This paper considers the contribution of cultural factors to infant development in different societal contexts which can promote either independence or a sense of belonging. The means by which cultural expectations are communicated from parent to baby is explored in terms of the positive and negative projective identifications which can help or hinder development. Material from infant observation and other sources is used to illustrate the main points of the paper. \ud 1 This paper was originally given at a conference ‘La normale complessita del venire al mondo’ in Modena, Italy, September 2006
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