Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Theories that Guide the Project

So now that you know the basic idea of what we are going to do. It is only natural that we should outline the theories that are the main driving forces behind the project. In answering the basic research question, "How does experience with political conflict impact young people?" this project adopts an Event History - Resource framework. Essentially, the model posits that experience with political conflict is consequential to long-term well-being to the extent that it impacts key life events across the course of a youth's progress towards adulthood. The model considers these critical events as resources, the impairment or loss of which complicates or hinders successful adaptation and achievement of culturally sanctioned values and standards of behavior.

The two specific theories this framework is derived from are Event History Theory and Resource Theory

  1. Event History Theory - or Life History theory or Life Span theory or Life Course theory - suggests that human development continues throughout the course of life and that individuals establish pathways or trajectories through the variety and sequence of events that they experience in various contexts. Thus, contextualized development is embedded in history such that it is impacted by the sociocultural conditions present at a given historical period, which are thought to change over time.

  2. Resource Theory - suggests that the loss of threatened loss of critical resources defines the stress that impacts a person's adaptive capacities. Resource theory also gives attention to context and culture in defining significant resources.

In addition to integrating principles from these two theories, the PAL project also elaborates upon the theories in two ways: (1) incorporating a focus on political resources, and (2) emphasizing the importance of subjective appraisals when considering objective events.

For more information about either of these theories, contact the Center at youthconflict@tennessee.edu.