Winner of the William James Book Award
Winner of the Eleanor Maccoby Book Award
“A landmark in our understanding of human development.”
—Paul Harris, author of Trusting What You’re Told
“Magisterial…Makes an impressive argument that most distinctly human traits are established early in childhood and that the general chronology in which these traits appear can…be identified.”
—Wall Street Journal
Virtually all theories of how humans have become such a distinctive species focus on evolution. Becoming Human looks instead to development and reveals how those things that make us unique are constructed during the first seven years of a child’s life.
In this groundbreaking work, Michael Tomasello draws from three decades of experimental research with chimpanzees, bonobos, and children to propose a new framework for psychological growth between birth and seven years of age. He identifies eight pathways that differentiate humans from their primate relatives: social cognition, communication, cultural learning, cooperative thinking, collaboration, prosociality, social norms, and moral identity. In each of these, great apes possess rudimentary abilities, but the maturation of humans’ evolved capacities for shared intentionality transform these abilities into uniquely human cognition and sociality.
“How does human psychological growth run in the first seven years, in particular how does it instill ‘culture’ in us? …Most of all, how does the capacity for shared intentionality and self-regulation evolve in people? This is a very thoughtful and also important book.”
—Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
“Theoretically daring and experimentally ingenious, Becoming Human squarely tackles the abiding question of what makes us human.”
“Destined to become a classic. Anyone who is interested in cognitive science, child development, human evolution, or comparative psychology should read this book.”
In her evocative ethnographic study, Body Language, Kimberly Lau traces the multiple ways in which the success of an innovative fitness program illuminates what identity means to its Black female clientele and how their group interaction provides a new perspective on feminist theories of identity politics—especially regarding the significance of identity to political activism and social change.
Sisters in Shape, Inc., Fitness Consultants (SIS), a Philadelphia company, promotes balance in physical, mental, and spiritual health. Its program goes beyond workouts, as it educates and motivates women to make health and fitness a priority. Discussing the obstacles at home and the importance of the group's solidarity to their ability to stay focused on their goals, the women speak to the ways in which their commitment to reshaping their bodies is a commitment to an alternative future.
Body Language shows how the group's explorations of black women's identity open new possibilities for identity-based claims to recognition, justice, and social change.
Researchers in child development often study children in isolation--apart from the environmental influences that shape, nurture, or harm them. In Children of Social Worlds, leading social scientists show how much is lost by this approach. Their underlying assumption is that children's psychological development can be understood only in the context of the social worlds in which they grow up and that the disciplinary boundaries of traditional psychology must be expanded. This book offers insights from scholars in a variety of disciplines--anthropology, education, linguistics, economics, medicine, and law, in addition to psychology. The result is a wide-angle perspective on child development based on some of the best research in the field.
The authors look particularly at broad trends and patterns, addressing such issues as the effect of institutions on family life, the changing roles of parents, cross-generational effects on development, the status of children in the legal system, schooling and learning, gender differences, the acquisition of communication skills, and the psychological impact of the nuclear threat. Chapters on cultural and historical definitions of the family add depth to their argument. Included, too, are discussions of emotional development and psychoanalytic theory, topics that are receiving increasing attention. The authors also reflect on the directions that research is likely to take in the future.
This well-balanced, closely integrated volume is full of innovative ideas and is written in a style that will be accessible to both specialists and students. As an incisive and informed evaluation of the field, it is sure to become an essential resource for psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, social policy analysts--all who are concerned with human development in its social context.
Winner, Section on the Sociology of Emotions Outstanding Recent Contribution (Book) Award, American Sociological Association, 2016
Charles Horton Cooley Award for Recent Book, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2017
Best Publication Award, Section on Body and Embodiment, American Sociological Association (ASA), 2018
The Color Of Love reveals the power of racial hierarchies to infiltrate our most intimate relationships. Delving far deeper than previous sociologists have into the black Brazilian experience, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman examines the relationship between racialization and the emotional life of a family. Based on interviews and a sixteen-month ethnography of ten working-class Brazilian families, this provocative work sheds light on how families simultaneously resist and reproduce racial hierarchies. Examining race and gender, Hordge-Freeman illustrates the privileges of whiteness by revealing how those with “blacker” features often experience material and emotional hardships. From parental ties, to sibling interactions, to extended family and romantic relationships, the chapters chart new territory by revealing the connection between proximity to whiteness and the distribution of affection within families.
Hordge-Freeman also explores how black Brazilian families, particularly mothers, rely on diverse strategies that reproduce, negotiate, and resist racism. She frames efforts to modify racial features as sometimes reflecting internalized racism, and at other times as responding to material and emotional considerations. Contextualizing their strategies within broader narratives of the African diaspora, she examines how Salvador’s inhabitants perceive the history of the slave trade itself in a city that is referred to as the “blackest” in Brazil. She argues that racial hierarchies may orchestrate family relationships in ways that reflect and reproduce racial inequality, but black Brazilian families actively negotiate these hierarchies to assert their citizenship and humanity.
Ramirez’s ethnography revolves around the Paiute American activist Laverne Roberts’s notion of the “hub,” a space that allows for the creation of a sense of belonging away from a geographic center. Ramirez describes “hub-making” activities in Silicon Valley, including sweat lodge ceremonies, powwows, and American Indian Alliance meetings, gatherings at which urban Indians reinforce bonds of social belonging and forge intertribal alliances. She examines the struggle of the Muwekma Ohlone, a tribe aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay area, to maintain a sense of community without a land base and to be recognized as a tribe by the federal government. She considers the crucial role of Native women within urban indigenous communities; a 2004 meeting in which Native Americans from Mexico and the United States discussed cross-border indigenous rights activism; and the ways that young Native Americans in Silicon Valley experience race and ethnicity, especially in relation to the area’s large Chicano community. A unique and important exploration of diaspora, transnationalism, identity, belonging, and community, Native Hubs is intended for scholars and activists alike.
Meaningful places offer a vital counterbalance to the forces of globalization and sameness that are overtaking our world, and are an essential element in the search for solutions to current sustainability challenges. In Native to Nowhere, author Tim Beatley draws on extensive research and travel to communities across North America and Europe to offer a practical examination of the concepts of place and place-building in contemporary life. Tim Beatley reviews the many current challenges to place, considers trends and factors that have undermined place and place commitments, and discusses in detail a number of innovative ideas and compelling visions for strengthening place.
Native to Nowhere brings together a wide range of new ideas and insights about sustainability and community, and introduces readers to a host of innovative projects and initiatives. Native to Nowhere is a compelling source of information and ideas for anyone seeking to resist place homogenization and build upon the unique qualities of their local environment and community.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, “hysteria” was a medical or psychiatric diagnosis applied primarily to women. In fact, the term itself comes from the Greek, meaning “wandering womb.” We have since learned, however, that this diagnosis evolved from certain assumptions about women’s social roles and mental characteristics, and is no longer in use.
The modern equivalent of hysteria, however, may be borderline personality disorder, defined as “a pervasive pattern of instability of self-image, interpersonal relationships, and mood, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” This diagnosis is applied to women so much more often than to men that feminists have begun to raise important questions about the social, cultural, and even the medical assumptions underlying this “illness.” Women are said to be “unstable” when they may be trying to reconcile often contradictory and conflicting social expectations.
In Women and Borderline Personality Disorder, Janet Wirth-Cauchon presents a feminist cultural analysis of the notions of “unstable” selfhood found in case narratives of women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. This exploration of contemporary post-Freudian psychoanalytic notions of the self as they apply to women’s identity conflicts is an important contribution to the literature on social constructions of mental illness in women and feminist critiques of psychiatry in general.
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