Cultural spaces of psychological knowledge: Parent-child-relationships from the perspective of German and Turkish parents

Funded by: Mercator Research Center Ruhr (Mercur)

It is obvious that parents wish for a successful development of their child. But what is consider “good” parental stimulation and support is culturally divers and contested. Psychology has released numerous recommendations for dealing with children – from the promotion of single competences through specific teaching to the right kind and amount of love. How parents of young children pick up this knowledge and how it influences their perspective of the relationship with their child is investigated in this research project. How psychological knowledge is changed by being appropriated in different cultural contexts is studied by comparing German and Turkish parents.
Special emphasis is put on attachment theory and its popularization. Attachment theory has been developed in so-called “individualist” cultures – but it stresses the interdependence of human beings and their dependency on social relations. This collectivist feature of attachment theory seems to be very interesting and attractive to parents in the “West”. Is this an indicator for an often unfulfilled longing for connectivity? And which hybrid forms of knowledge emerge when attachment theory travels to so-called “collectivist” cultures, such as Turkey?

1.    Consolidation of cooperations in Turkey and the Ruhr area, Germany.
2.    Qualitative research
  a.    Interviews with parents in Turkey, qualitative, reconstructive analysis, comparison with material from Germany
  b.    Additional empirical material: Interviews with experts, blogs and webpages of parents in Turkey, guide books

Dr. Anna Sieben
Ayşe Yıldırır