In an article titled “Attachment and Culture (citation below),” Heidi Keller exposes attachment theory’s Western, middle-class assumptions. She argues:
… the definition of attachment in mainstream attachment research are in line with the conception of psychological autonomy, adaptive for Western middle-class, but deviate from the cultural values of many non-Western and mainly rural ecosocial environments.
Keller shows how attachment theory, particularly research that follows on the heels of John Bowlby’s original theory and Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Procedure, assumes the most formative attachment relationship occurs between a mother and her infant. (For a further discussion of Bowlby’s and Ainsworth’s work, see my post, Let There Be Love!) But Keller points out that the primacy of the mother-infant bond for attachment may only be the norm “in Western middle-class families which compose less than 5% of the world’s population.”
In most cultures and socioeconomic groups, limited