HomeLayagvol. 1 no. 1 (1996)

Is the Indigenization Crisis in Philippine Social Sciences Resolved in Sikolohiyang Pilipino?

Madelene Sta. Maria

Discipline: Psychology, Social Science



The indigenization crisis currently happening in the social sciences stems from the inability of a researcher to observe and interpret social phenomena from the perspective and the meaning systems of the culture within which the research is taking place and from which data is to be gathered. This crisis has emerged from the realization that explanations and methods used are products of the cultural experiences in the western civilization, and which may therefore be inadequate to explain and study phenomena and experiences in other cultural contexts. Because of this dilemma, there are efforts made by social scientists to initiate an indigenization or, sometimes called a contextualization process, of social science knowledge in their own respective cultures. The aim is to be able to develop theories and methods as well as identify concepts that are borne from the cultural experiences of the members of their respective cultures. In the Philippines, the move towards indigenization was initiated through Sikolohiyang Pilipino. In this paper, I will attempt to evaluate the efforts that have been made to indigenize the science of psychology in our context. The efforts have centered on the identification of indigenous concepts, the formulation of indigenous psychological theories and the development of indigenous methods. The question I will attempt to answer is whether Sikolohiyang Pilipino, through the realization of its projects, has resolved the crisis by integrating knowledge in the Filipino cultural context with psychological knowledge being disseminated in learning institutions-the very symptom of the crisis especially in nonwestern societies.