Theorizing Hyphenated Selves: Researching Youth Development in and across Contentious Political Contexts



In this article, we present social–psychological notions about critical consciousness, change, and power that we consider foundational to the study of youth under siege. Relying on Lewin's field theory and Du Bois’ dual consciousness, and critical psychology literature on sociopolitical understandings of conflict, we propose a new conceptual and theoretical framework that we call ‘hyphenated selves’ to better understand youth identity in and across contentious political contexts. Specifically, we report briefly on our own work with Muslim-American youth in the US post-9/11 and post–‘war on terror’ as a context from which we may reflect on a social psychology of youth identity and global conflict. At the same time, we want to think forward about critical methods for researching complicated subjectivities across politically and culturally contentious terrains.