Placing Affect and Narrative in Developmental and Cultural Context: Comments on Miller et al.
Children's narratives can provide the substance for research into a wide variety of developmental issues. Narrative can be studied as a developing skill in its own right, as an indicator of other developing skills, as a sociocultural form to be acquired by children as part of their socialization, or as a tool an individual child applies to developmental issues. Until recently, psychologists have focused much of their research dealing with children's narrative on the cognitive and linguistic skills developed and demonstrated in the ways children talk about the past (e.g., Eisenberg, 1985; McCabe & Peterson, 1991; Pratt & MacKenzie-Keating, 1985; Sachs, 1983). Recent work by Peggy Miller and others, including Katherine Nelson (1989), moves our understanding of children's storytelling and of the issues to be considered in connection with their developing narrative skills beyond the cognitive and linguistic realm and into the realm of social and affective functions. Although this is familiar territory for anthropologists, for many psychologists it places narrative into new contexts, both socially and developmentally.