Studying Human Development in Global Systems

By Colette Daiute.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The inheritors of contemporary global processes are children; yet, the integration of global and developmental studies is long overdue. Global studies scholars sometimes mention psychological consequences, such as “political subjectivities” (Sassen, 2008), “global imaginaries” (Vigh, 2009), and “personal histories adjust[ing] to the histories of all places” (Brook, 2009). Scholars of human development, on the other hand, rarely consider globalization processes, in part because they assume that changes across the first decades of life occur against stable backgrounds, focusing, for example, on identity rather than activity in context, as would be appropriate in this global era. An appropriate extension of developmental psychology is to link global studies and developmental theories, as presented in this article drawing on research with the generation growing up during and after the crisis across the Western Balkans. The goal is to demonstrate that geo-political disruptions are usefully studied as manifestations of contemporary global processes rather than as localized and temporary interruptions of norms. By integrating the concepts of the “global in the local” (Sassen, 2008) and the “global imaginary” (Vigh, 2009) with the developmental concepts of the “interdependent development of individuals and society” and “cultural tools (Vygotsky, 1978), this article presents a research design and findings focusing on child/youth development in the activity of narrating social issues, in this case conflict, to understand effects of political-economic instabilities in children’s lives. The inquiry offers evidence that narratives of everyday life can be collective child-society practices and units of analysis.

Keywords: Human Development, Globalization, Armed Conflict, Research Methods, Empirical Study

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.221-234. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 764.409KB).

Dr. Colette Daiute

Professor and Program Head, Developmental Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, New York, USA

Colette Daiute is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Ph.D. Program in Developmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Daiute has published widely on social development, international issues in child and youth development, uses of literacy and technology, and qualitative research methods. Colette Daiute’s most recent book publication is Human Development and Political Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Her previous books include Writing and Computers (1985), The Development of Literacy through Social Interaction (1993), Narrative Analysis: Studying the Development of Individuals in Society (Sage Publications, 2004, co-editor Lightfoot), and International Perspectives on Youth Conflict and Development (Oxford University Press, 2006, co-editors Beykont, Higson-Smith, & Nucci). Daiute has received numerous research grant awards from organizations including the United States Institute of Peace, the Spencer Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Council of Teachers of English, Harvard University, and the U.S. government. She has also been invited to lecture across the United States as well as internationally, most recently at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, University of Warwick (UK), the University of Zagreb (Croatia), the University of Belgrade (Serbia), and the University of Manizales (Colombia).

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