Seeking contacts

Markku Leskinen (MLESKINE@DODO.JYU.FI)
Sat, 11 May 1996 13:46:48 EET+200

I would like to find a contact to researchers who are trying to
understand family life and child rearing practices within your
own culture. I'm trained in special education and my research
interest is enculturation of children with disabilities. I have
learned - unfortunately quite recently - that educators can, and
they should, learn a lot from anthropologists when explaining
children's developmental outcomes.

My general anthropological framework is an ecocultural theory
developed by Ron Gallimore, Tom Weisner, Barbara Keogh, Cindy
Bernheimer, and others in UCLA. Their key term is everyday
routine of the family, which should be at least partially
satisfactory compromise between goals, demands, and resources
available, and it should be sustainable from day to day. The
theory stresses that the activity settings of the family mediate
cultural knowledge to the child (vygotskian view on child

I believe that child's disability could be a transactional risk
factor that may bias parents' natural/cultural child rearing
practices which finally generate unwanted developmental outcomes
(e.g. helplessness). Equally well disability (interpretation of
it) may bias others' behavioral patterns when interacting with
the child. It is clear that all developmental outcomes depend on
transactions between child's developmental potential and the
quality of his or her rearing environment. The central questions
is that how can we identify early enough and prevent those
transactional patterns which may put children with disabilities
at risk to get secondary conditions.

Anthropologists have adopted such general terms as "cultural
model", "cultural schema" or "cultural script" to describe codes
under observable behaviors. Unfortunately these terms are too
general, I believe, for my purposes. Recently I find a framework
called "anticipatory interactive planning" (AIP) [Goody, E.H.
(Ed.)(1995). Social intelligence and interaction. New York:
Cambridge University Press]. I think that AIP is useful for my
purposes too. Is somebody applying AIP view on disability
related issues? If you are, I would like to know more about your

I appreciate all comments concerning enculturation, disability,
or AIP issues.

Markku Leskinen, EdD
University of Jyvaskyla