Thursday, 11 May 2017


It is active social engagement that makes us human

Image result for "Two Worlds of Childhood"

Jonathan Tudge, writing on the hundredth anniversary of the birth or Urie Bronfenbrenner –

Almost any internet site that appears when typing “Bronfenbrenner’s theory” into the search engine will reveal images of concentric rings and information about context, as though context is all that’s important. Child development textbooks make the same mistake. Even scholars who state that they are using Bronfenbrenner’s theory in their research are likely to treat it as one that primarily focuses on context. Yes, context is important; Federal and State policies should be designed to help families and children move out of poverty. However, changing the overarching context is not sufficient.

As Bronfenbrenner loved to point out throughout his life, it is the active engagement of individuals (children, parents, teachers, community members) in the course of activities with others, over time, that makes human beings truly human.

That's what it's all about.

And by the way, Urie Bronenbrenner's little Cold War book Two Worlds of Childhood: US and USSR, remains by far the best introduction to the the role of upbringing, and specifically to A. S Makarenko's influence in creating a transformative group upbringing (and within this a transformative group pedagogy). For those concerned with practice over theory, this book is a powerful pointer to what Urie Bronfenbrenner was all about.

It is widely and inexpensively available in the second-hand book system:


Brofenbrenner, U. (various editions) Two Worlds of Childhood: US and USSR, Penguin and others, various dates

Tudge, J. Celebrating 100 years of Urie Bronfenbrenner, OUP Blog: Academic insights for the thinking world, 29 April  

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