24th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development

July 10-14, 2016 | Vilnius, Lithuania

Jeanette Lawrence and Robert Serpell

Developing Children and Cultural Contexts: Places, Activities, People A Symposium in Honor of Jacqueline Goodnow

This symposium addresses how children's development is embedded in cultural contexts. Jacqueline Goodnow proposed substituting ‘cultural context' for ‘culture' to describe ways of thinking and acting that belong to and identify any group of people. This term avoids the confusing meanings given to ‘culture'. It avoids treating culture as monolithic offering only one way of thought and action in one direction of influence (from culture to child), or as always remote from children's experiences. It opens the way for exploring relations between developing persons and cultural contexts at different levels of social experience. It promotes analyses of distinctive, overlapping and colliding cultural contexts in terms of the configurations of places, activities and people involved. Building on Goodnow's legacy challenges developmentalists to rethink: (1) the nature of children's experiences of their cultural contexts; (2) the parts played by children in cultural life; and (3) the appropriate units of analysis for understanding the connections between developing children and their cultural contexts. Four papers address particular aspects of children's encounters with their cultural contexts and report analyses of children's developmental experiences in relation to places, people, and activities.

Robert Serpell focuses on the importance of place in cultural contexts, illustrating with issues arising in Zambia. Catherine Cooper focuses on the bridges and pipelines that allow young people to progress in cultural institutions. Barbara Rogoff focuses on children's participation and how they learn to collaborate in different cultural contexts. Jeanette Lawrence focuses on how relations between developing persons and cultural contexts are worked as meaning-making.