This book explores and underlines the thesis that developmental psychology cannot function fruitfully without systematic historical scholarship. Scientific thinking not only depends on empirical-analytical research, but also requires self-reflection and critical thinking about the discipline’s foundations and history. The relevance of history was made especially clear in the writings of William Kessen, who analyzed how both children and child development are shaped "by the larger cultural forces of political maneuverings, practical economics, and implicit ideological commitments." As a corollary, he emphasized that the science of developmental psychology itself is culturally and historically shaped in significant ways. Discussing the implications of these insights in the book’s introduction, Koops and Kessel stress that we need a Historical Developmental Psychology. In the book’s following chapters, historians of childhood – Mintz, Stearns, Lassonde, Sandin, and Vicedo – demonstrate how conceptions of childhood vary across historical time and sociocultural space. These foundational variations are specified by these historians and by developmental psychologists – Harris and Keller – in the research domains of emotions, attachment, and parenting. This collection demonstrates the importance of bridging, both intellectually and institutionally, the gap between the research of historians, and both current and future research of developmental psychologists.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Developmental psychology without positivistic pretentions 1. Why history matters: Placing infant and child development in historical perspective 2. Children and emotions history 3. Emotion, imagination and the world’s furniture 4. Putting attachment in its place: Disciplinary and cultural contexts 5. Attachment histories and futures: reply to Vicedo’s ‘Putting attachment in its place’ 6. On the history, present, and future of attachment theory: Reply to Robbie Duschinsky, Marinus van IJzendoorn, Sarah Foster, Sophie Reijman & Francesca Lionetti, ‘Attachment histories and futures’ 7. Cultural and historical diversity in early relationship formation 8. Authority, disciplinary intimacy & parenting in middle-class America 9. The parent: A cultural invention. The politics of parenting
Willem Koops is Distinguished Professor of Foundations and History of Developmental Psychology and Education at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is the Editor of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD).
Frank Kessel is Emeritus Professor at The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA, where he was in the College of Education’s Early Childhood Multicultural Education Program and a Senior Fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy. Previously, he served for twelve years as Program Director of the Culture, Health and Human Development Program at the Social Science Research Council, New York City, USA. He is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the ISSBD.