Call for papers for a Special Section of the Journal of Research on Adolescence:

Towards a decolonial developmental science: Exploring adolescent development in communities from the Majority World

The view of human development as a transactional process between individuals and their social contexts has been widely recognized in developmental science. Yet, much like other areas of psychological science, the knowledge base in adolescent developmental science is predominantly derived from research with a narrow and highly unusual segment of the world’s population: White, middle-class adolescents living in the Global North (i.e., USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Oceania, and Western European countries) (Moriguchi, 2022; Nielsen et al., 2017). The experiences of adolescents in the Global South (Blicharska et al., 2017) or the Majority world (i.e., where the majority of the world’s population resides) are highly underrepresented and historically excluded in research published in English language peer-reviewed journals. This predominance of White, EuroAmerican samples and researchers is a reflection of coloniality embedded in developmental science, which leads to a science that is incomplete and lacks applicability to support the well-being of adolescents around the world. In addition to inclusion of Majority World samples and researchers, a shift towards a decolonial developmental science would require 1) conceptualizing adolescent development within local sociocultural, political, economic, educational and other relevant contexts, 2) aiming to generate localized knowledge about adolescent development in Majority World communities, 3) using research methods that make sense to, are valued by, and/or involve local communities, and 4) interpreting findings in ways that view beliefs, behaviors, and practices in Majority World communities as cultural resources rather than deficits. A number of scholars discuss and describe decolonial approaches to social science research methodology (e.g., see Abo-Zena, Mattis, & Jones, 2022 for a decolonial conception of rigor and Kia-Keating & Juang, 2022 for participatory methods), and the critical importance of avoiding implicit or explicit comparisons of Majority World communities to the EuroAmerican norm that lead to viewing beliefs, behaviors, and practices in Majority World communities as less desirable, inferior, or pathological (Adams et al., 2022; Teo, 2010).

In this special section, we seek articles that enhance the scholarly understanding of adolescent development and functioning in communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East from a decolonial lens, and push us forward towards a decolonial developmental science.  We especially seek submissions that are led by authors who live and work in these world regions. Submissions may include reports of research studies that aim to generate localized knowledge about adolescent development in the Majority World, use research methods that aim towards a decolonial practice (e.g., participatory and community-based action research, narrative methods, quantitative methods that are highly attuned to local contexts, mixed-methods), and overall adopt a cultural asset rather than deficit framework. Submissions may also include theoretical or conceptual articles that provide a critique of developmental theories and models of adolescent development from a decolonial lens, chart a research agenda in a specific subfield of adolescent development from a decolonial lens, or systematic literature reviews pertaining to adolescent development in Majority World communities that outline a decolonial research agenda moving forward.

Special section editors: Dr. Amina Abubaker, Aga Khan University, Kenya ([email protected]u); Dr. Angelo Brandeli Costa, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil ([email protected]); Dr. Lixian Cui, NYU Shanghai, China ([email protected]); Dr. Silvia H. Koller, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil ([email protected]); Dr. Chidozie Edwin Nwafor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria ([email protected]); and Dr. Vaishali Raval, Miami University, USA ([email protected]). Please address inquiries to the special section editor from your world region or to Dr. Raval.

Abstracts due: November 15, 2022; Invited manuscripts due: March 30, 2023

Abstract Instructions

We welcome abstract submissions for this special section by email to the journal inbox: [email protected]
Please mention the special section in the subject line of the email. In the body of the email, please include names and institutional affiliations of all authors, indicate the corresponding author and provide an email address for the corresponding author.

Abstracts (2-3 single-spaced pages, 1 page of references, 1-2 tables and/or figures) must include:

Brief Description

  • For reports of research studies, provide a brief literature review, gaps in existing literature that form the rationale for your study, study aims and research questions; an overview of the method including participants, data sources, measures and procedure as relevant; and describe major findings
  • For theoretical /conceptual papers or systematic literature reviews, please describe the coverage and scope

For all types of submissions, provide a researcher reflexivity statement where you describe the positionality of authors

Fit with the Special Section Call (Relevance to Special Section)

  • Please describe in detail local sociocultural, political, economic, educational contexts in which adolescents are embedded.
  • Please describe how 1) your research questions and 2) research methods used to address those questions are relevant to adolescents in local communities
  • Please discuss and interpret your findings from a cultural asset rather than a deficit framework