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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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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

Taking Culture Seriously

Taking Culture Seriously

A Pluralistic Approach to Attachment

(p.139) 6 Taking Culture Seriously
The Cultural Nature of Attachment

Gilda A. Morelli

Nandita Chaudhary

Alma Gottlieb

Heidi Keller

Marjorie Murray

Naomi Quinn

Mariano Rosabal-Coto

Gabriel Scheidecker

Akira Takada

Marga Vicedo

The MIT Press

This chapter presents an alternative view to classic attachment theory and research, arguing for systematic, ethnographically informed, approaches to the study of child development. It begins with the observation that the attachment relationships children develop are locally determined and insists that these features of attachment can only be captured through observing, talking with, and listening to local people as they go about living their lives, including caring for children. It reviews the profound ways in which child care around the world differs from the Western model, upon which attachment theory was founded and myriad recommendations have been derived. This worldwide account perspective of child care is profusely illustrated with ethnographic examples. Network theory is then discussed: from the full range of social networks to relational ones (i.e., smaller sets of individuals to whom children may become attached). The chapter considers attachment theorists’ resistance to the idea of multiple attachments, historically and still today. Discussion closes with a summary of the implications of our theoretical rethinking and the questions that remain.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, cultural context, multiple attachments, social network, relational theory, multiple caretakers, autonomy and relatedness

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