Moral meta-narratives, marginalization, and youth development

Jose Causadias, Kimberly Updegraff, Willis F. Overton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-839
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Culture
  • Development
  • Marginalization
  • Meta-narratives
  • Morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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