Anthropological Perspectives on Social Development

Montgomery, Heather (2022). Anthropological Perspectives on Social Development. In: Smith, Peter K. and Hart, Craig H. eds. The Wiley‐Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development. Third Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 135–149.



This chapter discusses different “anthropologies of childhood” and looks at how they have both contributed to understandings of children's social development – and problematized them. It then looks at the tensions between them, as well as areas of contemporary and future overlap, and at the benefits of combining multiple perspectives to create vibrant and holistic studies of childhood which move beyond disciplinary backgrounds. Evolutionary anthropologists have emphasized the importance of integrating understandings of cross-cultural variation alongside biological studies of growth and development, ecology, evolution, and adaptation: arguing that childhood as a developmental phase is both biologically based and culturally diverse and that this diversity is ecologically adaptive. Child-centered anthropology is seen as a corrective to the previous marginalization of children within anthropology and an inversion of power relationships between adult and child and between researcher and researched.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions