There are many ways to draw the line between order and chaos. By far the simplest one, however, would be to imagine that the links between all objects and phenomena are removed. What one will get will be chaos (Hayles, 1991). The truth of the matter is that every single object or phenomenon in the objective reality is somehow connected to several other objects or phenomena, whether directly or with the help of a specific mediator.
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Offering the theoretical foil for the given idea, methodological relationalism helps define the place that a specific object or phenomenon takes in the universe. In his article Interpersonal relationships and relationship dominance: An analysis based on methodological relationalism.
Ho attempts at proving that Asian psychology in general and methodological relationalism, in particular, is based on the study of people’s common social behavior patterns rather than on the analysis of the behavioral patterns of the Asian society. Though the author also refers to cultural contrasts, the focus of the study is the analysis of social interactions within any cultural context.
Ho also offers a unique construction of methodological relationalism. Ho means to “explicate methodological relationalism as a general framework for the analysis of human thought and action, informed by Asian views reflecting the omnipresence of self-other relations in all social life” (Ho, 1998, 3).
Therefore, Ho restricts the possibilities of methodological relationalism to outlining the key factors that enhance people’s behavior, contribute to the development of specific behavioral patterns and influence the mechanisms of the decision-making process in people’s lives.
However, the deciding point at which one can see clearly that Ho’s interpretation of the meaning and purpose of methodological relationalism is authentic comes when the author announces that he uses the given theoretical foil for analyzing interpersonal relationships (Ho, 1998, 3-4).
According to Ho, the theory of methodological relationalism is also applicable in a multicultural context: “Next, cultural contrasts are explored, with reference to:
- the formation of relationships,
- cultural roots of how interpersonal relationships are defined in myths and legends, and
- the dominance of specific relationships in different cultures” (Ho, 1998, 4).
Also, Ho offers an interesting idea concerning the dominance of specific relationships in different cultures. According to Ho, “Cultural definition plays a role in governing not only the formation but also the termination of relationships” (Ho, 1998, 9).
The means mentioned above that the ways of conduct that are established traditionally in a specific country define the patterns of behavior of the members of the given society and, therefore, presuppose that specific relationships between its members are encouraged.
Ho’s research, therefore, is hardly groundbreaking, yet it offers an interesting perspective on people’s behavioral patterns. Also, it is essential to stress that Ho manages to overcome such obstacles as the Asian cultural staples, proving that the Asian philosophy provides universal postulates that solve the mysteries of human nature and the human condition.
With the help of methodological relationalism, one is able to cognize the ways in which people behave and develop, since the given teaching helps understand the role of an individual within a specific society, evaluate the significance of social relationships and use “the methodology employed to study the phenomenon or its conceptualization”, as Ho defines it (Ho, 1998, 3), efficiently.
Hayles, N. K. (1991). Chaos and order: Complex dynamics in literature and science. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Ho, D. Y. F. (1998). Interpersonal relationships and relationship dominance: An analysis based on methodological relationalism. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 1(1), 1-16.