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This Element compares the nature of childhood in four representative societies differing in their subsistence activities: bands of Australian hunter-gatherers, Tibetan nomadic pastoralists, peasants and farmers residing in Maya villages and towns, and South Korean students growing up in a digital information society. In addition, the Element traces a variety of intertwined global changes that have led to sharply reduced child mortality rates, shrinking family sizes, contested gender roles, increased marriage ages, long-term enrollment of children (especially girls in educational institutions), and the formation of 'glocal' identities.
During my graduate school and early career days in the 1970s and 1980s, cross-cultural and global psychology were of marginal concern to most American (and European) psychologists. For my part, however, I considered the American psychology of the day to be highly ethnocentric in nature, in part because I had traveled widely in Europe, Asia, and Africa. So it was with great interest that, in 1990, I picked up Berman's (1990) edited volume, Nebraska 's Symposium on Motivation 1989: Cross-cultural Perspectives. Among its prominent chapter authors, Çiğdem stood out as the only non-westerner (Kağıtçıbaşı 1990). As a developmentally oriented social psychologist, I found her systematic way of linking cross-culturally variable family systems to equally variable socialization practices and to social change both novel and convincing – and I still do.
Years later, I had the opportunity to meet Kağıtçıbaşı on a few occasions, such as the Twenty-sixth International Congress of Applied Psychology in Athens. This 2006 Congress was part of the ever-expanding movement to give psychology a global rather than merely Euro-American basis. Following this tradition, my chapter outlines the status and future prospects of psychology in some of Turkey's neighboring Arab countries. In these countries, a battle is now underway for the hearts and minds of their inhabitants, a battle that pits fundamentalist interpretations of Islam against the politically and culturally more liberal frameworks suggested by the forces of modernization.
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