2nd Edition

Child Development Theories and Critical Perspectives

By Rosalyn H. Shute, Phillip Slee Copyright 2015
    310 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    310 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Child Development: Theories and Critical Perspectives provides an engaging and perceptive overview of both well-established and recent theories in child and adolescent psychology. This unique summary of traditional scientific perspectives alongside critical post-modern thinking will provide readers with a sense of the historical development of different schools of thought. The authors also place theories of child development in philosophical and cultural contexts, explore links between them, and consider the implications of theory for practice in the light of the latest thinking and developments in implementation and translational science.

    Early chapters cover mainstream theories such as those of Piaget, Skinner, Freud, Maccoby and Vygotsky, whilst later chapters present interesting lesser-known theorists such as Sergei Rubinstein, and more recent influential theorists such as Esther Thelen. The book also addresses lifespan perspectives and systems theory, and describes the latest thinking in areas ranging from evolutionary theory and epigenetics, to feminism, the voice of the child and Indigenous theories.

    The new edition of Child Development has been extensively revised to include considerable recent advances in the field. As with the previous edition, the book has been written with the student in mind, and includes a number of useful pedagogical features including further reading, discussion questions, activities, and websites of interest.

    Child Development: Theories and Critical Perspectives will be essential reading for students on advanced courses in developmental psychology, education, social work and social policy, and the lucid style will also make it accessible to readers with little or no background in psychology.

    1. Ways of knowing about development  2. From Darwin to DNA: biologically-based theories of development  3. A rainbow is more than the sum of its colours: beginnings of organicism  4. The child as philosopher  5. From Oedipus to attachment: the Freudian legacy  6. Mechanism: the whole is equal to the sum of its parts  7. Dialecticism: the child developing in a social world  8. The historic event: contextualism  9. Sociocultural influences on development  10. Systems theories  11. Listening to different voices 1: feminism and developmental psychology 12. Listening to different voices 2: the voices of children  13. Towards theoretical integration  14. The theory-practice nexus  Appendix 1: Some historical milestone relevant for developmental psychology  Appendix 2: Discussion questions, activities and selected websites


    Rosalyn H. Shute is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, and Federation University, Ballarat, Australia. Her research expertise lies broadly in clinical child psychology and paediatric psychology/child health and wellbeing, and she is an experienced teacher of developmental psychology and clinical child/paediatric psychology.

    Phillip T. Slee is a Professor in Human Development in the School of Education at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. He is a trained teacher and registered psychologist. His main areas of interest include childhood bullying/aggression, conduct disorders, stress and teacher education, and he has a particular interest in the practical and policy implications of his research.

    ‘I whole-heartedly recommend this scholarly book. The authors provide a vibrant and enquiring overview of contemporary debates in developmental psychology, with inspirational coverage of such topics as the voice of the child and the families and communities in which children grow. The book is grounded in the authors’ deep understanding of fundamental theories and their willingness to relate these to practice. This book will give generations of students the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of child development in a multi-ethnic, ever-changing social context.’ – Helen Cowie, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK

    ‘The text is strikingly comprehensive – from historical approaches to post-modern interpretations, and with frequent citations from non-Western writing. Adept at linking various theoretical approaches, the authors include a very useful chapter on theoretical integration. A refreshing combination of theory and practice, the authors take a holistic approach, with theory serving as the underpinning for research, teaching and practice. Sophisticated and up-to-date – and highly recommended!’ – John D. Hogan, Department of Psychology, St. John's University, USA

    'I was pleased to hear that this book, one that I have used for a number of years in my graduate introductory child development course, has been updated and revised. The new edition accurately reflects advances in the integration and inseparability of heredity/environment, brain/behavior, and self/other. I am very much looking forward to using and learning more from it in the coming years'. – Richard Volpe, Department of Applied Psychology & Human Development, University of Toronto, Canada

    "(...) I enjoyed reading this book. Abstract and complex ideas are described in a clear and uncomplicated style, which makes it a very readable book that is detailed but not burdensome. I particularly liked the short stories, anecdotes, and poems, which clarified some of the more abstract ideas and issues. I wholeheartedly recommend this scholarly book to anyone who wants to have a comprehensive overview and critical discussion of the main theories that have been developed and an accurate picture of contemporary debates in child and adolescent psychology. As such, the book is a very good choice for a (graduate) introductory child development course." - Freek Bucx, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Journal of Family Theory & Review