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Palgrave Macmillan

Attachment Reconsidered

Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory

ISBN 9781137386717
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Culture, Mind and Society

Attachment theory has massively influenced contemporary psychology. While intended to be general, this western theory harbors a number of culturally biased assumptions and is devoted to decontextualized experimental procedures that fail to challenge this ethnocentrism. The chapters in this volume rethink attachment theory by examining it in the context of local cultural meanings, including the meanings of childrearing practices, the cultural models of virtue that shape those practices, and the translation of shared childhood experience into adult cultural understandings through developmental and psychodynamic processes. The current volume is not only a challenge to attachment theorists, but also an object lesson for psychologists of many other stripes.

Naomi Quinn is Professor Emerita of the Cultural Anthropology Department at Duke University, USA. Among her publications, she is co-author of A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning (1997) and editor of Finding Culture in Talk (2005). She is a past president of the Society for Psychological Anthropology and was awarded that society's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jeannette Mageo is Professor in the Anthropology Department at Washington State University, USA. She is author of Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders and Sexualities (1998) and Dreaming Culture: Meanings, Models, and Power in U.S. American Dreams (2011). She has published many articles and edited numerous volumes in psychological anthropology and Pacific ethnography.

Introduction: Situating and Summarizing Our Critiques; Naomi Quinn and Jeannette Mageo
1. The Puzzle of Attachment: Unscrambling Maturational and Cultural Contributions to the Development of Early Emotional Bonds; Suzanne Gaskins
2. Cooperative Care among the Hadza: Situating Multiple Attachment in Evolutionary Context; Alyssa N. Crittenden and Frank W. Marlowe
3. Cooperative Breeding and Attachment in Early Childhood: A Case Study Among the Aka Foragers; Courtney L. Meehan and Sean Hawks
4. 'It Takes a Village to Raise A Child': Attachment Theory and Multiple Childcare in Alor, Indonesia, and in North India; Susan Seymour
5. Childcare, Dependency, and Autonomy in a Sri Lankan Village: Enculturation of and through Attachment Relationships; Bambi L. Chapin
6. Attachment and Culture in Murik Society; Kathleen Barlow
7. Towards a Cultural Psychodynamics of Attachment; Jeannette Mageo
8. Adult Attachment Cross-Culturally: A Reanalysis of the Ifaluk Emotion Fago; Naomi Quinn
Afterword; Gilda A. Morelli and Paula Ivey Henry

Kathleen Barlow, Central Washington University, USA
Bambi L. Chapin, University of Maryland, USA
Alyssa Crittenden, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
Suzanne Gaskins, Northeastern Illinois University, USA
Sean Hawks, Washington State University, USA
Paula Ivey Henry, Harvard School of Public Health, USA
Frank W. Marlowe, University of Cambridge, UK
Courtney Meehan, Washington State University, USA
Gilda Morelli, Boston College, USA
Susan Seymour, Pitzer College, USA


"A richer, more contextualized rethinking of attachment theory. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries." - CHOICE
"Naomi Quinn and Jeannette Marie Mageo have guided the development of a stunning interdisciplinary book! Attachment Reconsidered challenges exclusive attention to the mother-infant bond in classical attachment theory and the universal applicability of a single measuring instrument, the Strange Situation. For example, systematic natural observation reveals that, for Aka children, it is the sensitivity of nonmaternal rather than maternal care that determines their degree of distress during separation from their mothers." - Patricia M. Greenfield, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
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