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Destiny and Development: A Mayan Midwife and Town

Destiny and Development: A Mayan Midwife and Town

Hardback Child Development in Cultural Context

By (author) Barbara Rogoff

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 360 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 236mm x 25mm | 658g
  • Publication date: 5 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195319907
  • ISBN 13: 9780195319903
  • Sales rank: 1,094,027

Product description

Born with the destiny of becoming a Mayan sacred midwife, Chona Perez has carried on centuries-old traditional Indigenous American birth and healing practices over her 85 years. At the same time, Chona developed new approaches to the care of pregnancy, newborns, and mothers based on her own experience and ideas. In this way, Chona has contributed to both the cultural continuities and cultural changes of her town over the decades. In Destiny and Development, Barbara Rogoff illuminates how individuals worldwide build on cultural heritage from prior generations and at the same time create new ways of living. Throughout Chona's lifetime, her Guatemalan town has continued to use longstanding Mayan cultural practices, such as including children in a range of community activities and encouraging them to learn by observing and contributing. But the town has also transformed dramatically since the days of Chona's own childhood. For instance, although Chona's upbringing included no formal schooling, some of her grandchildren have gone on to attend university and earn scholarly degrees. The lives of Chona and her town provide extraordinary examples of how cultural practices are preserved even as they are adapted and modified. Destiny and Development is an engaging narrative of one remarkable person's life and the life of her community that blends psychology, anthropology, and history to reveal the integral role that culture plays in human development. With extensive photographs and accounts of Mayan family life, medical practices, birth, child development, and learning, Rogoff adeptly shows that we can better understand the role of culture in our lives by examining how people participate in cultural practices. This landmark book brings theory alive with fascinating ethnographic findings that advance our understanding of childhood, culture, and change.

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Author information

Barbara Rogoff is UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has been a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Kellogg Fellow, and Editor of Human Development. Her books Apprenticeship in Thinking (OUP, 1990), Learning Together (OUP, 2001), and The Cultural Nature of Human Development (OUP, 2003) have received awards from the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. Her current book, Destiny and Development, deepens the ideas presented in her previous books, building on her three decades of research on human development in a Mayan community in Guatemala.

Review quote

Developing Destinies: A Mayan Midwife and Town, a remarkable book, is many things at once: a memoir, a cultural history, a theory of knowledge construction, and a labor of love ... Developing Destinies is unusual for an academic book. The beautifully written narrative is highly accessible, even gripping. It is enriched by photos that span decades. The account is personal and moving, weaving in stories of the author's own evolution as a participant-observer and ethnographer along with her relationship with Chona. At the same time, it has very broad reach, illuminating some of the most profound themes of human development. The book truly is a must read for all with interests in development or culture. PsychCritiques Developing Destinies delivers a fascinating, real-life account whilst also bringing theory alive - an engrossing page-turner. The Psychologist

Table of contents

Chapter 1. Beginnings: Stability and change ; Chapter 2. Living culture, across generations ; Chapter 3. Meeting Chona and San Pedro ; Chapter 4. Paper with a mouth, recounting the destiny and development of an Iyoom and her community ; Chapter 5. Born to a spiritual calling, across generations: Cultural heritage and resistance ; Chapter 6. Childhood and where babies come from ; Chapter 7. A becoming young woman ; Chapter 8. Changing memories in changing practices ; Chapter 9. Entry and prominence in a sacred profession ; Chapter 10. Ripples across generations and nations in Mayan pregnancy and childbirth ; Chapter 11. Ripples across generations and nations in birth destinies and postnatal care ; Chapter 12. Ways of learning across times and places ; Chapter 13. Traditions and transformations ; References ; Endnotes