Social Cognitive Theory in Cultural Context

Social cognitive theory adopts an agentic perspective to human development, adaptation, and change. The theory distinguishes among three modes of agency: personal agency exercised individually; proxy agency in which people secure desired outcomes by influencing others to act on their behalf; and collective agency in which people act in concert to shape their future. Contentious dualisms pervade our field pitting autonomy against interdependence; individualism against collectivism and commonality; and personal agency against social structure. The determinants and agentic blends of individual, proxy, and collective instrumentality vary cross-culturally. But all agentic modes are needed to make it through the day whatever the cultural context in which one resides. Cultures are diverse and dynamic social systems, not static monoliths. Intracultural diversity and intraindividual variation in psychosocial orientations across spheres of functioning underscore the multifaceted dynamic nature of cultures. The growing globalization and cultural pluralization of societies and enmeshment in a cyberworld that transcends time, distance, place and national borders call for broadening the scope of cross-cultural analyses. The issues of interest center on how national and global forces interact to shape the nature of cultural life.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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