Faculty Book: Katherine Nelson
Young Minds in Social Worlds: Experience, Meaning and Memory
(Harvard University Press, 2007)
Katherine Nelson re-centers developmental psychology with a revived emphasis on development and change, rather than foundations and continuity. A child is always part of a social world, yet the child's experience is private. So, Nelson argues, we must study children in the context of the relationships, interactive language, and culture of their everyday lives. She draws philosophically from pragmatism and phenomenology, and empirically from a range of developmental research. Skeptical of work that focuses on presumed innate abilities and the close fit of child and adult forms of cognition, her dynamic framework takes into account whole systems developing over time, presenting a coherent account of social, cognitive, and linguistic development in the first five years of life. She argues that a child's entrance into the community of minds is a slow, gradual process with enormous consequences for child development, and the adults that they become. Katherine Nelson is a distinguished professor emerita of psychology at The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: FEB 15, 2007