Cultural Processes in Child Development

Cultural Processes in Child Development

Cultural Processes in Child Development

Cultural Processes in Child Development

Synopsis

The chapters of this volume were originally presented at the 29th Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology. The focus of this symposium on cultural processes in child development emerged from the growing recognition among those at the Institute of Child Development and many others in the field that more needs to be known about the processes linking individual development and the contexts in which it occurs, and that this is no longer a luxury but essential for good science and good policy in an increasingly interconnected and pluralistic world.

The chapter authors in this volume chronicle the challenges as well as the benefits of venturing out to the growing edge of theory and research concerned with how cultures and individuals interact to shape development. These investigators have wrested with the complexities of figuring out the assumptions, beliefs, values, and rules by which people conceptualize their lives and rear their children, organize their societies, and educate the next generation. As a whole, this volume reflects the beginnings of a "cultural renaissance" in developmental science.

Excerpt

The chapters of this volume were originally presented at the 29th Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology, held in October 1994 at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The focus of this symposium on cultural processes in child development emerged from the growing recognition among us at the Institute of Child Development and many others in the field that we need to know more about the processes linking individual development and the contexts in which it occurs, and that this is no longer a luxury but essential for good science and good policy in an increasingly interconnected and pluralistic world.

The importance of cultural processes has been acknowledged in child development texts for many years, but typically relegated to the chapter on theory, for example in discussions of Bronfenbrenner's (1979) classic ecocultural model, or the chapter on "culture" in the section on contexts of development. The segregation of culture to special sections echoed the status of cultural processes in the scientific disciplines concerned with child development. Now serious movement toward integration is apparent in a revival of interest in culture and child development (Harkness &Super, 1996; Jessor,Colby, &Shweder, 1996; Shweder et al., 1998; Tronick, 1992). The chapters in this volume reflect not only the surge of interest in cultural processes in developmental science, but also a search for deeper understanding of how culture "gets into" the individual child, shaping and being shaped by development.

The authors of this volume chronicle the challenges as well as the benefits of venturing out to the growing edge of theory and research concerned with how cultures and individuals interact to shape development. These investigators have wrestled with the complexities of figuring out the assumptions, beliefs, values, and rules by which peoples conceptualize their lives and rear their children, organize their societies, and educate the next generation. For example, they seek to understand whether it makes a difference where children sleep, whether a child holds minority status in a society, how to know when you are mistaking the universal for the . . .

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