Date of this Version
Applied Developmental Science
This article examines the problem of national and civic detachment among American youth. Using a developmental theoretical framework that integrates the ecological aspects of development with the phenomenological experiences of the developing individual, I argue that young Americans have difficulty developing an attachment to their identity as Americans due to contradictory experiences had between daily events and communicated perspectives and beliefs about America. The espoused story of America contains historical distortions, which we set as socializing adults and the collective context for youth development. Youth changes require that adults first confront the noted distortions in our own understanding of America before imposing American identity expectations on our youth. In order to do this, I propose that American society needs forums for civil discourse that can occur among groups with shared social experiences, to address these distortions in a safe space before engaging with those who have a different perspective on and experience with American society.
This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Applied Developmental Science, 2011 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10888691.2011.560806.
Spencer, M. B. (2011). American Identity: Impact of Youths' Differential Experiences in Society on Their Attachment to American Ideals. Applied Developmental Science, 15 (2), 61-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2011.560806
Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Developmental Psychology Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Other American Studies Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons
Date Posted: 08 April 2015
This document has been peer reviewed.