Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Editorial

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Editorial

Article excerpt

As you know by now, this is my last issue as editor of PPPJ. It is fitting therefore that this last issue be dedicated to my own field of anthropology. The papers presented here were delivered at a special symposium entitled "Anthropology and Infancy: The New Agenda" which was held at the 1992 annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco. The symposium was organized by Dr. Elizabeth H. Peters of the Florida State University and Dr. Judy H. Brink of Lock Haven University.

Anthropology is the study of the evolution and nature of the human species. Most anthropologists go to live in other societies and participate in the daily lives of people and come back to report their findings to us. Some anthropologists also study primate social behavior, because the primates are our closest living evolutionary relatives. Although anthropology considers itself as the science of culture and enculturation (how culture is learned by individuals), ethnographers on the whole have paid scant attention to infancy, much less the prenatal experiences of the people they live amongst. The good news is that concern with infancy is currently on the rise in ethnography, although infancy is still more often covered in the writings of crosscultural psychologists than ethnographers.

Even a casual brush with the anthropological literature leaves one with an impression of the amazing number of ways that a society's culture may impinge on the course and experience of pre- and perinatal life. Culture influences who may court and reproduce, who may conceive and how often, who will be the socially recognized parents and caretakers, and to which social group the child belongs. Custom dictates appropriate nutrition during and after pregnancy, the style of parturition followed, when feeding begins and how often it is allowed, when weaning occurs, which child will live or die, the value of multiple births, what work pregnant women can and cannot do, whether a fetus or infant is perceived as understanding language, and when a child is considered a human being and a member of the group. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.