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The Cultural Nature of AttachmentContextualizing Relationships and Development$
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Heidi Keller and Kim A. Bard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036900

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036900.001.0001

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The Strange Situation of the Ethological Theory of Attachment

The Strange Situation of the Ethological Theory of Attachment

A Historical Perspective

(p.13) 2 The Strange Situation of the Ethological Theory of Attachment
The Cultural Nature of Attachment

Marga Vicedo

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the history of some challenges to John Bowlby’s and Mary Ainsworth’s ethological attachment theory (EAT). Bowlby and Ainsworth argued that the mother-infant relationship is a natural dyad designed by evolution in which the instinctual responses of one party activate instinctual responses in the other, and that secure attachment is an adaptation. This chapter focuses on EAT’s two fundamental tenets: the universality of attachment patterns and the biological foundations of the attachment system. It shows that several scholars have challenged those tenets over the years and argues that attachment researchers have not addressed those challenges successfully.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Margaret Mead, Ethological Attachment Theory, child rearing, Strange Situation, Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA)

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