Putting “Culture” into Cultural Psychology: Anthropology's Role in the Development of Bruner's Cultural Psychology

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Abstract

Abstract I present an intellectual history of the impact of cultural anthropology on Jerome Bruner's cultural psychology and discuss the influence of Bruner's role during the 1960s in the creation of an elementary school science curriculum based on the study of anthropology, Man, A Course of Study (MACOS). Funded by the National Science Foundation, the MACOS curriculum became highly politicized in a national science textbook controversy in the 1970s. I argue that during the 1960s, Bruner had three key experiences that influenced his understanding of the role that culture plays in learning and cognition and that thus grounded his vision of cultural psychology. These include his role in the development of the MACOS curriculum, his involvement with the federally funded Head Start preschool program, and the research conducted by several of his graduate students in Africa and the Arctic. [psychological anthropology, history of anthropology, science curricula, cultural psychology, MACOS]

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