Social psychology literature

8 10 2009
The other day when I was browsing through the book shelves in a store, two books – The Mirror Effect (about the effects of celebrity narcissism) and The Dumbest Generation – caught my attention.  Clearly, these were books on the current socio-psychological trends or issues in America. Immediately a few more similar books came into my mind – Decoding Love (on the dating scene), What do you want from me? (about managing in-law relationships) Etc. All these books discuss issues more specific to the American society and they draw heavily on various research studies made by universities or independent research institutions in relevant fields.
I tried to come up with similar books in Indian context, but my attempt was in vain. I just wondered why there are no such books in India- not at least I know of. When I thought about the non-fiction products of India, I could only come up with self-help books like You Can Win, Mind Magic, Positive Thinking, How to pass your exams etc. I could find some with academic flavor on subjects like politics, economics, psychology etc, but none with commercial touch. I feel like the field of social psychology hasn’t been studied much in India, at least not in a systematic way. And howmuchever it happens, it’s locked away by the academicians and doesn’t usually reach the general public.
Anyways, upon intense googling, I found two books which talk about the social picture of India – The Great Indian Middle Class (by Pavan K. Varma) and The Indians: Portrait of a People (by India’s foremost psychoanalyst and cultural commentator Sudhir Kakar and anthropologist Katharina Kakar). And I was pleasantly surprised. Of course these are not exactly what I hoped for but at least these set the direction. If there exist others like these, I am hopelessly unaware of them.
Another thing that bothers me is that such books are really not very popular and hardly ever come into limelight. I guess this is mainly because of the reading habits and preferences of Indians. In India, reading is neither cultivated as a habit since childhood nor generally encouraged later. Consequently a very small proportion of the literate population is serious readers. Well, nothing can be done about this outright to reverse the scenario but I just wish good books are really more accessible and more widely marketed.

The other day when I was browsing through the book shelves in a store, two books – The Mirror Effect (about the effects of celebrity narcissism) byDrew Pinsky & Dr. S. Mark Young  and The Dumbest Generation (affect of the digital age) by Mark Bauerlein – caught my attention.  Clearly, these were books on the current socio-psychological trends or issues in America. Immediately a few more similar books came into my mind – Decoding Love (on the dating scene) by Andrew Trees, What do you want from me? (about managing in-law relationships) by Terri Apter etc. All these books discuss issues more specific to the American society and they draw heavily on various research studies made by universities or independent research institutions in relevant fields.

I tried to come up with similar books in Indian context, but it was a vain attempt. I just wondered why there are no such books in India- not at least I know of. When I thought about the non-fiction products of India, I could only come up with self-help books like You Can Win, Mind Magic, Positive Thinking, How to pass your exams etc. I could find some with academic flavor on subjects like politics, economics, psychology, business etc, but none with commercial touch. I feel like the field of social psychology hasn’t been studied much in India, at least not in a systematic way. And howmuchever it happens, it’s locked away by the academicians and doesn’t usually reach the general public.

Anyways, upon intense googling, I found two books which talk about the social picture of India – The Great Indian Middle Class (by Pavan K. Varma) and The Indians: Portrait of a People (by India’s foremost psychoanalyst and cultural commentator Sudhir Kakar and anthropologist Katharina Kakar). And I was pleasantly surprised. Of course these are not exactly what I hoped for but at least these set the direction. If there exist others like these, I am hopelessly unaware of them.

Another thing that bothers me is that such books are really not very popular and hardly ever come into limelight. I guess this is mainly because of the reading habits and preferences of Indians. In India, reading is neither cultivated as a habit since childhood nor generally encouraged later. Consequently a very small proportion of the literate population is serious readers. Well, nothing can be done about this outright to reverse the scenario but I just wish good books are really more accessible and more widely marketed.

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2 responses

9 10 2009
Sunita

I totally agree with you.. I was pleasantly introduced to ‘Who moved my cheese’ and all the Chicken Soup for.. series by my friends here or after I came here! I have always wondered why we never have some of these kind of books being written by Indians when we are supposed to be good at analyzing and are so empathetic to others.

9 10 2009
sireeshaavvari

I can’t really say whether we are superior to anyone in analyzation and empathy, but I think that the lack of skills or feeling isn’t the issue. I think it’s a question of perspective and attitude.

And moreover I still have to see whether the two books I’ve mentioned towards the end are any good.

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