Human Development and Political Violence presents an innovative approach to research and practice with young people growing up in the context of political violence. Based on developmental theory, this book explains and illustrates how children and youth interact with environments defined by war, armed conflict, and the aftermath involving displacement, poverty, political instability, and personal loss. The case study for this inquiry was a research workshop in four countries of the former Yugoslavia, where youth aged 12 to 27 participated in activities designed to promote their development. The theory-based Dynamic Story-Telling by Youth workshop engaged participants as social historians and critics sharing their experiences via narratives, evaluations of society, letters to public officials, debates, and collaborative inquiries. Analyses of these youth perspectives augment archival materials and researcher field notes to offer insights about developmental strategies for dealing with the threats and opportunities of war and major political change.
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. She has published widely on social development, international issues in child and youth development, uses of literacy and technology, and qualitative research methods. Previous book publications include Writing and Computers (1985), The Development of Literacy through Social Interaction (1993), Narrative Analysis: Studying the Development of Individuals in Society (2004, co-editor C. Lightfoot), and International Perspectives on Youth Conflict and Development (2006, co-editors Z. Beykont, C. Higson-Smith, L. 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 internationally, most recently at the University of Warwick (UK), the University of Zagreb (Croatia), the University of Belgrade (Serbia), and the University of Manizales (Colombia).
"Colette Daiute's interviews with adolescents who lived through the tragic smash-up of Yugoslavia are gripping. The story that emerges is a mix of stout courage and deep uncertainty, the tale of a generation growing up in a world that they must reconstruct, despite their doubts. Yet, there runs through it what might well be called a persistent sense of a possible future."
-Jerome Bruner, New York University
"An innovative approach to listening to youth in the context of political violence, this is essential reading for policy makers, researchers, and development workers on how to effectively tap the potential of youth and to ensure their positive contribution to societies emerging from the ravages of political conflict."
-Victor Karunan, Chief, Adolescent Development and Participation, UNICEF
"This is an extraordinary, powerful book that contributes to our deeper understanding of the complexities and dynamism of young people's experiences in the context of dramatic social changes, which put their well-being and development at risk. It challenges some common approaches to the explanation of the impact of political violence, militant ideologies and armed conflicts on the way young people conceptualise their environments and develop their potentials. Drawing from the cultural-historical theory that explains human development in terms of daily interactions between the individual and the society, the author engages in an in-depth inquiry into the meaning-making of young people living in the violent context. Highly recommended for educational researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, a thorough analysis of these narratives proves the importance of taking into account the voices of young people in all aspects of education."
-Vedrana Spajic-Vrkas, University of Zagreb, Croatia
"Colette Daiute has written a moving, insightful, and inspirational account of her interventions and research with children who have suffered from political violence. She offers concrete examples of how to use writing to help children process their experiences and move forward in positive ways. Our hope for breaking cycles of violence lies in healing the next generation. This book is a must-read for those interested in human rights and children's rights."
-Sarah Warshauer Freedman, University of California, Berkeley
"...the author offers a well-written exposition of the richly informative narratives that emerged through her system of discourse analysis... readers should be prepared to discover important scientific findings in lengthy sections of text, a format different from what researchers would expect... Recommended..."
-P. Flattau, Institute for Defense Analyses, CHOICE
"...Human Development and Political Violence is a deeply inspiring work... By consulting the next generation and affording them a role in public affairs, Daiute's approach may offer a solution for peaceful resolutions of societal conflict from youths whose ideas touch one's heart."
-Sherry Lynn Hatcher, PsycCRITIQUES
"....constitute groundbreaking examples of studies that move away from the more
usual research focus on trauma and listen - really listen - to adolescents' emerging
and evolving complicated voices.... Colette Daiute's  volume demonstrates how an adolescent's abilities to draw on multiple, alternative meanings to make sense of his/her world may act as a basic capacity that underlies resilience.... Many readers will also appreciate the weight that Daiute places on adolescents' own narrative accounts and stories - the compelling voices of her young participants remained with us long after we had finished reading her book.... forward-looking.... make clear that young people's subjective interpretations of their own experiences provide a way to simultaneously understand both protective and maladaptive developmental processes and a rich glimpse into the wealth of information, both hopeful and heartbreaking, that can be derived from youths' own voices...."
-Holly E. Recchia, Concordia University and Cecilia Wainryb, University of Utah, Human Development