Socioemotional Development Across Cultures: New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Number 81
September 1998, Jossey-Bass
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There is a growing consensus among social scientists that childhood is socially and historically constructed, partly putting to rest the concerns of sociologists and anthropologists about the fallacies of psychological reductionism. Behavioral scientists have been increasingly mindful of the influence of contextual or environmental variables on human behavior, which has led to new formulations of culture or context. These formulations view culture or context as constitutive of everyday practice in interactive environments, not simply as independent, dependent, intervening, or extraneous variables. No longer merely a constellation of ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that bind a group of people together, culture is increasingly understood as culture or context in practice. Theoretical models applicable to populations around the world have been offered, especially for parenting influences on cognitive development, as research on sociocultural contexts has opened new avenues for studying development across cultures. Inclusion of culture in the study of cognitive development has had a limited influence on the study of socioemotional development across cultures. The research on social and emotional capacities related to self and others has remained broadly Western in perspective. The aim of this collection of papers is to diversify the research on socioemotional development across cultures, offering new theoretical and empirical observations based on fieldwork from around the world. This is the 81st issue of the quarterly journal New Directions for Child Development.