying that they characterize the uniqueness of mental processes and states flow; specifics of interaction, relationships and communication between representatives of specific ethnic communities. The structure of dynamic components in national psychology includes motivational background, intellectual-cognitive, emotional-volitional and communicative-behavioral national- psychological characteristics.

Motivational background of national psychological characteristics delivers those characteristics that define the uniqueness of driving forces in particular ethnic community representatives’ lives. Motivational background of the national psychological characteristics contains, for instance, such qualities as work efficiency, prudence, diligence, initiative, perseverance, etc. Intellectual - cognitive national psychological characteristics express the originality of perception and thinking in particular ethnic community representatives, it manifests itself in specific combination of cognitive and intellectual qualities presence. A special combination of such indicators as a degree of logic commitment, the breadth and depth of abstraction, speed of mental operations, specific organization of mental activity, etc. cause the original parameters of intellectual activity. For example, the French people are distinguished by their inborn intellectual ingenuity in mathematics. Whereas the Kazakhs are widely known for their abilities in aitys (improvisational verses making). Exactingness, activity, integration, relation of deep feelings, creativity during perception demonstrates particular nation’s cognitive attainments. Emotional and volitional characteristics of national psychological reflect the uniqueness of particular people’s emotional and volitional qualities, mainly effectiveness of activities depends on them.

According to many scientists, well known introverts and consistent ones are the British and the Germans, extrovert, hot-tempered and passionate are the French and Irish. Communicative-behavioral characteristics of national psychology - phenomena that characterize the uniqueness of interaction, communication and relationships of different ethnic communities and groups. Communicative-behavioral aspects of national peculiarities can be observed in communicative and interactive ways. By another person’s feedback we can realize whether individual’s perception, understanding of the problem, his explaining made any sense in reaching his aim in communication. They are manifested in attitudes and external forms of behavior in specific techniques and methods of information exchange etc. Here's how they were described by Ilya Ehrenburg in the book People, Years, Life: “Europeans, meeting each other, offer their hands, whereas Chinese, Japanese or Indian are forced to shake stranger’s hands” [10]. National psychology performs the functions listed below:

1. National psychology serves as an objectification of ethnic specificity. Objectification basis of ethnic specificity inherent to any community makes a social experience, which is a consequence of its identity in socio-political, economic and cultural development. 2. National psychology performs a regulatory function in some activities. People manage their behavior in different activities in their own way; they orient and direct its development in a certain path in order to achieve a desired goal. 3. The third function aims at controlling; it is implemented in a form of manifestation of national identity processes in adaptation, stabilization and stimulation. In adaptation national-psychological features can help or hinder the adaptation of people who represent different nationalities to the work conditions. Despite the fact that representatives of different nations have unequal opportunities for adaptation, they somehow, sooner or later adapt to the conditions of activity. And this process is known as stabilization. It appears to be different in groups and individuals. National-psychological features, which appear in activities, cause certain dynamics of psychological activity for particular ethnic community members. Making people enthusiastic about their works, encouraging them is known as stimulation.

The main feature of national psychological characteristics – manifestation of national psyche objective laws. The national characteristics can be seen during psychological processes and state, also in people’s relations with each other, in their activities, where national content is settled. Each member of national community in consideration of his ethnical environment and evolvement experience try to behave, communicate, think in explicit way; Observing a definite situation related to the national psychology characteristics we can not demonstrate preference to a certain national ethnos member looking at his psychological development; National psychology characteristics are more stable and conservative in comparison with other phenomena; The principal feature of national psychology is its versatility. The primary feature of national psychology can be displayed in results of etnopsychological plotting when by their actions people gain certain experiences and form national psyche traits. Properties of national psychological characteristics – are manifestation of national psyche functioning. Study of national and psychological features, originality of their manifestation in labor activity of representatives of certain ethnic community gives the basis for a definitive evaluation of their business opportunities (from a psychological point of view) [11].

In today's information world, where state and inter-ethnic relations are precipitately developing a manager needs to be well aware of people’s ethnopsychological features to organize the work at different levels efficiently. This knowledge demonstrates his level of culture and intellect; moreover it is a tool for stimulating employees and organizing the work.

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