Richard Shweder  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Richard Allan Shweder (born 1945) is an American cultural anthropologist and a figure in cultural psychology. He is currently Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.


Shweder's main fieldwork outside the United States has been in the temple town of Bhubaneswar in the state of Orissa, India. Among other topics, his fieldwork in India has looked at cross-cultural concepts of the person, self, emotions, and moral reasoning. His work in moral psychology included proposing the Community / Autonomy / Divinity triad of moral concerns which served as one of the inspirations for Moral Foundations Theory, proposed by Shweder's former student Jonathan Haidt.

He has also published extensively on matters relevant to the "culture wars" debates in cultural studies in the United States, and has advocated forms of cultural pluralism while being mindful of the practical and ethical difficulties certain kinds of pluralism entail. He chaired a joint Russell Sage Foundation / Social Science Research Council Working Group on "Ethnic Customs, Assimilation, and American Law" (renamed as, "Law and Culture"), concerned with the issue of the "Free exercise of culture: How Free Is It? How Free Ought It To Be?" He also has commented upon military uses of anthropology for counterinsurgency and other purposes outside of the United States.

He is a past president of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. Shweder was the winner of the 1982 AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research, and the recipient of academic awards and research grants.

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