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In: Culture and Human Development: An Introduction

Chapter 9: Newborn and Infant Development: The Cultural-Ecological Niche and its Social Functions

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Newborn and Infant Development: The Cultural-Ecological Niche and its Social Functions
Newborn and infant development: The cultural-ecological niche and its social functions

The arrival of the newborn in the physical world shared with his or her kinship group does not automatically equate with the arrival in the sociocultural world. That latter arrival can be denied on collective-cultural grounds (as in the case of socially accepted or prescribed infanticide), or delayed until the child proves itself to be viable. The ‘cultural birth’ of the baby may take place either before actual delivery (as in the case of people who believe that babies are babies from conception onwards), or even years after the child has been around, as an infant, toddler or small child.

All this sociocultural organization of ...

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