ERIC Number: EJ912636
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Identity as Burden or Benefit? Youth, Historical Narrative, and the Legacy of Political Conflict
Hammack, Phillip L.
Human Development, v53 n4 p173-201 2010
Scholars across a range of disciplines have increasingly argued that the intractability of political conflicts is rooted in the proliferation of competing historical narratives. These collective narratives construct the basis of a sense of shared collective identity. Narrative and identity are thus increasingly conceptualized as fundamental to the maintenance and reproduction of political conflict. In this paper, I explore two underlying conceptions of identity that have emerged in the literature on youth and political conflict. One conception views identity as a "burden" for youth, suggesting that youth perceive the need to internalize a master narrative of collective identity that provides a sense of security and solidarity in the midst of existential uncertainty. Though psychologically beneficial, this internalization is problematic in the reproductive role it assumes in the larger conflict. An alternative conception views identity as a "benefit" in its ability to serve as a tool for social and political change, particularly for low-status groups. I review theory and research that adopt these varying conceptions and suggest that identity must be conceptualized as both burden and benefit for youth in conflict settings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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