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Challenges and strategies to study human development in the cultural contexts

Autore: Cynthia Lightfoot, Maria C.D.P. Lyra


ISBN: 978-88-65380-00-0  Pagine: 271  Formato: 17 x 24

This volume can be seen as a response to the need in the developmental sciences for methodological approaches that are appropriately sensitive to the perfusion of culture in human action and development. Research and theorizing in the last half century has taken a decided turn away from Cartesian-inspired formulations of individual development, and has attempted to move past reductionist methods of eliminating variation and diversity as obfuscating underlying (and presumably universal) processes of development (Valsiner, 2000). Owing much to the theoretical tradition of Lev Vygotsky, particularly as it has been elaborated in the cultural-developmental works of Jerome Bruner, Michael Cole, and Jaan Valsiner, an alternative view has eclipsed past formulations. There is now a consensual movement towards characterizations of the self and the social world as together comprising a whole “organic developing system” (Nelson, 2000), and broad agreement that life-course trajectories are inherently probabilistic and multiple rather than deterministic and universal. Although the sea change during the last half century towards issues of culture and diversity has dramatically altered the course of developmental research, the struggle to construct analytic tools, methods, and measures that cohere with the basic assumptions and theories of the modern era remains very much in evidence. As discussed by Valsiner (2006), achieving vertical consistencyand practices. These two perspectives – of self as moving towards a harmonious coordination with the broader sociocultural context, and self as inherently resistant to and creatively transforming cultural forms – are understood to represent different foci on what is generally agreed to be a unified and dynamic process through which social contexts are restructured as the thought and behavior of developing individuals are reorganized (Lightfoot, 1997). However, notwithstanding this consensual desire to merge both foci into a single, binocular view, there is a distinct lack of explicit theoretical models and, as importantly, ways of building new methods that enable the study of dynamic forms. or coherence between assumptions, theories, methods, data, and phenomena is as elusive as it is essential to valid knowledge construction. Contributors to this volume grapple seriously with the issue of vertical consistency, particularly as it is played out in two problematics that weigh heavily on their efforts to connect cultural and developmental processes: how to appropriately characterize and study the relationship between individuals and the sociocultural worlds in which they live; and how to bring into accord the structural/spatial and temporal features of development. We offer some brief comments below on the significance of these problematics for the purpose of providing a glimpse into the metatheoretical issues that frame the contributions to this volume. Developing vertical consistency with respect to characterizing and studying the relationship between individuals and the sociocultural worlds in which they live has been a perennial problem in developmental research. The lion’s share of culturally-sensitive research on human development tends to approach the nature of self-society relations in one of two ways. By one, the self is understood to develop through increasing approximations to the social order; by the other, the self is understood as a seat of change and innovation, indeed as an agent of social change. At issue is the conceptually conflicted relationship between the reproduction of and emancipation from cultural canonical forms.

€ 36,00


Culture, Development and the Problem of Vertical Consistency

1. Comunication Development and the Emergence of Self: Contributions of Dynamic Systems and Dialogism
2. Attachment in the Third Year of Life: A Relational and Dynamic Approach
3. Discovery and Construction: Uncovering Early Family-Infant Dynamics Through the Use of Observational Methodology
4. Social Interaction in Children with Autism: Theoretical and Methodological Issues
5. Commentary to Part I: The Time Dimension of Human Development in Cultural and Relational Contexts

PART II DEVELOPING NARRATIVES 6. Time as Constitutive of Meaning in Narratives
7. On Navigating the Chasm between Narrative and Essentialist Accounts of the Self
8. Commentary to Part II: Going beyond the Meaning Given: Meaning-making from a Developmental Perspective

9. Semiotic Articulation of Process and Content in a High School Science Activity:an integration of Three perspectives
10. Zones of Proximal Development as Fields for Communication and Dialogue
11. Arguing and Learning
12. Commentary to Part III: Strategies and Challenges for Studyng Human Development

Note sull'autore

Cynthia Lightfoot is Professor and head of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine. She received her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chaoel Hill. Her research focuses on the sociocultural development of adolescents, with special reference to their risk involvment and peer culture. Addressing adolescent risk-taking as a form of social participation which contributes to the development of delf and peer group identuty, she is particurarly interested in exploring the processes that connect shared activity and the development of cultural systems of meaning. She serves on the editorial board of Culture and Psychology, and is an active member of the board of directors of the Jean Piaget Society.

Maria C.D.P. Lyra is Professor of Psychology at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. She has been working in a research program that relies on the study of history and dynamics. She coordinates a research laboratory - LabCom - dedicated to study the process of communication in infancy using dynamic systemsand dialogical perspectives to explain the emergence of self in early ontogeny. She is co-editor of Dynamic Process Methodology in the Social and Developmental Sciences (Springer-Verlag, 2009).

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