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Resilience, risk and geographies of violence/safety

March 31, 2012

“As Garbarino and others (1992, p.83) point out, in some children’s neighbourhoods ‘danger replaces safety as the organising principle’. Research from a number of societies experiencing political tensions suggests that many children cope with risky environments (Allodi, 1989; Cairns and Wilson, 1993; Liddell and others, 1993; Ziv and Israel, 1973). This has moved the reserach focus away from ‘worrying about the suffering of a minority of children, as a result of political violence, to curiosity about the resilience of the majority’ (Cairns, 1996, p.31). In this case study [of children in North Belfast], the majority of children appeared resilient in coping with the daily risks they faced within their localities. Moreover, the children who took part in the research did not merely passively respond to perceived and actual risks within the geographical spaces they inhabited. They adopted four strategies in response to the everyday risks that they faced. These involved risk avoidance, risk minimisation, risk management and risk taking.” (442)

Ref: Madeleine Leonard (2007) ‘Trapped in Space? Children’s Accounts of Risky environments’ Children & Society 21, pp.432-445

Refer to blog Are children safe at home? for more of Leonard’s work and for a description of the ‘home’ as it affects children and childhood…

Reference is made to:

Allodi, 1989 The children of victims of political persecution and torture: a psychological study of a Latin American refugee community. International Journal of Mental Health 18: 3-15

Cairns and Wilson, 1993 Stress, coping and political violence in Northern Ireland. In International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes. Wilson, J Raphael B (eds) Plenum Press: New York: 896-924

Cairns, 1996 Children and Political Violence Blackwell: Oxford

Garbarino and others (1992) Children in Danger. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA

Liddell and others, 1993 The young lions – South African children and youth in political struggle. In The Psychological Effects of War and Violence on Children. Leavitt, L Fox, N (eds) Lawrence Erlbaum: Hillsdale, NJ: 199-214

Ziv and Israel, 1973 Effects of bombardment on the manifest anxiety level of children living in Kibbutzim. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 30: 24-30

And some other interesting looking references:

Goodey, J. 1994. Fear of crime: what can children tell us? International Review of Victimology 37: 195-210

Loader I, Girling E, Sparks R 1998. Narratives of decline: youth dis/order and community in an English ‘Middleton’. British Journal of Criminology 38: 388-403

Matthews MH 1986. The influence of gender on the environmental cognition of young boys and girls. Journal of Genetic Psychology 147: 295-302

Pain R 2003. Youth, age and the representation of fear. Capital and Class 80: 151-173

Palme E 1991. Personal reflections on the new rights for children in war. In Reaching Children in War: Sudan, Uganda and Mozambique. Dodge C, Raundalen M (eds). Sigma Forlag: Bergen; 54-68

Punamaki R, Suleiman R 1990. Predictors and effectiveness of coping with political violence in Northern Ireland: a qualitative analysis. Journal of Social Issues 60: 469-485

Spencer C, Darvizeh, Z., 1981. The case for developing a cognitive psychology that does not underestimate the abilities of young children. Journal of Environmental Psychology 1: 21-32

White SH, Siegel R. 1976. Cognitive development: the new inquiry. Young Children 31: 425-435


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