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May 29 , 2011

Critical Theories of Psychological Development


Something instructive occurred in the process of entitling the present collection. Both editor and publisher sought a simple and succinct rubric for the various pieces of work. But they rapidly and reluctantly reached the consensus that, by either intellectual or marketing criteria, the inser­ tion of the adjective "psychological" to qualify the noun "development" was a communicative necessity. Much to the chagrin of the develop­ mental psychologist, the term development still connotes-to the world at large as well as the general community of publishers, librarians, and computer archivists-the modernization of nation states. Inside and outside the university, I find that, when asked, "What are you in­ terested in?" I am not at liberty to reply, "The concept of development," without being absorbed immediately into a discussion of Third World studies. The approach of the present volume should be taken as an exhortation to psychologists to take the genealogy of "development'' seriously. The history of the discipline is not so different from the histo­ ry of the word and, as we shall discover, the concern with developmen­ tal progress cannot easily be separated from the urge for dominion. This volume presents a selection from the recent critical scholarship on psychological development. The emphasis is on rethinking the field of developmental psychology at the level of theory.
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