Get access

Visual Perspectives on Majority-World Adolescent Thriving


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant # 410-2007-0427 and thank the youth participants for their enthusiastic engagement in the work, the dedicated community advisors, and the able researchers who assisted in the data collection in each location.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Catherine Ann Cameron, Psychology Department, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. E-mail:


This paper offers socio-ecological, situated perspectives on adolescent resilience derived from an application of interpretive visual methodologies to deepen understanding of adaptive youth development in diverse majority-world cultural contexts (South Africa, Thailand, China, Mexican migration to Canada). The research is not “cross-cultural”; by contrast, it situates youth engagement contextually, using local perspectives, especially perspectives of adolescents themselves, on “growing up well” under adverse circumstances, to interrogate conceptions of resilience in cultural context. Participants are viewed as members of cultural communities: observations with a small number of individuals are not generalized to national groups. Rather, knowledge gained by these methods is employed to enrich knowledge of the processes of majority-world youth thriving despite such adversities as poverty and social displacement.