Positioning Children in Developmental Analyses of Cultural Conflicts

Jeanette A. Lawrence
2016 Human Development  
In this commentary on intervention studies in times and situations of war, violence and cultural conflict, I focus on the need to appropriately position children in specific situations. This involves acknowledging their presence and their rights, recognizing their participation, and incorporating their activities with the sociocultural and ecological environments. To theoretically position children in cultural conflict, I draw on Gottlieb's [1991] concept of "coaction" to analyze relations
more » ... lyze relations between agentic children and culture in a system of coactions. I propose the coacting system as an appropriate unit of analysis for understanding children's development and as a basis for intervention and policy following violence and cultural conflict. The papers in this special issue demand that developmental science attend to children's presence, participation, and activities as the basis for intervention and research. How does developmental science appropriately position children who are caught up in wars and violence, and what does an appropriate positioning indicate for developmental interventions and policies to support children's recovery after violence and cultural conflict? To appropriately position children involves identifying their place, their relationships, and their rights in a situation -where they fit, what they do, and how what they do is connected to other people, culture, and the physical ecology. A recent UNICEF report [2014] identified many forms of violence against children occurring across the globe. Only 8% of children live in countries prohibiting
doi:10.1159/000448231 fatcat:7oyb4kqfp5cxzk4iezwfl25tui