Deconstructing Developmental Psychology analyses both the knowledge base and the cultural practices associated with developmental psychology. It provides a critical overview of modern developmental psychology, and is designed to accompany and comment on the standard textbooks. Erica Burman explores what is missing in these accounts as a consequence of their primary focus on the child', and argues that the selection of the child as the unit of development abstracts development from historical and socio-political conditions. Current developmental models are seen as fundamentally asocial, with the result that developmental psychology pathologises those individuals and groups who fail to meet its idealised models. The author shows how developmental psychology is a normalising discipline which presents homogenised descriptions of development and is unable to recognise or theorise differences except as inferiorities. Finally, Deconstructing Developmental Psychology draws attention to the functions developmental psychological knowledge plays in political and professional practices in education, welfare and the law.
Erica Burman is Senior Lecturer in Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Manchester Metropolitan University.