In his paper, David Matsumoto (2005) offers a critical approach to the adequacy of verbal reports as representations of culture, arguing that they represent a cultural ideology (what he calls 'consensual culture' or a 'consensual cultural worldview') rather than a culture's actual complexity ('cultural ways' or 'actual cultural behaviors'). I agree with the author that we make mistakes when describing our own culture. But the fact that we may sometimes err does not necessarily mean that we always do. The problem with such a view is that the denial of the epistemic value of verbal reports also invalidates the capacities of the scientist as a member of the culture, unless we consider the scientist to exist outside her/his culture. This is the classical objectivist approach in science and, furthermore, the assumption tacitly accepted by cross-cultural studies.
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- Anthopological universalism
- Cross-cultural methodology
- Etic/emic approaches
- Verbal report