Psychological Studies

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 185–192 | Cite as

Maintenance of Family Networks: Centrality of Peripheral Communication

  • Giuseppina MarsicoEmail author
  • Nandita Chaudhary
  • Jaan Valsiner
  • Maliina Lyberth
Target Article (with peer commentary)


Families are social units that expand in time (across generations) and space (as a geographically distributed sub-structures of wider kinship networks). Understanding of intergenerational family relations thus requires conceptualization of communication processes that take place within a small collective of persons linked with one another by a flexible social network. Within such networks, Peripheral Communication Patterns set the stage for direct everyday life activities within the family context. Peripheral Communication Patterns are conditions where one family network member (A) communicates manifestly with another member (B) with the aim of bringing the communicative message to the third member (C) who is present but is not explicitly designated as the manifest addressee of the intended message. Inclusion of physically non-present members of the family network (elders living elsewhere, deceased relatives, ancestors’ spirits, etc.) in efforts that use Peripheral Communication Patterns creates a highly redundant social context for human development over life course which is the basis for family members’ resilience during critical life events. Examples from the social contexts of Greenland, Italy and India will be analyzed to arrive at a general model of the role of peripheral communication as the core of intergenerational value transfer processes.


Peripheral communication Family networks Inter-generational relationships Communication strategies 



The preparation of this paper was supported by INSIDE Research Unit of the University of Luxembourg, and by Niels Bohr Professorship Centre of Cultural Psychology to the first author. The writing of this paper was facilitated by funding from the Brazilian Ministry of Education (CAPES/PVE), for a research visit to Salvador, Bahia, provided to the third author. The fourth author benefitted greatly from the funding by AAGE V. Jensens Fund that made it possible to participate in academic activities.


  1. Arcidiacono, F. (2013). Conversation in educational contexts: School at home and home at school. In G. Marsico, K. Komatsu, & A. Iannaccone (Eds.), Crossing Boundaries. Intercontextual dynamics between Family and School. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Arcidiacono, F., & Pontecorvo, C. (2009). Cultural practices in italian family conversations: verbal conflict between parents and preadolescents. European Journalof Psychology of Education, 24, 97–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chaudhary, N. (2004). Listening to culture: Constructing reality in everyday life. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Chaudhary, N. (2007). The family: Negotiating cultural values. In J. Valsiner & A. Rosa (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of social psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Chaudhary, N. (2009). Families and children in poverty: Objective definitions, subjective lives. In A. C. Bastos & E. P. Rabinovich (Eds.), Living in poverty: Developmental poetics of cultural lives. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Chaudhary, N. (2012). Negotiating with autonomy and relatedness: Dialogical processes in everyday lives of Indians. In H. H. Hermans & T. Geiser (Eds.), Handbook of Dialogical Self theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chaudhary, N., & Bhargava, P. (2006). Mamta: the transformation of meaning in everyday usage. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 40, 3. doi: 10.1177/006996670604000303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Desai, S. (2010). Mother pious lady: Making sense of everyday India. New Delhi: Harper.Google Scholar
  9. Iannaccone, A., & Marsico, G. (2007). La famiglia va a scuola. Discorsi e rituali di un incontro. Roma: Carocci.Google Scholar
  10. Lyberth, M. (2014). Development in a former “primitive” culture. Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Dialogical Self, Den Haag, August 20.Google Scholar
  11. Marsico, G., & Iannacone, A. (2012). The work of schooling. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of culture and psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Marsico, G., & Tateo, L. (Eds.).(forthcoming). Ordinary Things and their Extraordinary Meanings. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Rich, K. R. (2010). Dreaming in Hindi: Coming awake in another language. New Delhi: Tranquebar.Google Scholar
  14. Sinha, D., & Tripathi, R. C. (1994). Individualism in a collectivist culture: A case of coexistence of opposites. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, Ç. Kagitçibasi, S. C. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and applications (pp. 123–136). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Tateo, L. (2015). Continuity and discontinuity of the educational context: early leavers’ in-between life stories. In G. Marsico, M. V. Dazzani, M. Ristum, & A. C. Bastos (Eds.), Looking inside and viewing outside: Educational contexts through a cultural lens. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Valsiner, J. (1996). Modelling the functional social network of child care, and its structural change. Journal of Human and Environmental Sciences (Calcutta), Special Inaugural Volume, 2–21.Google Scholar
  17. Valsiner, J. (2014). Invitation to cultural psychology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Weisner, T. S., & Gallimore, R. (1977). My Brother’s Keeper: Child and Sibling Caretaking. Current Anthropology, 18, 169–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giuseppina Marsico
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nandita Chaudhary
    • 3
  • Jaan Valsiner
    • 4
    • 5
  • Maliina Lyberth
    • 4
  1. 1.Università di Salerno, ItalyFiscianoItaly
  2. 2.Universidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  3. 3.Lady Irwin CollegeUniversity of Delhi, IndiaNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Niels Bohr Professorship Centre for Cultural PsychologyAalborg UniversitetAalborgDenmark
  5. 5.Université du LuxembourgWalferdangeLuxembourg

Personalised recommendations