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Ecological ThinkingThe Politics of Epistemic Location$
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Lorraine Code

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195159431

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195159438.001.0001

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The Child as Fact and Artifact

Ecological Thinking

Lorraine Code (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This is the first of three chapters that develop the conception of subjectivity on which the book’s argument relies. It shows that the model of developmental psychology, originating with Jean Piaget and persisting in Lawrence Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development, is embedded in assumptions about achieved rational mastery as the mark of moral and cognitive maturity. Not only does it overlook the part played by sociality and affect in child development, it pays scant attention to the constitutive role of situational factors — cultural, class, racial, gendered, sexual — in the production of human subjectivities. Taking as its point of departure Valerie Walkerdine’s critique of Piaget in The Mastery of Reason, and reading Walkerdine together with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remarks about “the child”, the chapter argues for an approach to developmentality that is socially and ecologically aware in its conception of subjectivity, sociality, citizenship, and of knowledge as a power-saturated social institution.

Keywords:   developmental psychology, Valerie Walkerdine, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein, subjectivity, knowledge, rational mastery, situational factors

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