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God and Place as Attachment ‘Figures’: A Critical Examination

  • Joel Gruneau BrulinEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In the present chapter, place and God are critically examined as attachment figures. The chapter starts with a presentation of the foundations of attachment theory as presented by Bowlby and Ainsworth. The semantics of the word ‘attachment’ is discussed, followed by a theoretical discussion on the nature of an attachment relation based on three different approaches: an essentialist, functionalist and prototype. It is argued that an essentialist approach is too narrow since it does not account for differences due to cognitive maturation. A functionalist approach, on the other hand, is considered over-inclusive and fails to discriminate between objects that provide security and attachment figures. The author thus favours a prototype approach based on Wittgenstein’s idea of family resemblance within categories and argues that God could be seen as a symbolic, or non-corporeal attachment figure. With regard to places, the author concludes that, even though they can provide security, it’s questionable whether they should be considered as attachment objects. The author also stresses the importance of both theoretical stringency and well-controlled empirical studies when applying a new concept within a theoretical framework.

Keywords

Attachment theory Attachment to God Place attachment Essentialism Functionalism Prototype relationship Critical examination 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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