A group of adolescent girls' life experience and development in Hong Kong

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A group of adolescent girls' life experience and development in Hong Kong

 

Author: Fisker-Nielsen, Anne Mette
Title: A group of adolescent girls' life experience and development in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2002
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Teenage girls -- China -- Hong Kong
Teenage girls -- China -- Hong Kong -- Growth
Teenage girls -- China -- Hong Kong -- Psychology
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: ix, 264 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1616606
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/564
Abstract: This research is concerned with how the pinnacle of psychological development in general, and adolescent development in particular, has been narrowly defined as occurring in the process and with the goal of separation-autonomy-individuation. I intend to show that this model excludes other vitally important aspects of the human condition such as connection-empathy-caring, which need to be included in order to envision and establish a more wholesome and well-developed picture of what constitute successful human development. This means that a new focus on the process of relationships, which reflects the interdependence of reality, is called for. Based on empirical evidence generated from an in-depth study of a group of adolescent girls living in Hong Kong, the present study argues that conventional theories on human development cannot adequately describe the life experience of these girls. On the contrary, the Relational paradigm, which postulates that relationships are central to female development, is better equipped to depict the unique life concerns articulated by these girls. Through their narratives we come to learn the importance of relationship to the development of self and morality. Specifically, the relationships that the girls have with their female friends, their male friends, their parents, the surprising lack of interest in boyfriends, and their relational dilemmas, which help to reconstruct some of the misconceptions surrounding the ideas that female friendship is shallow, that relationships between boys and girls are only of a sexual kind, that the parent-adolescent relationship is characterised by 'storm and stress', that the goal of adolescence is separation and individuation, and that morality lies within a justice perspective. The way girls experience relationships clearly show that they are not in the process of 'separating' from their parents, or in a competitive relationship with their friends, but rather that they develop through 'connection'. Moreover, the relational dilemmas girls experience, reflect their capacity to operate from both the use of the 'care' and 'justice' moral orientations. They also show a high level of moral awareness in terms of being able to take a multiple perspective to situations they encounter. This is reflected in how they see themselves, how they deal with relationships, as well as future aspirations. These expanded ideas of self and relationship are also found to be enhanced by their multicultural environment, and they show 'active' tolerance for different cultural groups, as well as a blatant dislike for any kind of discrimination. These findings were very inspiring and gave glimpses of how the foundation for a 'culture of peace' could be built. On the other hand, it draws attention to the question of the 'silencing' of the 'voice of care' in the 'public' world of patriarchal societies.

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