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The Socialization of Social Trust: Cultural Pluralism in Understanding Attachment and Trust in Children

The Socialization of Social Trust: Cultural Pluralism in Understanding Attachment and Trust in Children

Chapter:
(p.135) Eight The Socialization of Social Trust: Cultural Pluralism in Understanding Attachment and Trust in Children
Source:
Universalism without Uniformity
Author(s):
Thomas S. Weisner
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226501710.003.0009

Attachment systems have universal features (the attachment-sensitive period in children and the stress-buffering roles of privileged caretakers), but with enormous diversity, not uniformity, in their contexts, practices, cultural meanings, and outcomes. First, many learning mechanisms have evolved for children to use to learn about safety and security in their environment and who can reduce distress, not only the attachment sensitive period. Second, exclusive attachment and care by a single maternal caregiver is unlikely to have been selected for in past environments. The likely alternative then and still today would be multiple, socially distributed care, including sibling caretaking. Third, the methods used to describe, measure, and assess attachment are very narrowly defined and bracket out context, meaning and diversity out where these should be foregrounded. Finally, there is an inevitable moral valence when using terms such as secure attachment, sensitive parenting, or attuned caregiving and behaviors. Parents are attuned to their cultural learning environment, their family system, and the kind of person they hope to shape, not only to that individual child at hand at a given moment. Children learn how to appropriately feel, show and receive security, trust and social competence in diverse ways around the world.

Keywords:   attachment systems, stress-buffering, cultural learning environment, multiple caretaking, attunement, sensitivity, socialization for personhood

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