A Bakhtinian informed discursive psychology approach
This article addresses the socialization of emotion expression in infancy. It argues that in order to adequately understand emotion development we need to consider the appraisal of emotion expression through caregivers in mundane, everyday interactions. Drawing on sociocultural and Bakhtinian theorizing, it claims that caregivers’ appraisals of infants’ emotion expression are dialogically intertwined with broader speech genres or “communicative genres” of a community and the emotional-volitional tone and normative orientations embedded in them. It aims to investigate how communicative genres become visible in early caregiver–infant interactions. In a comparative study with 20 farming Cameroonian Nso mothers from Kikaikelaki and 20 German middle-class mothers from Muenster and their 3-month-old infants, we investigated discursive practices used by the mothers in reaction to the infants’ expression of negative affect. We found distinct patterns of coconstructing the interaction that point to different normative ori- entations and communicative genres that can be considered to be specific to the two sociocultural contexts. These communicative genres were found to be in line with broader cultural ethnotheories on good child care in these two communities found in previous studies and by other researchers.
Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2013, Vol 20, Issue 1, p. 39-61
Mother-infant interaction; Discursive Psychology; Culture; Human development; Bakhtin