This major new textbook by Jaan Valsiner focuses on the interface between cultural psychology and developmental psychology. Intended for students from undergraduate level upwards, the book provides a wide-ranging overview of the cultural perspective on human development, with illustrations from pre-natal development to adulthood. A key feature is the broad coverage of theoretical and methodological issues which have relevance to this truly interdisciplinary field of enquiry encompassing developmental psychology, cultural anthropology and comparative sociology. The text is organized into five coherent parts: Part 1: Developmental theory and methodology; Part 2: Analysis of environments for human development Part 3:
Chapter 4: Culture and Development
Culture and Development
Human psychological development is cultural in its nature. When claims like this are made, the need to be explicit about the meaning of the word ‘culture’ becomes crucial. ‘Culture’ is used in so many ways in contemporary society at large (for example, talk about ‘multiculturalism’ in the United States) and in the social sciences that it is on the verge of losing its meaning. Of course, this happens most often when a particular concept becomes a target for symbolic power re-negotiation between different institutions.
There is a certain irony in too wide a use of scientific terms - these become used so widely that they lose their value. If all human conduct is repeatedly declared to be cultural (which it undoubtedly ...