Editorial: Agency and human development in times of social change

Rainer K. Silbereisen, Heinrich Best, Claudia M. Haase
2007 International Journal of Psychology  
This selection of papers deals, broadly speaking, with the role of social change in human development. Put in other words, these papers investigate the impact of contextual dynamics on human adaptation, a prime topic of all life-span psychology. They were written by two psychologists and two sociologists-by training, we should add, as readers will easily find out that the approaches and methods taken are interdisciplinary in nature. The papers are special in many regards. The foremost
more » ... foremost speciality probably pertains to the outcome variables studied-occupational, and sometimes more specifically economic, attainment and mobility. This is obviously a rather circumscribed domain of behaviour, but one of utmost importance in two respects. First, occupational attainment and mobility represent pivots of adult socialization that branch out to virtually all aspects of psychosocial development and are influenced by the contextual constraints people live with, such as the prosperity of the economic situation. The latter leads us directly to the second aspect: The phenomena of social change addressed in the papers are alike in that they have a profound effect on the economic opportunities available to individuals, which shape and reshape the trajectories of adult occupational achievements. Social change as addressed here refers to relatively lasting transformations of societal features, such as social structures and institutions, norms, values, cultural products, and symbols (Calhoun, 1992) . As this broad conceptualization already signifies, probably no single approach in # 2007 International Union of Psychological Science
doi:10.1080/00207590600991310 fatcat:6oqbdtdou5bstdq5klhmuc3s2i