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ERIC Number: ED355132
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Childhood Diversity and the Fallacy of "The American Character": Class, Culture, and Child Rearing during the Second World War.
Tuttle, William M., Jr.
A teacher's observations on the marked contrast between the development and behavior of elementary school children in Tennessee's Cumberland plateau and their counterparts in New York City's Greenwich Village vividly demonstrate the regional basis that still accounts for a variety of cultural variations. And yet, place of upbringing is just one of several determinants that help shape children's lives in the United States. Psychologists also identify effects beginning with the mother-child dyad, and further include the child's relationship to parents, siblings, neighborhood, peers, and school. Popular culture also plays a role. Another psychological perspective examines the child's "ecology," or physical and social surroundings. Class influences child development in many ways, affecting children's play, sexuality, mental health, and other areas. A child's culture and socialization are intertwined, stressing the importance of race, ethnicity, and religion in childhood development. Anthropologists point to significant differences among U.S. children in such characteristics as breast feeding, sexual discipline, and attitudes about schooling. Since World War II, diversity, not uniformity, has marked the U.S. landscape. In the post World War II period, considerations of group diversity gave way to generalizations about "the American character." It was contended that childhood socialization processes could explain the society in general, and that a new "modal" or national personality had arrived. Analysis of the family as an institution reflecting class differences, population movements, and economic change was lacking. More recent waves of immigrants have taken more obvious pride in their cultural distinctiveness. (Contains 40 footnotes.) (LBG)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A