Moral meta-narratives, marginalization, and youth development

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Abstract

Morality, a central dimension of culture, is crucial for research on the development of youth experiencing marginalization. In this article, we discuss two main meta-narratives as moral frameworks that provide different meaning to the past and to cultural change: liberal progress, focused on the struggle of those who have historically experienced marginalization (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities), and community lost, focused on those who are experiencing some forms of marginalization in response to cultural and economic changes (e.g., rural Whites). Because these two meta-narratives represent a false dichotomy, we use relational epistemology principles- holism, identity of opposites, opposites of identity, and synthesis of wholes-to formulate an integrated metanarrative, community progress, to overcome this polarity and promote research on the development of all youth experiencing marginalization. Acknowledging and understanding these moral meta-narratives is crucial because they influence scientific discourse, political action, and policy that impacts marginalization and youth development.

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