The Expression of Emotional Warmth: Ethnotheories of Rural and Urban Indian Mothers and Grandmothers

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Title: The Expression of Emotional Warmth: Ethnotheories of Rural and Urban Indian Mothers and Grandmothers
Authors: Abels, Monika
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Heidi Keller
Thesis referee: Dr. Nandita Chaudhary
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kriz
Abstract: In this thesis ethnotheories on the expression of emotional warmth towards babies were studied, considering socio-economic and cultural factors. It was proposed that the more relatedness is emphasized as a socialization goal the more emphasis is also put on the expression of emotional warmth. Furthermore, the modality, in which emotional warmth is perceived to be ideally expressed, was expected to be related to the extent the participants want to foster autonomy. Autonomy-fostering caregivers were expected to stress distal modes of expressing emotional warmth more, than less autonomy-fostering caregivers. These two hypotheses were tested with mothers (and grandmothers) of three-month-old children from Germany, USA, urban and rural India. The hypotheses were predominantly confirmed, though some methodological issues are reasons for concern. The applicability of the (Western) psychological theories on the expression of emotional warmth towards infants perceived by Indian caregivers was explored. The Indian caregivers ethnotheories matched the psychological theories fairly well. However, other concepts were also mentioned frequently. Therefore open-ended methods were used to study the indigenous concept of the Evil Eye . Some rural Indian mothers considered looking at the baby while breastfeeding, or praising the baby as a potential danger. Finally, the different caregivers roles as perceived by urban Indian mothers and rural Indian mothers and grandmothers were explored. The mother was seen as the most important caregiver for the expression of warmth towards an infant, though rural and urban caregivers disagreed about the reasons for her being special. Other (unspecified) family members were mentioned frequently. Fathers were perceived in different roles by urban and rural mothers, though they agreed on them being providers of vocal or verbal stimulation for the child. The mothers regarded the grandmothers as a source of advice and support in child-rearing matters.
Subject Keywords: Gujarat; Delhi; India; ethnotheories; mothers; grandmothers; babies; emotional warmth; socialization; culture
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2007
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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