Intended as supplemental reading in courses on theories of development, this book augments traditional core texts by providing students with more depth on about two dozen recent and emerging theories that have appeared over the past 20 years. This period has seen a decline of the traditional "grand" theories that attempt to apply to all people all the time in favor of "micro theories" that focus more on individual differences, so a book like this actually points the way toward the future rather than dryly reviewing the past. In addition, the author inspects the changing ways in which the concept of "theory" itself has been interpreted during this period, and he concludes with a chapter suggesting future directions.
Part I: Extensions of Tradition
As suggested in the historical review of development models in Chapter 1, rarely is a theory an entirely new invention. In most instances, theories trace their origins to one or more earlier schemes. In this way, recent theories become extensions of existing traditions.
The dual purpose of this introduction to Part I is (a) to describe five alternative conceptions of the term theory that have emerged over past decades and (b) to identify the types of theories included in Chapters 2 through 8.
Evolving Concepts of Theory
As time passes, not only are new versions of theory introduced, but new conceptions of the term theory also emerge, with those conceptions influencing the portrayals of human development that subsequently appear. The aim of the ...