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The Mischievous, the Naughty, and the Violent in a Taiwanese Village: Peer Aggression Narratives in Arthur P. Wolf's "Child Interview" (1959)

The Mischievous, the Naughty, and the Violent in a Taiwanese Village: Peer Aggression Narratives... <p>abstract:</p><p>This article brings to light a unique set of field notes on Taiwanese children&apos;s life collected by anthropologist Arthur P. Wolf (1958–1960). Designed as an improved replication of the classic Six Cultures Study of Child Socialization, Wolf&apos;s study was the first anthropological and mixed-methods research on ethnic Chinese children, marking a historically significant moment when Sinological anthropology first intersected with the anthropology of childhood. Based on a subset of Wolf&apos;s standardized interviews with seventy-nine children (ages 3–10), this article focuses on children&apos;s narratives about peer aggression. They distinguish serious forms of aggression from milder ones in perceived negativity, and they react differentially; these perceptions and reactions reflect important concerns and strategies in local socio-moral life, some of which diverge from adult ideologies. These findings highlight the role of children as active moral agents. Through analyzing children&apos;s voices of peer aggression, this article illuminates a dark side of moral development that would otherwise remain obscured in the historical literature of childhood: the mischievous, naughty, and even violent interactions among children. The article reveals the tensions and conflicts in children&apos;s interactions underlying the Chinese cultural value <i>he</i>, or social harmony. It also reveals a complex spectrum of reciprocity in children&apos;s understandings and adds an important theme, "negative reciprocity"—defined as responding to a negative action with a negative action—to the recent advocacy in anthropology for taking children seriously in understanding human morality.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review University of Hawai'I Press

The Mischievous, the Naughty, and the Violent in a Taiwanese Village: Peer Aggression Narratives in Arthur P. Wolf&apos;s "Child Interview" (1959)

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University
ISSN
2158-9666
eISSN
2158-9674

Abstract

<p>abstract:</p><p>This article brings to light a unique set of field notes on Taiwanese children&apos;s life collected by anthropologist Arthur P. Wolf (1958–1960). Designed as an improved replication of the classic Six Cultures Study of Child Socialization, Wolf&apos;s study was the first anthropological and mixed-methods research on ethnic Chinese children, marking a historically significant moment when Sinological anthropology first intersected with the anthropology of childhood. Based on a subset of Wolf&apos;s standardized interviews with seventy-nine children (ages 3–10), this article focuses on children&apos;s narratives about peer aggression. They distinguish serious forms of aggression from milder ones in perceived negativity, and they react differentially; these perceptions and reactions reflect important concerns and strategies in local socio-moral life, some of which diverge from adult ideologies. These findings highlight the role of children as active moral agents. Through analyzing children&apos;s voices of peer aggression, this article illuminates a dark side of moral development that would otherwise remain obscured in the historical literature of childhood: the mischievous, naughty, and even violent interactions among children. The article reveals the tensions and conflicts in children&apos;s interactions underlying the Chinese cultural value <i>he</i>, or social harmony. It also reveals a complex spectrum of reciprocity in children&apos;s understandings and adds an important theme, "negative reciprocity"—defined as responding to a negative action with a negative action—to the recent advocacy in anthropology for taking children seriously in understanding human morality.</p>

Journal

Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture ReviewUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 23, 2020

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