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MUNDUS ET INFANS
AMES, ELINOR W.
<p>When in 1943 poet W.H. Auden attended the christening of his godchild, Wystan Auden Stevens, he brought with him a gift ( Miller, 1983 ). It was a poem entitled "Mundus et infans," the world and the infant ( Auden, 1945 ). In one sense, the two topics "world" and "infant" seem miles apart. The infant is usually conceptualized as a small biological being, valued for psychological study just because he or she is not much affected by the world, by experience, or by culture. But many writers in child psychology have impressed on us the idea that the child always exists within a culture, a culture that affects it and is affected by it. Kessen (1979) speaks of the child as "a cultural invention," and Bronfenbrenner (1977) has been very influential with his ecological approach to human development, which focuses on the accommodation between the growing human organism and the changing environments in which it grows. He has proposed that development should be considered within a series of systems, each nested within the next like a set of Russian dolls. The microsystem is the complex of relations between the developing person and environment in an immediate setting
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