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What's Wrong with the Poor?Psychiatry, Race, and the War on Poverty$
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Mical Raz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469608877

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469608884_Raz

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A Mother's Touch?

A Mother's Touch?

From Deprivation to Day Care

(p.10) Chapter One A Mother's Touch?
What's Wrong with the Poor?

Mical Raz

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how theories of sensory deprivation led to a reevaluation of the accepted psychological theory of maternal deprivation, as experts, including psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychoanalyst René Spitz, debated whether maternal care was unique or simply a form of environmental stimulation. It discloses that this tension between sensory and maternal deprivation was ultimately resolved through a class-specific interpretation of deprivation. It observes that children from middle-class homes were seen to be at risk from maternal deprivation when placed in day care facilities and separated from their presumably competent mothers, while day care for children from low-income and mostly minority families was seen to be therapeutic, ostensibly countering the sensory deprivation the children suffered in their less than adequate homes.

Keywords:   sensory deprivation, maternal deprivation, Mary Ainsworth, René, environmental stimulation, therapeutic

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