Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Studium Generale

Universality without uniformity: Early childhood parenting across the globe

Date
14 March 2019
Time
Address
Lipsius
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
019

Do caregivers in non-Western communities adapt their behaviors to the needs of young children? This question reflects one of the most long-standing debates on the universality versus culture-specificity of caregiver–infant interactions in general and child-centered sensitive responsiveness to infants in particular. On one end of the discussion scholars argue that child-centered caregiving is a Western practice based on culture-specific interpretations of childhood and parenting, whereas on the other end of the discussion, researchers argue that such caregiving is universal and based on evolutionary factors favoring caregiver responsiveness to ensure child survival.
In this presentation, an integration of both points of view is presented, based on extensive observations of caregivers in the Philippines, the Republic of Congo, Mali, Kenya, and Peru. Video materials from these communities will be shown to illustrate the notion of universality without uniformity, i.e., the notion that the specific expression of child-centered caregiving can vary widely depending on the physical and social context, but can serve the same basic caregiving function that is universally relevant. 

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