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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines distinct ways in which political conflict may become associated with identity construction. In the context of politically framed events involving violence and injustice, youth must grapple with the meanings of these experiences while protecting themselves from some of their devastating implications. Their varied attempts at meaning-making can thus be viewed as understandable responses to the threats associated with these experiences and as being adaptive in light of the unique circumstances afforded by the specific sociopolitical features. Also important, youths’ ways of grappling with war experiences implicate identity work, with unique consequences for their enduring understandings of themselves. The authors’ analysis suggests that, in grappling with these experiences, youths may initiate identity pathways that, while protective in the short-term, can undermine identity development in the long run. Thus, thinking about identity processes in relation to how youths make sense of their war experiences can illuminate the developmental sequelae of political conflict.

Keywords: Identity development, political conflict, war, narrative, risk and resilience

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