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Building Character and Culture.

Building Character and Culture

Pat Duffy Hutcheon stresses the importance of culture in human development, along with our collective responsibility for the direction in which that culture evolves. From the perspective of an evolutionary-systems model, she explains the ongoing interaction between nature and nurture, while identifying the devastating consequences of allowing nurture to occur in the absence of sound scientific analysis and proactive intervention, guided by universally applicable values and reliable knowledge.

Hutcheon proceeds from an exploration of humans as creators and creatures of culture to a consideration of the key role of agents of socialization in cognitive development and character formation. Culture is presented as a hierarchy of nesting systems feeding into the socialization process from birth to death-beginning with the subcultures of the family, school, and peer group which are, in turn, influenced by their relationship to larger, enveloping systems. The most worrisome forms of the latter are identified as "the culture of violence"-that terrifying product of our modern electronic media; the destructive mirror images of the cultures of affluence and poverty; the incompatible cultures of pluralism and tribalism; and the culture of fantasy, with its seductive appeal of simplistic certainties in response to the threat of wholesale social breakdown. Hutcheon's message is far from pessimistic, however, in that the analyses of current problems are clearly seen to point the way to practical solutions.

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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1999
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