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How Do People Make Meaning? A Methodological Dialogue Between Social Anthropology and Developmental Psychology

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Part of the Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences book series (THHSS)

Abstract

Our empirical research with children aims to examine the knowledge-building processes that take place during everyday practices. Taking a creative interdisciplinary approach, we have built a theoretical framework that combines anthropology and developmental psychology; the ethnographic method is thus combined with clinical interviews in a mutually enriching experience. The resulting integral approach addresses the question of how people make meaning in their social settings, a formidable object of research that requires a robust methodology. In order to reveal the strengths and limitations of our methodological approach, we will draw from an ongoing investigation in Buenos Aires, Argentina that examines what children (8–18 years old) living in a squatter building know about the state and government. The focus herein is on not the sequential process by which political notions are constructed but in the meanings that are assigned to specific categories as part of a shared experience in a context where politics and political relations are highly important.

Keywords

  • Ethnography
  • Clinical interviews
  • Children
  • Knowledge-building processes
  • Everyday practices

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_6
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Notes

  1. 1.

    This investigation is the topic of the doctoral thesis of Paula Shabel, “ʽEstamos luchando por lo nuestroʼ. Construcciones de conocimiento sobre la política de niños y niñas en organizaciones sociales” (“Fighting for What Is Ours:” The Construction of Knowledge about Politics Among Children in Social Organizations).

  2. 2.

    The names of both the organizations and individuals have been changed to protect their anonymity. The age of the children is next to their names between brakets.

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Shabel, P.N., Palacios, M.G. (2022). How Do People Make Meaning? A Methodological Dialogue Between Social Anthropology and Developmental Psychology. In: Watzlawik, M., Salden, S. (eds) Courageous Methods in Cultural Psychology. Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_6

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