The new world order offers rich opportunities for cultural understanding, both of ourselves and other people. Valsiner argues that this new global openness facilitates contact between people from different places in ways that were not possible before. We can now reach beyond “borders of national, social or religious kind (and this) sets up a new opportunity for the social sciences to expand their understanding to include the varieties of cultural histories into their scientific cores” (Valsiner, 2017).
This recent openness also creates new problems because the impact of globalization is assumed to result in a “global epidemic of sameness”. However, just because we use the same gadgets does not imply that everyone is headed in the same direction. Globalization manifests itself differently in different contexts, leading to an endless expansion of the cultural lives of people.
Thus, in order to understand diverse human phenomena and incorporate these into the social sciences, the importance of context remains in central place. In this presentation, I will focus on relationships in Indian families using examples from the field to demonstrate how and why the study of context and meaning-making are critical to a better understanding of human phenomena.
Prof. Nandita Chaudhary has taught at Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Fellow of the Indian Council for Social Science Research. Prof. Chaudhary has participated in international collaborations in the area of culture, children’s development and family studies, and has supervised research from India, Denmark, Germany and the US. She has also been an advisor to scholars, University departments, national and international agencies, and legal services in matters related to childhood and family in India. Prof. Chaudhary is the author of ‘Listening to Culture: Constructing reality from everyday talk’ (2004, Sage), and has co-edited five volumes, and has authored several chapters in books and journals, while she also blogs regularly. She is an Associate Editor for the journal Culture & Psychology and is actively involved in public awareness campaigns regarding cultural issues in parenting.