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DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Introduction Social science doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It doesn’t spring from an absolute universe of “pure” inquiry and observa- tion. Instead it tends to hew closely to social anxieties— what Kagan calls “historical nodes of worry.” And these nodes of worry determine not only what social scientists study, but often enough, what results they find (because of the way their research is focused) and also, afterward, which of their findings are picked up by the media, and which ideas take hold and become popular with the public at large. —Judith Warner, 2005 P erhaps there is no subject that so perfectly qualifies for Jerome Kagan’s notion of “historical nodes of worry” as attachment theory (Kagan 1998). Often couched in articles about maternal employ- ment, parent-infant bonding, or the effects of child care programs on infants, the topic of what is best for babies and who should decide is one the public never tires of. It has been almost constantly in the public eye for over twenty-five years. In her 2005 New York Times best seller, Perfect Madness, Judith Warner talks at great length about attachment theory. Initially this was not her intent. Warner, a journalist—not an educator or a researcher of human development—sought to answer the question, “Why are mothers so full of ambivalence?” The question for Warner was both personal and perplexing. She spent her earliest years of “mothering” in France, where support structures and services that make the job feel less overwhelming are available to all new parents. In the United States, on the con- trary, mothers seem to carry huge burdens of guilt, anxiety, and ambivalence. Warner claims it wasn’t long after she returned to this country before she found herself caught up in the same spin of emo- tions. She set out to determine what this was all about. Her ques- tions and answers became Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL