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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces The Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, and its hallmark “cultural-developmental approach” to scholarship. The handbook provides a comprehensive synopsis of theory and research on life course development. Experts from disciplines such as anthropology, education, family studies, neuroscience, psychology and sociology integrate findings from cultures around the world, including a focus on historical changes and globalization. The 43 chapters showcase the burgeoning interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges universal and cultural perspectives on human development. This “cultural-developmental approach” is a multifaceted and flexible way to conceptualize theory and research that is in step with the global realities of human development in the 21st century. This chapter includes a description of how the cultural-developmental approach conceptualizes: 1) the entity of analysis, 2) the scope and meanings of concepts, and 3) the nature of theoretical frameworks. Examples to illustrate the argument are drawn from the handbook chapters.

Keywords: cultural-developmental approach, human development, culture, interdisciplinary, theory, anthropology, education, family studies, neuroscience, psychology, sociology

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