Babies and bathwaters: attachment, neuroscience, evolution and the left

Music, Graham (2019) Babies and bathwaters: attachment, neuroscience, evolution and the left. Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture (73). pp. 111-128. ISSN 1362-6620, Online ISSN: 1741-0797

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This article challenges thinkers and activists on the left who are over-suspicious of ideas heralding from disciplines such as interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, developmental psychology, and perhaps especially, evolutionary theory. Although scepticism is frequently warranted, especially as such discourses are often co-opted for neoliberal or far right ends, there is much in all of them that melds well with critiques of hegemonic social orders, providing potential fuel for those working for social change. Much work, for example that of Amy Cuddy, can be interpreted both conservatively and progressively. Work from within an attachment theory paradigm can play a crucial part in the battle of ideas: it has a huge amount to teach about how to create a more humane and egalitarian world, and in countering neoliberal beliefs that humans are innately primarily aggressive, competitive or selfish, or have selfish genes. The days are now over when the biological, psychological and the social need to be pitted against each other. Rather, they now have to be seen as mutually constituted. The brain is a social organ, embedded, embodied, enactive and extended, in large part a reflection of the social conditions in which it grows.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Neurobiology, Psychology, Science, Infants, Brain, Activism, Materialism, Developmental Psychology, Social Change, Families & Family Life, Altruism, Neurosciences, Attachment, Neoliberalism, Egalitarianism, Hegemony, Social Conditions
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Development
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Emotions, Affective Psychology > Attachment/Affectional Bonds
Families > Families - Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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