The Rationalization of Infancy

  • Adrienne E. Harris
Part of the Path in Psychology book series (PATH)


In this chapter I examine the impact of technological or instrumental rationality,considered as a worldview, as a cognitive style, and as a mode of inquiry, upon psychological studies of infancy and early childhood. This work joins a relatively new trend in psychology, more thoroughly developed in Europe than in North America (Buss, 1975; Richards, 1974; Sève, 1978; Shotter, 1974). This new tendency, for which the rubric dialectical psychology serves most aptly (Riegel, 1975, 1976; Wozniak, 1973), entails a critical reflection on all aspects of psychological knowledge, seeing as interrelated the growth, function, and dissemination of underlying interests in theory and in empirical research. This critical or hermeneutic approach treats theory and research in psychology as a text, susceptible to structural analyses both of the deep and surface meaning. More importantly, the psychological text is placed and interpreted within a countertext,that is, the historical and current social and structural conditions in which it is embedded. A binding assumption here is that the elements within and between text and countertext coexist in some complex and nontrivial relationship. The identification and analysis of these relationships is the task of a dialectical treatment.


Basic Book Instrumental Rationality Child Language Scientific Psychology Psychological Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrienne E. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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