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Title: Exploring the role of the youth group in adolescent development under contextual adversity : a comparative study of adolescents belonging to peacebuilding groups and gangs in Colombia
Author: Dedios Sanguineti, María
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 1337
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Research on adolescent development simultaneously portrays the youth group as contributing to positive and negative outcomes, an inconsistency partially due to the reduction of the youth group to a mediator variable in developmental studies. This PhD reframes the youth group as a system of shared meanings and participation to study its influence on developmental outcomes in disadvantaged contexts. Using a mixed methods approach combining qualitative interviews, participant observation, and surveys, I compare disadvantaged youths who belong to peacebuilding groups and gangs across three outcomes; possible-selves, moral reasoning and practical reasoning about violence, tracing how these outcomes connect to group-level understandings of peace and violence. Study I explores whether guided participation in peacebuilding activities influences youths' expectations of who they want to be in the future. It finds that participation shapes the youths' evaluations of what comprises a desirable possible-self. Study II compares group-level understandings of violence and moral reasoning about violence among members of peacebuilding groups and gangs. It finds that members of both groups identify individuals as agents and victims of violence, however only gang members think of groups as capable of harming and being harmed. This translates into between-group differences in moral reasoning about violence, where a higher proportion of gang members say it is morally right to use violence to defend group, respect, and honour. Study III measures differences in the endorsement of four violence motives by degree of gang involvement among at-risk youths. While the likelihood of violent behaviour, victimisation, and violence in self-defence increases alongside the degree of gang involvement, the endorsement of collective violence characterized gang members only. Combined, these findings show that group-level meaning-making processes and participation contain criteria of righteousness and desirability that inform models of social relations and the youths' positioning in relation to the disadvantaged context where they live. A focus on group cultures contributes to the understanding of variability in individual developmental outcomes observed in disadvantaged contexts and call for appropriate policies to support adolescent development in these environments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform