The purpose of this book is to explore meaningful integrations of developmental processes and functioning with conceptualizations of "context" -- a term traditionally denoting physical settings, social arenas, or perceptual or social backdrops in relation to a focal point. However, the study of context has taken a considerably more unique and vibrant form in recent years -- the term is becoming more than a substitute for background independent variables. Rather, the contributions of context to behavior, thought, feelings -- and vice versa -- are becoming central issues in many research domains.
This text is a collection of empirical and theoretical accounts for understanding context; its focus is on integrating the study of context with the science of developmental psychology. Although the authors work in many different areas of the field, and with different populations, they all converge on a central methodological/conceptual theme of contextualism, which is presented as the dynamic integration of intraindividual factors with environmental and social/environmental factors.
"…Cohen and Siegel are to be commended for collecting a range of serious and interesting chapters that represent varying approaches to the study of context and development. A sense of enthusiasm for the enterprise is evident throughout, and much of the work presented merits such optimism."
"…one of the most consistent presentations of contextual influences and development available. Each chapter is a serious attempt to integrate differing theoretical and empirical efforts. Students of development of all orientations will find a number of these papers useful to their own work and the rest as important additional perspectives."
—Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography
Contents: Part I:Introduction. R. Cohen, A.W. Siegel, A Context for Context: Toward an Analysis of Context and Development. A.C. Houts, The Contextualist Turn in Empirical Social Science: Epistemological Issues, Methodological Implications, and Adjusted Expectations. Part IIThe Actor in Context. A.C. Graesser, J.P. Magliano, Context and Cognition. M.A. Sell, Language and Context: Examining Links Between Pragmatics and Scripts. P.R. Costanzo, Morals, Mothers, and Memories: The Social Context of Developing Social Cognition. Part IIISocial and Cultural Interactions in Context. P.M. Greenfield, C.P. Childs, Developmental Continuity in Biocultural Context. R. Cohen, M.B. Summerville, C.K. Poag, S.W. Henggeler, A Contextual Analysis of Popularity in the Classroom. R.M. Lerner, J.G. Tubman, Developmental Contextualism and the Study of Early Adolescent Development. S.W. Henggeler, Multidimensional Causal Models of Delinquent Behavior and Their Implications for Treatment. Part IVContexts of Relationships and Physical Settings. P. Minuchin, When the Context Changes: A Consideration of Families in Transitional Periods. W.W. Hartup, B. Laurson, Relationships as Developmental Contexts. P. Schoggen, Ecological Psychology: One Approach to Development in Context. Part VConclusion. A.W. Siegel, R. Cohen, Why a House is Not a Home: Constructing Contexts for Development.