Psychological autonomy and hierarchical relatedness as organizers of developmental pathways
|Biology; COGNITION; CONTINGENCY; CULTURE; developmental pathways; hierarchical relatedness; infancy; Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics; psychological autonomy; RETHINKING; SELF
|PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
The definition of self and others can be regarded as embodying the two dimensions of autonomy and relatedness. Autonomy and relatedness are two basic human needs and cultural constructs at the same time. This implies that they may be differently defined yet remain equally important. The respective understanding of autonomy and relatedness is socialized during the everyday experiences of daily life routines from birth on. In this paper, two developmental pathways are portrayed that emphasize different conceptions of autonomy and relatedness that are adaptive in two different environmental contexts with very different affordances and constraints. Western middle-class children are socialized towards psychological autonomy, i.e. the primacy of own intentions, wishes, individual preferences and emotions affording a definition of relatedness as psychological negotiable construct. Non-Western subsistence farmer children are socialized towards hierarchical relatedness, i.e. positioning oneself into the hierarchical structure of a communal system affording a definition of autonomy as action oriented, based on responsibility and obligations. Infancy can be regarded as a cultural lens through which to study the different socialization agendas. Parenting strategies that aim at supporting these different socialization goals in German and Euro-American parents on the one hand and Nso farmers from North Western Cameroon on the other hand are described. It is concluded that different pathways need to be considered in order to understand human psychology from a global perspective.
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