This talk explores the historical origins and cultural significance of attachment theory, a naturalistic paradigm that informs contemporary views of care-giving relationships in the West. I reconstruct the formation of this scientific paradigm against the genealogy of the social practices adopted for the rational governance of the family in the Anglo-American world. My reconstruction highlights the influence of social forces and political objectives on psychiatric inquiry. I track the re-workings of the psychoanalytic idea of an emotional-maternal bond within the investigative practices of expert communities, which have flourished on both sides of the Atlantic over the span of the twentieth century. I thus follow the transmutation of an originally intentional object into the explanatory construct of a naturalistic paradigm, while it was reconstructed with respect to pressing administrative objectives, available investigative techniques, and prevalent standards of validation.
The establishment of this naturalistic perspective in developmental science depended on the reduction of the meaning of a psychoanalytic concept by a neo-positivist methodology. I argue that this operationalist reduction was necessitated by a pragmatic shift in the normalizing techniques of Anglo-American psychiatry from their disciplinary origins in nineteenth-century asylum practice to the current procedures of risk-management, characteristic of late modernity. Highlighting the historical links between psychiatric normalization and the growth of the attachment paradigm, I construe the attachment concept as the discursive correlate of a political technology, which is constitutive of both specific knowledge practices and distinct modes of truth and subjectivity.
Bican Polat is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Tsinghua-Michigan Society of Fellows at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He received his joint-degree PhD in Anthropology and Intellectual History from Johns Hopkins University in 2016. He studies how psychiatric practices and knowledge systems intersect with politics, culture, and technological media, with a primary focus on the Anglo-American world during the twentieth century. His book project, The Attachment Paradigm: The Government of Parent-Child Relationships in Late Modernity, explores these dynamics in the context of the history of psychiatric ideas about the maternal bond, tracking the growth of investigative communities that have contributed to the formation of parent-child relationships as a medico-scientific specialty. Drawing on archival and ethnographic methods and focusing on expert knowledge practices, this project reconstructs the development of the attachment paradigm from its early origins in interwar psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the most recent approaches in behavioral neuroscience and cross-cultural psychology. His work received the support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Center for Advanced Media Studies and has appeared in publications including Parallax and Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.
时间: 2018年10月11日周四 12:20-13:20