Inside-Out and Outside-In? Global Development Theory, Policy, and Youth
Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
© 2011 by the American Anthropological Association.
Special Issue: Psychological Anthropology and Adolescent Well-Being: Steps Toward Bridging Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 432–451, December 2011
How to Cite
Worthman, C. M. (2011), Inside-Out and Outside-In? Global Development Theory, Policy, and Youth. Ethos, 39: 432–451. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1352.2011.01211.x
- Issue published online: 8 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
- W. T. Grant Foundation. Grant Number: DS804 383–2854
- Russell Sage Foundation Faculty Scholarship
- applied psychiatric anthropology;
- child development;
- culture change
Humanity is young: In 2006, over a third (2.2 billion) were under age 18 and almost half were under age 25. In addition, nearly the majority of young people ages 15–24 lives on less than $2 per day, 15 percent are undernourished, and 14.4 percent are unemployed. Although 85 percent of young people live in developing countries, only a fraction of adolescent development and mental health research is focused there. Efforts to shift the emphasis of such research also must engage with the prevailing views in development theory and policy that link human development with socioeconomic development in a “dual development model.” A critical cultural analysis of this model reveals both the bases and limitations of its power, and identifies an implicit cultural model of the life course within it. The model mandates society-to-individual (outside-in) investments in health and education that are expected to return reciprocal gains in lifetime productivity that benefit society as a whole (inside-out). The current burden and advantage of this equation are assessed as they bear on young people across the globe. A case is made for lifecourse cultural models as a potent framework for mediating among realities, perceptions, and behaviors at the level of youth, parents, and policies under conditions of rapid culture change.