First Find Your Child a Good Mother: The Construction of Self in Two African Communities

By Paul Riesman | Go to book overview

THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS

Carol Trosset

First Find Your Child a Good Mother has several distinctive features that give it the potential to make major contributions to the development of psychological anthropology. By simultaneously examining two different communities within the same cultural milieu, it addresses the problem of situational comparability that habitually plagues both culture-and-personality and cross-cultural psychology. By showing in detail how theories were examined and developed as part of the ethnographic process, it adds to our understanding of the role of theory in the study of both social and psychological processes. In addition, this grounded quality of Paul Riesman's new theory makes it possible to infer and work with many of his concepts even though the book is incomplete. He states in chapter 8 that his ultimate objective is "to build on this case study to develop a more general theory that would describe the relations between self, personality, and society for all situations." It is impossible even to attempt the reconstruction of that intended final chapter. Instead, my purpose here is to situate his work in psychological anthropology and to reflect briefly on the implications of the theory he was developing.

Since contemporary psychological anthropology is somewhat fragmented in its approaches and its foci, it may be helpful to deal

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First Find Your Child a Good Mother: The Construction of Self in Two African Communities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vi
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • PROLOGUE BURKINA FASO, 1974-76: A PERSONAL MEMOIR xiii
  • REFLEXIVITY IN HUMANISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY 1
  • I - Introduction 8
  • 2 - Global Fulani Society 14
  • 3 - Economy 30
  • 4 - What Life is All About 43
  • 5 - Infancy and Early Childhood 105
  • 6 - Later Childhood 130
  • 7 - Child Development in Fulani Ethnopsychology 160
  • 8 - Self, Identity, and Personality 184
  • 9 - Conclusion 196
  • Theoretical Implications 224
  • Notes 231
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 237
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