Rock and a Soft Place

Because it’s a stretch for me to think (or write) about anything much other
than qualifying exams, I have only the following
Urie Bronfenbrenner
excerpt to share tonight along with a re-run of an old

Scrape 1.03

There exists a second body of scholarly work in which external
environmental contexts are described in considerable detail and their impact
on the course of development graphically traced. Such investigations are
carried our primarily in the field of anthropology and to some extent in
social work, social psychiatry, clinical psychology, and sociology. But the
descriptive material in these studies is heavily anecdotal and the
interpretation of causal influences highly subjective and inferential. Here we
encounter what I view as an unfortunate and unnecessary schism in contemporary
studies of human development. Especially in recent years, research in this
sphere has pursued a divided course, each tangential to genuine scientific
progress. To corrupt a modern metaphor, we risk being caught between a rock
and a soft place. The rock is rigor, and the soft place relevance. The
emphasis on rigor has led to experiments that are elegantly designed but often
limited in scope. The limitation derives from the fact that many of these
experiments involve situations that are unfamiliar, artificial, and
short-lived, and call for unusual behaviors that are difficult to generalize
to other settings. From this perspective, it can be said that much of
developmental psychology, as it now exists, is the science of the strange
behavior of children in strange situations with strange adults for the
briefest periods of time
. (18)

How does the exam reading garden grow this October 22? I
twiddled with the calculator for a brief minute this morning and figured that
I’ve read 130 of the 170 items on my lists. Some of those reading
encounters are from a few months ago. Or more (during coursework). I have what
I’d describe as good notes on ~80 of the 130 pieces. I meet with my
major exam examiners on Wednesday,
and I’m still clinging to the plan of sitting the exams starting Dec. 1. The
upcoming five weeks: sort of like entering the fourth quarter of a close contest
with no timeouts.

1 Comment

  1. A casual reminder: don’t forget that sometimes you just need to chuck one out of bounds to stop the clock.

    Except that one.

    No, not that one, either.

    Aw hell. Never mind.


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