Cultural spaces and resources

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten

Attachment theory sometimes seems to be everywhere, and yet it has few centres of focus, let alone cultural spaces, that explain, organise or further its popularity. The good side of that is that it shows how much the continued growth and vitality of the tradition are due to the power of its concepts, rather than to any degree of marketing, however understated. The bad side is that everyone can use the words of attachment theory – sometimes wildly incorrectly; that when there are controversies there is nobody to decide, or even to organise a debate about what is going on and how the situation should be handled.

The Bowlby Centre in London, UK is one of very few institutions substantially devoted to attachment theory, with the annual Bowlby Conferences and the internationally read Attachment Journal. Other than that it is mostly influential practitioners or researchers in attachment theory who, if they are based at a university, probably have a wider influence on the curriculum and on how others present related subjects.

This may be true of Regensburg University in Germany with the Grossmanns, Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich with Karl-Heinz Brisch, Leiden University in the Netherlands with Marinus van IJzendoorn. In the United States there is the Washington School of Psychiatry with its Attachment and Human Development Centre, the journal Attachment and Human Development, and Mauricio Cortina. The University of Virginia still honours the memory of Mary Ainsworth, and has several scholars who are based there.