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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines a theoretical position on culture and human development grounded in cultural psychology’s theses of psychological diversity, mutual constitution, and linguistic mediation, as well as a view of identity and narrative linked to critical perspectives on language and power. Adolescence represents the life course moment of cultural reproduction or repudiation, as adolescents begin to form identities positioned in relation to existing narratives about the social order. A pronounced role for politics is proposed in this perspective, as cultural actors and narratives are not neutral in relation to existing power structures. Adolescent identity development is inherently political and assumes a role in the maintenance or challenge of a particular social order. Culture and human development are thus linked to politics in ways less frequently recognized in existing theoretical positions in cultural and developmental psychology. Empirical examples from research examining narrative identity development in distinct contexts illustrate the theoretical position.

Keywords: adolescence, culture, cultural psychology, politics, narrative, identity, language, development

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