Methods:This paper addressed some of this lack of conceptual clarity by conducting a scoping reviewing the existing models of SPD. This included literature across education, social work and psychology. Emerging theories of SPD, critical consciousness and “conscientization” were all considered.
Results:Four models of socio-political development were identified. Between these models, a number of conceptual tensions were illuminated, including conflicting definitions of ‘critical reflection’ and ‘critical action’, a debate on the presence and absence of intermediary factors between reflection and action, and the open question of whether reflection precedes action, or visa versa. In response, I offer a conceptual model for SPD that is anchored in a multi-level, ecological model of identity that includes individual, interpersonal and group-level sub-constructs. Identity has a number of different meanings and uses, many of which pose artificial distinctions between the personal, relational and collective sense of self. To offer a more integrated understanding of each SPD sub-construct, I use the framework offered by Marilynn Brewer and Wendi Gardner of: (1) personal identity, (2) relational identity and (3) collective identity.
This model is situated in a cyclical and iterative structure that takes the relationship between reflection and action into account. Critical Reflection is understood as (1) efficacy, (2) commitment, (3) values, (4) analysis and (5) awareness. Each is defined at individual, relational and collective levels. Critical Action is understood at the individual level as transformation of self, individual action and psychological resilience. At the relational level it includes participation/non-participation, membership & belonging and intergroup dialogue. At the collective level, it is understood as mass action, policy advocacy, education & consciousness raising and epistemological interventions.
Conclusion/Implication:This model allows us to better explore and understand the mechanisms and outcomes of SPD, which can lead to more effectiveness youth work interventions. By defining and contextualizing the relationship of identity to SPD, especially a multi-level relationship, we can better understand the subject, mechanisms and outcomes of SPD. By clarifying the core mechanisms and outcomes of SPD, we can better design and assess interventions that support the personal, relational and collective aspects of social and political development. Future directions for theory development and research are also suggested.