Michael Rynkiewich is one of the leading experts in anthropology, the science of the study of man and his existence in natural and cultural environments, and missiology, the science of the mission and the church. Until this book, Rynkiewich’s writing was notably found in two exceptionally great articles appearing in 2002 and 2003. The book Soul, Self, and Society: A Postmodern Anthropology for Mission in a Postcolonial World is a new vision of anthropology, the concept of culture in different nations, and research in the field of sociology.
The author begins the chapter with the definition of the concept of culture. He highlights its importance in the study of anthropology, as he believes that in order to understand any people, you need to look at it through the prism of culture. However, he explains that it is difficult to do this because the culture is not static and is constantly changing. Further, the author reveals the concept of culture through the stages of human development. According to the book, the concept of culture determines how a person perceives the world, relates to various things, and their moral principles. The chapter describes in detail the impact of historical, environmental, and social perspectives. According to the text, a person grows up in a certain society from an early age and forms his character and behavior according to this society. He cites a study comparing the attitudes towards the sexuality of girls from Somalia and the United States. As a result of the experiment, it turned out that Somali girls have a freer attitude to intimate life (Rynkiewich, 2012). Also, the author of the book examines society from the side of acquired statuses by a person. He explains that during his life and his development, a person changes several social levels. Next, the author describes the influence of social statuses on cultural change. At the end of the section, it is summed up that personality development in different cultures will always remain an open question. Moreover, Rynkiewich explains in detail the meaning of simplex and complex roles. Social roles in different societies were investigated, and it was concluded that they are different everywhere. Further, he represents the influence of such concepts as honor, shame, sin, and guilt on the development of the people. So, he cites the example of a study by Ruth Benedict. Japan is a society of honor and shame, and the United States is more characterized by a community of sin and guilt (Rynkiewich, 2012). According to the chapter, a person’s development varies depending on the society in which he grew up. At the end of the text, he reveals the topic of self-presentation. The author notes that people do not know what the real “I” looks like, and we look at all people through projections. As proof, he cites the example of the work of George Herbert Mead and Erving Goffman. In the end, the reader sees a summary that reflects the main aspects of the chapter.
By way of conclusion, the author of the book Michael Rynkiewich described in detail the theory of understanding peoples and human development in different cultures. Moreover, the author came to the conclusion that there is no way to understand everything about other people. That is why the main conclusion of the chapter is that people need to be looked at, taking into account historical, cultural, sociological, environmental perspectives.
Rynkiewich, Michael. (2012). Soul, Self, and Society: A Postmodern Anthropology for Mission in a Postcolonial World. Wipf and Stock Publishers.