|305.23 LAN (Browse shelf)
|No cover image available
|305.0151 MIL Complex adaptive systems : an introduction to computational models of social life
|305.095479 MAN Upara
|305.23 DYE Queer aesthetics of childhood : asymmetries of innocence and the cultural politics of child development
|305.23 LAN Anthropology of childhood : cherubs, chattels, changelings
|305.23 QVO Palgrave handbook of childhood studies
|305.231 ROG Cultural nature of human development
|305.2350954 MEH Butterfly generation : a personal journey into the passions and follies of India's technicolour youth
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
The study of childhood has been dominated by the field of psychology but a robust tradition in anthropology, dating at least to Mead's (1928/1961) Coming of Age in Samoa, calls attention to the culture-bound flaw in psychology. Mead's work undermined the claim by psychologist G. Stanley Hall that stress was inevitably part of adolescence. Less well known was Malinowski's earlier critique of Freud's Oedipal theory based on fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands (Malinowski 1927/2012). Universal stage theories of cognitive development, such as that of Jean Piaget, met a similar fate when cross-cultural comparative studies demonstrated profound and unpredicted influences of culture and school attendance (Greenfield 1966; Lancy and Strathern 1981; Lancy 1983). Ochs and Schieffelin's (1984) analysis of adult-child language interaction also showed that ethnographic studies in non-Western societies could be used to "de-universalize" claims made in mainstream developmental psychology. Bob LeVine has taken on one of psychology's most sacred cows, mother-infant attachment (see also Scheper-Hughes 1987a). LeVine's observations of agrarian, East African Gusii parents suggest the possibility of weak attachment and consequent blighted 28 development. He finds that, while mothers respond promptly to their infant's distress signals, they ignore other vocalizations such as babbling. They rarely look at their infants or speak to them-even while breastfeeding. Later, when they do address their children, they use commands and threats rather than praise or interrogatives (LeVine 2004: 154, 156). In spite of these obvious signs of "pathology" on the part of Gusii mothers, LeVine and his colleagues-who have been studying Gusii villagers for decades-find no evidence of widespread emotional crippling. He argues that the problem of excessive claims of universality arises from the "child development field's dual identity as an ideological advocacy movement for the humane treatment of children and a scientific research endeavor seeking knowledge and understanding.