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A Possible Psychology of ‘Selves’ in India? Reflections Enthused by a Chronic Dissenter
Published in Springer
Volume: 64
Issue: 3
Pages: 332 - 341
Ashis Nandy’s works have been read predominantly in the context of his observations on South Asian culture, politics and history. The present essay focuses on whether Nandy’s understanding of the self as an inseparable part of the collective culture and incorporating the past and future in the present may enrich thinking within mainstream psychology. Nandy consistently draws a distinction between the self as a product of modern enlightenment and the self that harbours within it the ambiguities and contradictions, often seen in traditional societies. Nandy believes that the former subtly breeds a kind of violence in the name of scientific hegemony, while the latter is more tolerant of human folly and idiosyncrasies. The present article discusses three categories of responses to modernity: from psychoanalytical perspective, from Indian psychology trying to retrieve ancient texts and from postmodernism, and contextualizes Nandy within these approaches. Three aspects of Nandy’s conceptualization of self have been discussed here: the storied self, the atemporal self and the mythical self. Finally, the utilization of such discourse for a possible pluralism to be introduced in mainstream psychology of self in India has been considered. © 2019, National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India.
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