Children and the Contingency of Attachment

Rupert Stasch

in Society of Others

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780520256859
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943322 | DOI:
Children and the Contingency of Attachment

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This chapter is concerned with children and their relations with parents or other caring relatives. It explores a moment of futurity: the experience of children as temporal successors to parents' lives. A moment of sexual history is also examined. It then looks at the moment of birth itself, including (in the past) people's occasional contemplation of infanticide. It evaluates the time of child care and companionship in the present, and the creation of attachment. Children as social others are objects of a complex kind of intertemporal, intersubjective consciousness on the part of the parents. Korowai often disagreed over the fate of a particular newborn but they do not consider infanticide itself an immoral act. Korowai experience a social relation between parent and child as a corporeal condition. It is likely that the broad patterns of Korowai parent-child attachment are representative of people's approaches to social attachment at large.

Keywords: children; infanticide; child care; Korowai; parent-child attachment; newborn; sexual history; companionship

Chapter.  13678 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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