The Boyer Prize for Contributions to Psychoanalytic Anthropology is awarded annually to a book or article published in the preceding three years that addresses the psychodynamic process in a cultural context. By “psychodynamic process” we mean the implicit and often unconscious assumptions that shape emotions, relationships, dreams, and other aspects of subjective experience. By “cultural context” we mean the social world in which individuals are embedded and which is the usual focus of anthropological work. The Boyer prize seeks to encourage and to reward work that takes a psychodynamic approach to a cultural phenomenon, or an anthropological perspective on the psychodynamically oriented clinical context, or in some way integrates the theoretical or clinical insights of psychoanalysis with the traditional methods or subject matter of anthropology.
There is a preference for the award to be given to those who are members of the SPA, although this is not a requirement of the award.
Nominations should be emailed to John Borneman by July 1, 2016.
All award and selection committees abide by the SPA’s Conflict of Interest Statement and Recusal Policy.
Past Boyer Prize Winners
2015 P. Steven Sangren, "The Chinese Family as Instituted Family: Or, Rescuing Kinship Imaginaries from the 'Symbolic,'" Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19: 279-299, 2013.
2014 Tine Gammeltoft, "Toward an Anthropology of the Imaginary: Specters of Disability in Vietnam," Ethos 42(4): 153-174, 2014.
2013 John Borneman, "Daydreaming, Intimacy, and the Intersubjective Third in Fieldwork Encounters in Syria," American Ethnologist, 38(2): 234-248, 2011.
2012 Douglas Hollan, "On the Varieties and Particularities of Cultural Experience," Ethos, 40(1): 37-53, 2012.
2011 Kevin P. Groark. "Discourses of the Soul: The Negotiation of Personal Agency in Tzotzil Maya dream narrative," American Ethnologist 36(4): 705-721, 2009.
2010 Steven Parish. Subjectivity and Suffering in American Culture: Possible Selves, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
2009 Bambi Chapin, "Transforming Possession: Josephine and the Work of Culture," Ethos 36(2):220-245, 2008.
Naomi Quinn, "Universals of Child Rearing," Anthropological Theory 6(4): 387-405, 2005
2008 Rebecca Lester. Jesus in Our Wombs: Embodying Modernity in a Mexican Convent, University of California Press, 2005.
2007 Vincent Crapanzano. "The Scene: Shadowing the Real," Anthropological Theory 6(4): 387-405, 2006.
2006 no prize awarded
2005 no prize awarded
2004 Patricia Gherovici, The Puerto Rican Syndrome, Other Press, 2003
2003 Brian Keith Axel, "The Diasporic Imaginary," Public Culture 14(2): 411-428, 2002
2002 Drew Westen, "Beyond the Binary Opposition in Psychological Anthropology: Integrating Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science," in Carmella C. Moore and Holly F. Mathews, eds., The Psychology of Cultural Experience, pp. 21-47, Cambridge, 2001
2001 T. M. Luhrmann, Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry, Knopf, 2000
2000 Nancy Chodorow, The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture, Yale, 1999
1999 Jean Briggs, Inuit Morality Play: The Emotional Education of a Three-Year-Old, Yale, 1998
1998 Melford Spiro, Gender Ideology and Psychological Reality, Yale, 1997
1997 Allan Johnson and Douglas Price-Williams, Oedipus Ubiquitous, Stanford, 1996
Robert A. Paul, Moses and Civilization, Yale, 1996
1996 Vamik D. Volkan, "Totem and Taboo in Romania: A Psychopolitical Diagnosis." Journal of Mind and Human Interaction, 6(2), 1995. (Journal of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction)
1995 Suzette Heald, "Every Man a Hero: Oedipal Themes in Gisu Circumcision." In S. Heald and A. Deluz, eds., Anthropology and Psychoanalysis: An Encounter Through Culture, pp. 184-209, Routledge, 1994
1994 Anne Allison, Nightwork, Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club. Chicago, 1994
1993 no prize awarded
1992 Suzanne R. Kirshner, "Anglo-American Values in Post-Freudian Psychoanalysis." In David Spain, ed., Psychoanalytic Anthropology Fifty Years After Freud: Essays Marking the Fiftieth Anniversary of Freud's Death, pp. 162-197, Psyche Press, 1992
1991 Dan Forsyth, "Sibling Rivalry, Aesthetic Sensibility, and Social Structure in Genesis." Ethos 19(4):453-510, 1991
1990 Katherine T. Ewing, "The Illusion of Wholeness: 'Culture,' 'Self,' and the Experience of Inconsistency." Ethos 18(3):251-278 1990
1989 no prize awarded
1988 Waud Kracke, "Kagwahiv Mourning II: Ghosts, Grief, and Reminiscences." Ethos 16(2):209-222 1988
1987 Sudhir Kakar, "Psychotherapy and Culture: Healing in the Indian Tradition," in Merry I. White and Susan Pollack, eds., The Cultural Transition: Human Experience and Social Transformation in the Third World and Japan, pp. 9-23, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986
1986 Yoram Bilu, "The Taming of the Deviants and Beyond: an Analysis of Dybbuk Possession and Exorcism in Judaism" Psychoanalytic Study of Society 11:1-32, 1985