Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships

Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships

Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships

Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships


"Culture in School Learning: Revealing the Deep Meaning introduces pre- and in-service teachers to the centrality of culture in school learning. Readers are engaged in a process of constructing an operational definition of culture that reveals its deep meaning in cognition and learning, and in applying a "reflective-interpretive-inquiry" approach to making linkages between students' cultural and experiential backgrounds and classroom instruction." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Gil G. Noam
Kurt W. Fischer

How do people develop in their important relationships? How do two people come together to form a new, close relationship? How do relationships affect or determine who we are and who we become? These questions should be central to the study of development, but most researchers, at least in English-language communities, neglect these questions of relationship and focus instead on analyses of individuals, as if people were basically alone, with occasional brushes with other people.

Contrary to this individualist assumption, people are fundamentally social, and relationships are part of the fabric of being human. Social relationships, especially close ones, form an essential foundation for the development of human beings, molding each person's mind and behavior. Many of the most important classic works in social science, including psychology and philosophy, have recognized the foundational role of relationships, analyzing the social foundations of intelligence, morality, language, emotion, culture -- all the many parts of being human (Baldwin, 1894; Benedict, 1934; A. Freud, 1936/1955; S. Freud, 1909/1955; Mead, 1934; Sullivan, 1953; Wittgenstein, 1953).

Unfortunately, the middle of the 20th century saw replacement of the centrality of relationships with solipsistic individualism, which reduced the social nature of human development (Chomsky, 1986; Kohlberg, 1969; Piaget, 1983; Skinner, 1938). Each mind contained its own language, its own morality, its own logic, its own reinforcement history; and relationships with other people were at best ancillary. If relationships remained important, it was only as objects of contemplation for individuals consid-

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