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Rewriting resilience: a critical discourse analysis of childhood resilience and the politics of teaching… Martineau, Sheila 1999

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REWRITING RESILIENCE: A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE AND THE POLITICS OF TEACHING RESILIENCE TO "KIDS AT RISK by SHEILA MARTINEAU BA, The University of Toronto, 1993 "V A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Educational Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1999 © Sheila Martineau, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Educational Studies The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date: y 11 ABSTRACT THIS STUDY IS A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF T H E DISCOURSE ON CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE and the politics of teaching resilience to "kids at risk" in inner-city schools. Resiliency research is rooted in the early psychology studies of children's coping and competence. By the 1970s, researchers were observing children who appeared invulnerable to traumatic events. These children were later described as resilient, and resilience was defined as bouncing back from adversity. Today, resilience has become an ideological code for social conformity and academic achievement. My analysis problematizes "childhood resilience" and "teaching resilience" and examines two dangerous shifts in the mainstream resiliency research over the past several decades. In one shift, resilience slipped from an anomaly in the context of complex trauma to being claimed as the social norm of the dominant society. In another shift, the context of resiliency research slipped from traumatized to disadvantaged populations. Consequently, teaching resilience in inner-city schools is a popular topic among professional child and youth advocates in BC. But these two shifts manifest as teaching socioeconomically disadvantaged children to conform to the social norms of the dominant society and as rationalizing social and educational programs that help children and youth at risk overcome obstacles. Such programs do not work to challenge systemic inequalities. I undertook a discourse analysis and an interpretive inquiry in identifying three resiliency discourses: the first is a dominant expert discourse based on quantitative studies; the second is a subordinate experiential discourse based on qualitative stories; and the third is a professional advocacy discourse that includes expert and experiential knowledge. The expert discourse derives from psychometric studies of resilient-identified children, and the experiential discourse emanates from the psychotherapeutic narratives of resilient-identified adults. The advocacy discourse emerges from educators, psychologists, and social workers who advocate on behalf of children and youth at risk. The data include resiliency texts, focused interviews, and relevant fieldnotes. I developed criteria for critiquing and recognizing resilience, explored potential intersections between the expert and experiential discourses, and interpreted risk and resiliency themes in the advocacy discourse. In challenging the dominant discourse, I argue that resilience is not a fixed set of traits that can be reified and replicated. Moreover, I argue that complex trauma and trauma recovery are essential to any construct of resilience and that resilience is pluralistic, contingent, and always in process. My study recommends collaborative resiliency research that focuses on trauma and that values experiential knowledge and attends to class and cultural diversity. It also recommends that the professional advocacy community re-focus on risk and work toward developing social programs and critical pedagogies that challenge structural oppression and systemic discrimination. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii T A B L E OF CONTENTS iii LIST OF TABLES vii LIST OF BOXES viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ix DEDICATION x 1. PROBLEMATIZING T H E RESILIENCY DISCOURSE 1 Producing the "Resilient Child" 5 Individual Agency Within Structural Constraint 8 Resilience as an Ideological Code 11 Resilience as Rugged Individualism 12 Pathologizing Dependence 13 Targeting Disadvantage 14 Resilience as Self-Improvement 15 The Recovery Movement 15 Therapeutic Feminism 16 Children's Risk in Historical Context 18 Summary 29 2. THEORY AS M E T H O D : A M A T T E R OF INTERPRETATION 32 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology 34 Critical Discourse Analysis 38 Post-Structuralism . . 43 Co-Inherence of the Essence-Construct Binary 44 Structural Materialism 47 The Cultural Deficit Model 49 Narrative Analysis 49 Genre 52 Glossification 53 Glossing 54 Summary of Theoretical Framework 55 Critical Discourse Analysis 55 Three Resiliency Discourses 55 Interpretive Authority 57 Method and Methodology 57 Qualitative Research as Interpretive Inquiry 57 Data and Demographics 59 iv Data Collection 60 Data Analysis 60 Interpretation Matters 62 Interim Report 63 Demographics 64 Between Text and Talk 65 3. T E X T : EXPERT AND EXPERIENTIAL DISCOURSES ON RESILIENCE 66 Two Roads Diverged 69 The Quantitative Perspective: Resilience as Immediate 70 The Qualitative Perspective: Resilience as Mediated 73 Cautionary Comments 76 Conditional Criteria for Recognizing Resilience 78 Complex Trauma 80 Complex Post-Traumatic Stress 81 Resilience as Anomalous 82 A Slippery Slope 83 A Paradox 85 What Does Resiliency Mean and to Whom? 87 Invulnerability to Adversity? 87 Bouncing Back from Adversity? 91 Surviving, Thriving, or Striving? 92 From Resiliency Relativism to Resiliency Pluralism 96 Relativism: Informal Meanings 96 Pluralism: Formal Meanings 98 The Pioneering Studies as Problematic 100 Challenging Assumptions and Stereotypes 103 Dangerous Adaptivity vs. Adaptive Distancing 104 Gender: Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviours 107 Class and Culture: Mis/measuring Academic Achievement Il l Surveillance: Achievement as Assimilation 114 Social Competence as Social Conformity 115 Social Competence 116 Upward Mobility 118 Social Conformity 119 Professionalized Parenting 120 Little Adults: Children Without Childhoods 121 Little Soldiers: Exploitative Resilience 121 Little Mothers: Performative Resilience 123 Summary 126 4. INTERTEXTUALITIES: BETWEEN DIVERGENT DISCOURSES 128 Success Despite Distress: Quantified Resiliency Traits 129 Model of Inputs and Outputs 129 Inner Locus of Control 130 Common Ground: Self-Understanding 132 Success Through Process: Qualified Resiliency Traits 133 Time and Turning Points 133 V Overcoming a Cruel Past 134 Tales of Triumph 135 Co-Inherence of Binary Oppositions 138 Divergence: Research Paradigms 141 In/Coherence: Research Perspectives 142 Intersections: Conditions and Behaviours 144 Convergence: Traits and Characteristics 145 Taking the Road Less Travelled By 147 Summary 148 At the Crossroads: From Text to Talk 151 5. T A L K : A D V O C A C Y DISCOURSES ON RISK AND RESILIENCE 154 Conservative Constraints and Progressive Politics 155 From Text to Talk: Resilience is "In the Air" 158 Professional Perspectives: Resilience as Expert Knowledge 159 Personal Perceptions: Resilience as Experiential Knowledge 162 Childhoods Without Risk 165 Childhoods With Risk 167 Talk About Children's Risk: Across Classes and Cultures 171 Lack: At-Risk and In-Distress 172 Panic: Hopelessness and Meaninglessness 175 Talk About Childhood Resilience: Envisioning One's Future 178 Talk About Teaching Resilience: Experiencing One's Success 181 Whose Needs? Who Benefits? 183 Kids at Risk: Threats to Society? 185 Resiliency Programming as Risk Programming 187 Summary 189 6. REWRITING RESILIENCE: POLITICS AND PROBLEMATICS 192 Slippery Slopes in Resiliency Research 193 Expert, Experiential, and Advocacy Discourses 195 Childhood Resilience: The Problematics of Reification 196 In/Vulnerability to Trauma 197 Commonsense Categories 198 Teaching Resilience: The Politics of Replication 200 Reconceptualizing Teaching and Schooling 201 Rearticulating Risk Programming 204 The Road Ahead: Dead-Ends and Critical Paths 207 From Risk Rhetoric to Panacean Promise 207 From Rhetoric to Strategic Redirections 213 R E F E R E N C E LIST 219 APPENDIXES 236 Appendix A: Data Collection 236 Pilot Study 236 Resiliency Literature 236 Focused Interviews 237 Purposive Sampling 237 Contact and Consent 238 vi Researcher and Volunteer Bias 238 The Interview Process 239 Pseudonyms and No Names 240 Participant-Observation 240 Psychology Seminars 240 Advocacy Conferences 241 Appendix B: Contact and Consent Letters 242 Initial Contact Letter 242 Interview Consent Letter 243 Appendix C: Interview Schedule 244 Appendix D: Data Analysis I 246 Relational Database System 246 Library Master — Partial List of Subject Headings 247 Appendix E: Data Analysis II 248 Code and Retrieval System 248 Coding Strategies 248 Systematic Analyses 249 ATLAS/ti — Partial List of Codewords 250 Appendix F: Demographics 251 Focused Interview Participants 251 Age and Gender 251 Class and Culture 251 Marital and Family Status 251 Educational Background 252 Professional Categories 252 Advocates' Pseudonyms 254 Pilot Interview Participants 254 Psychology Seminar Participants 255 vii LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Data Collection Sources 60 Table 2: Conditional Criteria for Resilience 79 Table 3: Dualism of Risk and Resilience 88 Table 4: Linear Model of Resiliency Traits 129 Table 5: Self-Understanding as a Link Between Statistical Studies and Life Stories 132 Table 6: Binaries Between Expert and Experiential Discourses 140 Table 7: Advocates' Self-Perceptions of Childhood Risk by Gender and Profession 162 Table 8: Advocates' Perspectives on Being At-Risk and Being In-Distress 173 Table 9: Advocates' Views on Teaching Resilience 181 Table 10: Slippages in Resiliency Research 193 Table 11: Resilience as Invulnerability 198 Table 12: Rearticulating Risk Programming 205 Table 13: Redirecting Risk Programming and Resiliency Research 214 Table 14: Contact and Consent Letters 238 Table 15: Subject Groupings of Interview Schedule 239 Table 16: Age of Advocates by Gender 251 Table 17: Social Profile of Advocates 251 Table 18: Advocates' Level of Education by Gender 252 Table 19: Professional Categories by Level, Field, and Gender 253 Table 20: Distribution of Advocates by Location and Profession 253 Table 21: Advocates' Pseudonyms 254 Table 22: Pilot Participants by Gender, Discipline, and Location 254 Table 23: Seminar Students by Gender and Academic Program 255 V l l l LIST OF BOXES Box 1: Kathryn's Story 90 Box 2: The Nazi Holocaust 94 Box 3: A Prospective Study 101 Box 4: Kevin's Story 106 Box 5: Karen's Story 125 ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS THE SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA has my enormous gratitude for their scholarship support of my dissertation. I am also thankful to the University of British Columbia, the BC Ministry of Education, and the Howard Webster Foundation for providing scholarship support during the tenure of my graduate studies. In addition, I greatly appreciate the opportunities offered by the Department of Educational Studies to teach (and to learn by teaching) in UBC's Teacher Education Program during the period of my doctoral candidacy. I want to thank my lucky stars for the good fortune of having Dr. Deirdre Kelly as a trusted friend, advisor, teacher, employer, role model, and research supervisor since I commenced graduate studies in 1993. Words cannot convey my respect for her integrity and my appreciation of her generosity. Each member of my thesis committee—Drs. Deirdre Kelly, Dawn Currie, and Nikki Strong-Boag— provided rigor and guidance throughout the doctoral process. They were always resourceful and always approachable and I am deeply indebted to each of them. Special thanks are owed to Dr. Neil Sutherland for sharing his passion for the history of childhood, and to Drs. John Gilbert and Graham Kelsey for their enthusiastic interest in, and encouraging support of, my research. I have deep regard for the dedicated professionals in the child and youth advocacy community who agreed to be interviewed and who contributed so much to my research on resilience. I hope my dissertation, in return, may contribute to their work with young people who are at risk and in distress. Saturday morning cappuccinos with cohort Gail Edwards were indispensable. Last and most, the support and patience of my extended family, and family of friends, has been essential. Thank you. DEDICATION for hurting children and all those w\)0 help them W H A T IS SUCCESS? To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children) to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to Appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's se(f; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch OY a redeemed socwf condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation) to know even one life has breathed easier oecause you have (if ed— this is to hive succeeded. Ra[fj(; Wafeo Emerson 1 1. PROBLEMATIZING THE RESILIENCY DISCOURSE The most that any one of us can seem to do is to fashion something —an object or ourselves—and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak • • •' EACHING RESILIENCE TO "KIDS AT RISK" IN INNER-CITY SCHOOLS is an appealing prospect among child and youth advocacy professionals in British Columbia. It holds promise for educators, psychologists, and social service providers dedicated to helping disadvantaged young people deemed at risk.2 But it is also a political topic that invites several questions. For instance, what is childhood resilience? Can resilience be taught? What constitutes risk, and who are those being categorized as kids at risk? Why are inner-city schools targeted for teaching resilience? On the surface, answers to these questions seem obvious. Resilience typically means bouncing back from adversity. Resilient children have identifiable traits that can be fostered in others. Children described as at risk are usually socially and economically disadvantaged. And teaching resilience in inner-city schools may help disadvantaged young people overcome adversity. Beneath the surface, however, such answers raise new questions that problematize the discourse on childhood resilience. ' Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York: The Free Press, 1973) 285. 2 Terminology: The terms childhood, child advocacy, and young people always refer to children and youth (or adolescents) unless I indicate a specific age group. For my purposes, children and youth are under 19 and adults are over 19. The category "kids at risk" conveys targeting and labelling and has been critiqued in feminist analyses of risk rhetoric. I occasionally use it to emphasize teaching resilience in inner-city schools as problematic. Footnotes: When my quotations contain citations of other works, the full citations are provided in a footnote for reference purposes only. When I am suggesting additional materials within footnotes, the citations are included in full in the footnotes if I have not read the material; otherwise, they are cited by author and date only and are included in my list of References. When my own in-text citations include more than three works at a time, they are listed in a footnote so as not to overly disrupt the text. Finally, references to my fieldnotes are cited in footnotes by date as follows: [F-YYMMDD], 2 Resiliency research is rooted in child psychology and clinical studies conducted in the 1950s and 1960s on children's coping and competence. Resilience has become an increasingly common focus of academic attention since the 1970s, when child psychologists began to observe that some children seemed emotionally invulnerable to such traumatizing situations as experiencing political violence or living with mentally ill parents. This "invulnerable child" was described as resilient and the resultant "resilient child" was characterized as successful. Success in this context was twofold, interpreted as social success and school success, and measured by personality tests and academic achievement scores, respectively. In these early quantitative, psychological studies, resilience was constructed from static "snapshots" of the seeming invulnerability of some children to traumatic events, snapshots taken by the statistical measure of personal and academic success in particular times and places. As troubling as this notion of childhood resilience is—one needs to be sceptical of equating emotional invulnerability with personal success, for example, or of isolating short-term measures of success from long-term manifestations of trauma—the experience of traumatic events was an essential component. Among other things, I will argue that overcoming complex trauma,3 and not invulnerability to traumatic events, is essential to any meaningful interpretation of resilience. Since these earlier studies, there has been significant slippage in the meaning of resilience.4 Though resilience conveyed anomalous childhood behaviour in the context of traumatic events in the 1970s, it has become detached from the traumatic context that informed its earlier identification. Remarkably, and from my perspective, dangerously, resilience had been reconstructed as social norm by the 1990s, modelled on the behavioural norms and expectations of the dominant society. This 3 There is a distinction between simple trauma (single-incident) and complex trauma (prolonged and compound incidents), as discussed in Chapter Three. Unless I specify simple trauma, all references to trauma imply complex trauma. 4 The term slippage means a shift or slide in a dangerous direction. In Chapter Three I also call this slide a "slippery slope" toward a worse or more dangerous position, here referring to the slide's negative effect on less advantaged populations. 3 reconstruction occurred within the scientific studies that purported to measure resilience. Specific notions of success that were measurable, such as academic achievement, were confounded with notions o f resiliency. Resilience became identified not as anomalous or even abnormal in the context of traumatic events but as "normal behaviour" whether or not traumatic events were even present. Both versions of childhood resilience—first as anomaly, then as normal—are problematic. In the earlier version of resilience as emotional invulnerability to traumatic events, what looked like invulnerability could easily have been a symptom of trauma. Detachment, for example, may be an effective coping mechanism in the short-term, but it can have devastating emotional consequences i f left unchecked. 5 In the current version of resilience, experiencing traumatic events has dropped out of the picture as an essential context in which resilience occurs. This absence of trauma is especially disturbing because the current version both reconstructs resilience as mainstream norm and informs the notion of teaching resilience to children and youth at risk in inner-city schools. Obscured behind the well-meaning intention of teaching resilience is a call for disadvantaged children and youth to conform to the behavioural norms of the dominant society (associated with social and school success) by overcoming or being invulnerable to the systemic distresses and adversities of their everyday lives. This call creates a problem that is partially articulated by considering temperament and environment: Assumptions about teaching resilience to kids at risk can overlook the role of individual temperament in resilient-identified children, while assumptions about reproducing the environment of resilient-identified children (such as providing positive role models) can overlook the role of systemic disadvantage in the lives of young people deemed at risk. 5 Celebrating a child's emotional invulnerability to traumatic events is bizarre. In a different situation, for example, if any child appeared emotionally invulnerable to the murder of his or her parents (which we can all agree is a traumatic event), the child would be either reviled or protected but certainly not cheered. Their trauma would be recognized. If they carried on as if nothing had happened, this might be a useful coping strategy in the short-term but a dangerous emotional condition in the long-term. How and when is their "success" or their "resilience" to be measured, or defined, or identified? 4 Even though children's risk, distress, and trauma occur across classes and cultures and involve all manner of abuses and atrocities, risk today typically refers to systemic disadvantage and discrimination as these are brought to bear on mostly poor, refugee, immigrant, single-mother, and First Nations families. It is incorrect to assume that poverty is inherently traumatic, however, and that children living in poverty are necessarily doubly traumatized by abuses and atrocities. This assertion in no way trivializes the range of risks confronting economically disadvantaged children and youth. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of holding resilience in relation to complex trauma (but not as invulnerability to trauma). And it argues that trauma, by its very nature, cannot easily be defined by the type or degree of suffering or socioeconomic status. Integral to my analysis of childhood resilience, then, is a distinction between risk and trauma relevant to resilience. The current construct of resilience as social norm emanates from the psychology resiliency research. It influences the mass media, the self-help recovery movement, and the child and youth advocacy community. During my involvement in BC's advocacy community I became aware of problems concerning how childhood resilience was being construed (or misconstrued), particularly in relation to the idea of teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools. It was timely to examine the evolving concept of resilience, to explore how advocacy professionals perceived childhood resilience and teaching resilience, and to do so before their perceptions become institutionalized in policy and practice. Hence, my research involves a critical discourse analysis of resilience in the psychology literature, and a narrative interpretation of the uptake of resilience in the child and youth advocacy community. My research includes focused interviews with 23 educators, psychologists, and social service providers. They are in positions to influence policies and practices that affect the lives of children and youth deemed at risk. 5 Producing the "Resilient Child" The first time I heard the term resiliency used in an official capacity was during the keynote address at an advocacy conference in 1995.6 The speaker wondered how we could build resiliency in at-risk children and youth in inner-city schools. He attributed resilience to disadvantaged young people who had overcome their adversity, and he outlined four main traits of resilience as identified in the resiliency literature: sociability, creativity, autonomy, and purpose. The speaker characterized the "resilient child" as socially competent, meaning responsive, communicative, and capable of empathy, humour, and friendship. In addition to sociability, or social competence, he explained creativity as having good problem-solving abilities and finding imaginative solutions to problems, autonomy as exhibiting independence and having a strong sense of self, and purpose as being able to set goals and feeling optimistic about the future. In his address, the speaker admitted to a "nostalgic view of the past," a past defined by his protected and privileged childhood in the 1950s and 1960s in a predominantly White, upper middle-class suburban community.7 Concerned about the "erosion of family life" due to divorce, "media values" (e.g., videos, the internet, and television), and a decrease in "active, quality parenting," he observed that educators today are facing "an entire generation of children in distress." He invoked his childhood as an ideal environment for producing resilience in at-risk children and youth, but in so doing he unintentionally posed himself as a model of resilience (as did many of the advocates I 6 [F-950421] . 7 I am familiar with the speaker's childhood community. It is important to stress that his memories and experiences cannot be generalized to those who had different experiences in similar times and places, nor can they be recreated for those who had different experiences in different times and places (e.g., immigrants). Moreover, in the speaker's idealized childhood community there was incest, alcoholism, family violence, mental illness, marital rape and infidelity, "unwed" pregnancy, overt racism, Aboriginal impoverishment, White-collar crime, and so on. Like most communities, neither the time nor the place was or is immune to social problems. 6 later interviewed), removed from contexts of risk, distress, and trauma.8 Such views are problematic when resilience is implied as a norm of privilege and prescribed for the problems of underprivileged children. Contrasting his rootedness with their uprootedness, for example, the speaker's antidote to adversity and disadvantage was to build resilience in the "distressed child"—in other words, to produce the "resilient child"—by recreating the caring community of his carefree childhood.9 Central to creating such communities, the speaker envisioned supportive schools with committed teachers whose "extra-parental patronage" would produce resilience by fostering the traits of sociability, creativity, autonomy, and purpose in disadvantaged children at risk. Referring to the literature on effective schooling—for which the hallmark is academic achievement—and full-service schools,10 he explained the goal of in-school services, which was to "provide a protective shield for children in distress." He suggested that, through the provision of a variety of student services in inner-city schools, the diverse needs of children and youth at risk could be met by peers, teachers, counsellors, social workers, and other on-site professionals. Thus, he saw full-service schools as "predictors of positive outcomes," meaning that disadvantaged children and youth would become resilient, with resilience being conveyed as mainstream norm. The insights of this keynote address strongly influenced knowledge of childhood resilience among BC's child advocacy community but, unfortunately, and unavoidably, it also reflected the slippages in the resiliency literature. Following this address, and in the interests of exploring a possible thesis proposal, I conducted a small pilot study among educators and social workers. I learned that the full-service 8 My use of these three terms are more fully developed in Chapter Three. 9 At a later date, I asked the speaker if he considered himself to be a resilient adult. He stated unequivocally that he did not, because he had never suffered the hardships of traumatized and impoverished children. Unfortunately, he did not express this personal view during his keynote address. 1 0 For effective schooling, see Consortium (1994); Lee, Bryk, and Smith (1993); Rutter et al. (1979). Effective schools are "what works" (Sadovnik, Cookson, and Semel 1994, 32). For full-service schools, see Dryfoos (1994). Also, see the report, A Nation at Risk (National Commission 1983). 7 school movement in BC was tied to a multi-ministry model of providing collaborative child services in inner-city schools. In particular, one interviewee explained the advocacy community's view of inner-city schools as "gateways" or "central resource centres," in the interests of removing "artificial barriers" among schools, families, communities, and ministries. Since then the recommendations in the Report of the Gove Inquiry into Child Protection (Gove 1995),11 among other factors (such as public pressure and political expediency), led BC's social democratic government to establish a new Ministry for Children and Families in 1997.12 The new Ministry amalgamated children's services from five separate ministries.13 But in the interim, funding for full-service school pilot projects has been cancelled and the new Ministry is not presently increasing in-school services. These changes have handicapped but not deterred interest in teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools, a concept that is being incorporated into several existing risk programs. These various scenarios—the keynote speaker's address on resilience and his inadvertent leaps across time and place, class and culture, his vision of supportive schools as places for nurturing resilience in individual students at risk and in distress, the development of new government services designed to meet the needs of children and youth at risk, and the subsequent withdrawal of full-service school funding (in addition to other government cutbacks affecting social services and risk programs)—add to existing problems in the dominant resiliency discourse. These problems include The "Gove Inquiry into Child Protection" and the subsequent Gove Report were commissioned to investigate "the adequacy of the services, policies and practices of the Ministry of Social Services as they related to the apparent neglect, abuse and death of [five-year old] Matthew John Vaudreuil" (Gove 1995), whose tragic life was well known to numerous social workers but who was repeatedly left in the care of his troubled mother. 12 The NDP (New Democratic Party) mandated the new Ministry. See also fn. 60. 1 3 The new Ministry for Children and Families includes child and youth services from the Ministry of Education, Skills, Training, and Labour, and the Ministries of Health, Social Services, and Women's Equality (child care), as well as the Office of the Attorney-General (youth justice). The new Ministry is augmented by two other entities: the Office of the Child, Youth, and Family Advocate, established in 1995 and reporting directly to the Legislature, and the Office of the Children's Commissioner, established in 1997 to investigate all child deaths in BC (this latter entity is an outcome of the Transition Commission established in 1996 to study and implement the most feasible recommendations in the Gove Report). 8 the construct of resilience shifting from anomaly to social norm, and the context of resilience shifting from traumatic events to socioeconomic disadvantage. They also include the struggles of child and youth advocates who are competing for funding allocations while trying to produce evidence of effectiveness among a profusion of proposed and operating social and educational programs.14 Individual Agency Within Structural Constraint One factor informing the popularity of resilience among advocates is their optimistic belief that its currency—resilience as positive versus risk as negative—will attract renewed funding to sustain existing services and programs for children and youth at risk. To this end, however, resilience represents a change in name only, from risk to resilience, while systemic disadvantage and discrimination remain relatively unchallenged in advocacy practices. This nominal change is exemplified in the words of an educational psychologist who stated (following a group discussion of alternative programs for youth at risk) that "risk programs build resilience in kids at risk."15 In other words, the "solution" to children's risk is cast as changing the child through social programs that ostensibly teach the individual to overcome obstacles. But such programs do not challenge the obstacles themselves and instead take a liberal approach "shaped overwhelmingly by educational psychology and its emphasis on the individual" (Coulter 1996, 436).16 Treating the individual has surely led to blaming the victim in the absence of questioning the structures of the status quo. But 14 (Consortium 1994; G.M. Johnson 1997a; Ministry of Education 1996; VSB 1997). 1 5 [F-960719]. 1 6 The context of Coulter's comment is systemic sexism in relation to equality of educational opportunity. The same liberal approach applies to other forms of systemic discrimination. 9 "rather than simply relabeling existing strategies," advocacy practices need to systematically develop alternative strategies (Elmore and Fuller 1996, 195).17 Illuminating this predicament is the contradictory location of advocates who promote childhood resilience as the antidote to children's risk. On the one hand, they are agents of the state, privileged professionals holding positions of power and enabled by state-sanctioned policies and practices that reproduce socioeconomic inequality. On the other hand, they are constrained by state structures that control, among other things, their job security and employment benefits, their access to government funding and other programming resources and, therefore, their ability or willingness to challenge the systems they represent and upon which they depend. Thus, advocates (as agents) are both enabled and constrained by the social structures and power relations in which they work (Giddens 1994,173). Within the advocates' location lies limitation, but embedded in their constraint also lies agency (Skeggs 1995, 8). I do not mean to imply that child and youth advocates are unaware of their predicament or oblivious to the systemic nature of socioeconomic inequality. Their ongoing struggle to retain risk programming in the face of cyclical funding cuts is ample evidence of their efforts to confront systemic challenges within structural constraints. The advocates and their "clients" are operating within relations of power, however, and may feel powerless to effect any real change. Just as child advocates operating as both policy makers and practitioners cannot simply change the state structures within which they work, neither can disadvantaged individuals merely resist oppressive structures and discriminatory practices (nor should they be expected to do so by virtue of being "taught" to be resilient). But this does not 1 7 Citing S. Fliegel, "Creative Non-Compliance," Choice and Control in American Education: Vol. 2. The Practice of Choice, Decentralization, and School Restructuring, eds. W. Clune and J. Witte (New York: Falmer, 1990) 199-216. Though the context is different (Elmore and Fuller are analyzing the conflicting assumptions and implications of introducing school choice) the phenomenon is the same: Addressing the problem of student performance by invoking the rhetoric of school choice—by moving students from one place to another—fails to deal with the underlying issue of systemic inequality. 10 suggest an impasse; instead, it is useful to recognize both constraints and connections in the considerable interactions among structures, agents, practices, and clients. For if practice cannot overtly challenge policy or structure, neither are these static or discrete, such that practice . . . is always responding to a situation. Practice is the transformation of that situation in a particular direction. To describe structure is to specify what it is in the situation that constrains the play of practice. Since the consequence of practice is a transformed situation which is the object of new practice, "structure'" specifies the way practice (over time) constrains practice. . . . Practice can be turned against what constrains it; so structure can be deliberately the object of practice. But practice cannot escape structure, cannot float free from its circumstances . . . It is always obliged to reckon with the constraints that are the precipitate of history. (Connell 1987, 95) Thus, advocacy practices are constrained by structure while also having structural effects. Such interaction is explicated by Connell's (1987) claim that individuals (including agents and clients of the state) are "constantly constituting their own culture" and both resisting and reproducing oppression (Eyre 1991, 196). While it is important to distinguish between adults and children when discussing risk and resiliency issues, or issues of individual or collective agency and structural constraint, it would be erroneous to assume that all adults have agency or that all at-risk or traumatized children are helpless victims (Martineau 1997,225-6). Nevertheless, while "human beings retain the capacity for agency . . . when oppressed and dominated by others" (Blum 1992, 6), it is a tall order to expect any child, especially a traumatized or disadvantaged child, to resist or rise up against their own oppression. But it would also be remiss not to ascribe agency to children, who may become politically active especially under adverse conditions (Cairns 1996; Thorne 1987). Thorne understands children as a complex social actors and political strategists, as actors and not just acted upon (101). Advocates and educators would do well to engage all young people—in addition to the traumatized and the disadvantaged—in personal, political, and educational struggles. 11 Challenging structural oppression and systemic disadvantage dislodges the one-sidedness of treating the individual and blaming the victim. When economically disadvantaged populations are the focus of treatments and programs that do not challenge structural oppression, such practices typically devolve into pathologizing the individual and, thus, the poor. These pathologizing practices can be challenged through individual and collective agency even within structural constraints and systemic practices. Reconceptualizing social programming in this way is not meant to detract from the importance of attending to the individual needs of those suffering from risk, distress, and trauma. But, in this light, the notion of teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools, which fails to challenge systemic discrimination, calls for a critical analysis of the resiliency discourse. Resilience as an Ideological Code Several normative ideals of success inform the contemporary construction of childhood resilience, including notions of survival, self-esteem, giftedness, empowerment, and achievement.18 Resilience itself has become an ideological code for mainstream success in its transformation from anomaly to social norm, manifest in its transition from scientific study to everyday speech, and from conscious intention to unconscious operation, respectively (D.E. Smith 1995, 1993).19 Ideological codes operate in everyday speech to reinforce social norms. Such codes can have deleterious effects on the marginalized and operate outside of conscious intention, even among those who resist their representations and those who work to ameliorate others' marginalization.20 Thus, the resiliency discourse imposes prescribed norms of school success and social success upon underprivileged See discussion of critiques of giftedness and self-esteem in Chapter Six. 1 9 This proliferation of "resilience" in everyday speech causes me to distinguish between formal and informal meanings in Chapter Three. 2 0 One code Smith discusses is "political correctness," which can actually operate to reaffirm institutional sexism and racism and to discredit, say, feminists who are fighting against sexism and racism (D.E. Smith 1995). Another such code is the "Standard North American Family" (SNAF). The S N A F code reiterates mainstream norms of marriage and mothering through everyday discourse and can have significant negative effects on disadvantaged families (D .E . Smith 1993). 12 children identified as at risk. The effect is that non-conforming individuals may be pathologized as non-resilient. Emphasis remains wholly on the individual and, thus, individualism is a dominant ideology embedded in the mainstream resiliency discourse. Two interwoven strands of individualism relevant to the resiliency rhetoric are notions of independence and self-improvement, based on mainstream economic and psychological standards and expectations, respectively. The economic strand is tied to modernist ideologies of rugged individualism and economic independence. The psychological strand is tied to modernist ideologies of self-help and self-reliance. These strands pathologize economic and emotional dependence of the individual. Moreover, economic "health" (employment) is now construed as an "essential element" in psychological health (Rose 1989, xi). Pathologizing the individual is partially perpetuated by psychometric studies carried out in the psychology disciplines.21 The psychological strand manifests in today's therapeutic recovery movement and its overarching emphasis on individual transformation. These economic and psychological ideologies of independence are myopic in their failure to foster interdependence within and between individual and structural levels of social life. Resilience as Rugged Individualism The contemporary construction of childhood resilience resonates with Enlightenment notions of "rugged individualism" and the "perfectibility of man" [sic] iterated in Charles Darwin's notion of "the survival of the fittest" in relation to species evolution. Social Darwinists adapted the theory of natural selection to rationalize individual drive and determinism in the social world (Sadovnik, The psychology disciplines include psychiatry, child psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, and adolescent psychopathology. Psychometry is defined as "the alleged ability to divine facts" (Random House 1994). Inherent in psychometrics is the belief that IQ tests, personality tests, and academic achievement scores, for example, provide facts about the person being measured. Psychometric or statistical studies on the resilience of young people are critiqued in Chapter Three. 13 Cookson, and Semel 1994, 24).22 But Darwin posited both individual competition and group cooperation—albeit, interdependence among the strong—as fundamental to the "struggle for existence" (Darwin 1981).23 Individualism and collectivism are integral to survival. Yet, though supportive relationships are often cited in psychology studies as necessary to childhood resilience (recalling the resiliency trait of sociability), the goal of teaching resilience in inner-city schools is too easily reduced to the demand that disadvantaged students exhibit "bootstrap" individualism in pursuit of free market independence (recalling the resiliency trait of autonomy). Pathologizing Dependence One goal of treating and teaching the individual, of funding risk and resiliency programming, and even of critiquing systemic disadvantage and structural oppression, is to foster individual independence, especially economic independence.24 This goal draws on the capitalist ideology that hard work permits disadvantaged individuals to achieve economic independence. Rugged or bootstrap individualism qua economic independence is the antithesis of interdependence, given the social stigma today of welfare dependence and given the modern maxim that "all dependency is suspect" (Fraser and Gordon 1994, 324). Dependency has become so associated with pathology and addiction—through modern medical and psychological discourses—as to further entrench 22 Interpreting the social order as natural selection, Social Darwinists attribute social change to natural progress or evolution and, thus, rationalize social elitism and cultural imperialism. See Runciman (1998); Trent (1998). ~ See Doskow (1997) for an explication of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's analysis of Social Darwinism. Gilman stressed that society was based on interdependence and cooperation rather than struggle and competition; she examined how Social Darwinism was appropriated to serve sexism, racism, and classism. Science historian Stephen Jay Gould cites one-sided interpretations of "the survival of the fittest" as the rationale for genocide and eugenics (Sutton 1998). 2 4 Historically, individualism as a political movement has had different philosophical meanings. In early Greek philosophy a man was an individual only as a member of a community; during the early Enlightenment period (early liberalism), individualism was intellectual in nature, such that religious dogma and theological truth came into question and multiple truths emerged (Russell 1984, 578-81). Since the 17th century, individualism has become entwined with piety, prudence, and property, as these were associated with the Protestant work ethic and the rise of capitalism, "for the prudent became rich while the imprudent became or remained poor" (593). See Russell's chapters on "Philosophical Liberalism" (577-83) and "Locke's Theory of Knowledge" (584-95). 14 independence as a social value (325).25 The practices of measuring and teaching resilience are based on the medical model of disorder, diagnosis, and treatment, a model that focuses primarily on individual personality (332). The possibility of individual and structural interactions collapses under the desire and drive for economic independence (with dependence as disorder). This desire—resilience qua rugged individualism qua economic independence—takes on particular meaning when the rhetoric of teaching resilience (as social norm) specifically targets disadvantaged children and youth without also challenging structural oppression. Targeting Disadvantage I am critical of targeting when "treating the individual" overrides attention to systemic inequality, which is not to suggest that targeting is always negative or that it should be eliminated. Eliminating targeting practices would preclude the possibility of meeting the socioeconomic needs of the disadvantaged; preferrably, targeting can usefully identify disadvantaged groups with special needs while providing a means of critiquing structural discrimination and systemic disadvantage. When I invoke targeting in relation to disadvantaged groups, however, I mean it to signal a practice of "cultural imperialism" that imposes "the cultural meanings, view of the good life, and the value system of the dominant group on all [other] groups" (Petrovic 1998, 46). Targeting in this latter sense generates several interrelated problems, such as effectively pathologizing difference, ignoring systemic discrimination and disadvantage, and invalidating or rendering invisible the needs and problems of non-targeted groups (Brodie 1996, 20). Negating the needs of non-targeted groups can further pathologize targeted populations, which undermines the need to continually critique structural inequality. Continually critiquing structural inequality, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association (1987), codified "Dependent Personality Disorder" (called DPD, 353^1) as an official psychopathology, one that is diagnosed most frequently in females (Fraser and Gordon 1994, 326). 15 however, may also contribute to neglecting the needs of non-targeted groups. This circularity suggests that we need to consciously attend to each of Brodie's concerns. Viewing targeting as problematic is integral to critiquing the covert characterization of resilience as rugged individualism and economic independence. In fact, the association of individual dependence with economic disadvantage rationalizes the notion of teaching resilience to targeted populations. Resilience as Self-Improvement Resilience as rugged individualism and economic independence is reinforced by the rise of the modem day recovery movement.26 The recovery movement is greatly informed by psychometric studies; each involves the psy-sciences and individual pathologies. In addition, with its emphasis on self-help, self-reliance, and self-interest, the recovery movement reflects a tradition that "dates back at least as far as the seventeenth century, when Puritan notions of Christianity promoted self-improvement as part of its philosophy" (Sandell 1996, 22).27 With its 12-step programs, self-help literature, and psychotherapeutic techniques, the recovery movement and its practitioners are embracing the notion that resilience can be "taught" (that is, replicated, reproduced) to its clientele. In one author's acerbic critique of the self-help industry in the USA, she marks resilience as "the next hot personal-development concept" in the recovery movement (Kaminer 1993, xiv). The Recovery Movement Kaminer's critique reinforces links between the economic and psychological strands of resilience as individualism. She posits that a growing backlash in the 1990s against the recovery 2 6 Though they are related, there is a distinction between the recovery movement in general and psychometric studies in particular. The recovery movement is more apt to attract middle-class clients who either seek out individual or group counselling voluntarily or who are referred for counselling by their medical doctors (In BC, psychiatric treatment is covered by medical insurance, whereas psychological counselling is paid by individual clients). Conversely, psychometric studies tend to target accessible groups—usually university students or disadvantaged populations—for the purpose of collecting survey and statistical data. 27 It is commonly held today that therapy is a secular equivalent of religious confession and clerical counselling. 16 movement—with its "ever-expanding" notions of abuse and addiction and its "preoccupations with victimization"—has caused personal development experts to "slyly reinvent" the recovery movement as a resiliency movement (Kaminer 1993, xiv), inferring a change in name only.28 When she critiques the "cult of victimization" integral to the recovery movement (or the resiliency movement), Kaminer pathologizes dependence—here psychological instead of economic—and joins the backlash in her dismissal of the recovery movement and its nominal resiliency movement. In so doing, she explicitly claims that, one, "people can be incredibly resilient," two, resilience is not necessarily associated with trauma and, three, resilience is more normal than anomalous (xiv-xv). According to Kaminer, individual recovery is unnecessary because individual resilience is ubiquitous, a view that invokes resilience as bootstrap individualism, even as invulnerability to trauma, and these as mainstream social norms. The economic strand pathologizes dependence, champions independence, and turns a blind eye to systemic socioeconomic disadvantage. The psychological strand both "depends" upon and pathologizes individual dependence, ultimately champions independence, and turns a blind eye to what can be easily construed as systemic psychological victimization sanctioned by a plethora of diagnostic disorders.29 Therapeutic Feminism The psychological and economic strands of individualism are both distinct and intertwined. Their connections are further explicated in a feminist critique of the rise of a recovery culture within "therapeutic feminism," a culture that focuses on individual coping strategies and ignores the need 28 This nominal reinvention of the recovery movement as a resiliency movement mirrors the child and youth advocacy community's rationale for nominally switching from risk programming to resiliency programming. 2 9 (Bowman 1997; Davis 1997; Hacking 1998; McMartin 1998; Wigod 1996). A barely constrained litany of psychological disorders is authorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA DSM-IV 1994), which is revised and updated every four years. The DSM pathologizes the human condition according to critics who cali it a self-serving "bible" that generates massive profits for the psy-sciences through the treatments, technologies, and therapies of a mushrooming professional apparatus. 17 for ongoing social and structural change (Sandell 1996). Much like Kaminer, Sandell eschews a "nation of victims" awash in psychoanalysis, individual self-interest,30 and 12-step recovery programs (21-3). But though Sandell seeks a major shift in focus from individual self-reliance to institutional responsibility, she does not dismiss the usefulness of individual recovery strategies. Rather, she devalues individualism (which she associates with capitalism and patriarchy), privileges collectivism (which she associates with democracy and feminism), and articulates the need to challenge oppressive ideologies and systemic discrimination: The rise of therapy, the American attachment to individualism, and the increase of recovery programs, while separate social and historical processes, reinforce each other in significant ways. They all bespeak a belief that individual acts of transformation can transcend the power and influence of institutions, institutions which often oppress groups and individuals because of their gender, class, and/or race. . . . Built into the structure of therapy and recovery is a belief that society per se cannot be changed and it is futile for us to think that it can be, [that] we have control over only our own individual acts of transformation. (Sandell 1996, 23) Sandell devalues individualism sans collectivism. Just like the economic strand, the psychological strand ignores the need to challenge systemic inequality. Each strand is tied to a parallel history, one to the Enlightenment perfectibility of man, the other to the Puritan ideal of self-improvement.31 The psychological strand reinforces the notion that "individual acts of transformation" are necessary and sufficient to overcoming structural oppression and systemic disadvantage. Psychometric studies contribute substantially to this notion of individualism and inform the contemporary construction of resilience as an ideological code for conformity to the social norm. To this end, the majority of psychometric studies on childhood resilience stress economic disadvantage (dependence) as the primary cause of risk and academic achievement (independence) as the primary effect of resilience. Disadvantage and achievement are 3 0 Here, self-interest is more "me-ism," more privileged indulgence than rugged individualism. 3 1 See Max Weber's brilliant study of the historical interplay between capitalist individualism and Calvinist aestheticism in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1976). 18 certainly among the most observable and measurable of variables, but they make strange bedfellows when targeting risk populations and treating the individual continue to eclipse rather than accompany critical analyses of systemic discrimination. Children's Risk in Historical Context Having posed targeting risk populations and treating the individual as problematic, targeting is particularly troubling in the discourse on childhood resilience and the politics of teaching resilience. There are three overlapping problems. First is the slip from anomaly to social norm in the resiliency research; second is the detachment of resilience from complex trauma associated with traumatic events across class and culture; third is the shift in focus from trauma to risk in relation to resilience, where risk is commonly defined by socioeconomic disadvantage. Key here is the emphasis on risk. Just as the economic and psychological strands of individualism inform the contemporary emergence of resilience as an ideological code, so the rhetoric around risk strongly influences the resiliency discourse itself. Integral to my analysis of resilience, then, is the importance of viewing children's risk in historical context. The current conception of childhood resilience, along with its roots in early psychology studies of children's coping and competency, is circumscribed by the historical contexts and constructs of children's risk. Stories of risk permeate the histories of Western childhood and are essential to understanding that risk is neither new, necessarily worse, nor eradicable, nor can notions of resilience replace, reduce, or prevent risk. Critical educational researchers assert that we can only adequately critique and understand social phenomena if we also understand history (Donmoyer 1997b). Similarly, philosopher Michel Foucault reads history as "the history of the present, of the conditions that make us think now that we are people of a certain kind" (Marshall 1990, 18). Thus, history is re-interpreted through re-writing and re-reading, and is reproduced as much by omission as by commission. The critical study 19 of history can be a means of explicating the present and the present can be a lens for illuminating the past. In these ways, the history of children's risk necessarily includes stories past and present. Perceptions of children's risk are contradictory, exemplified by the coexistence of childhood historians who perceive considerable social progress in relation to the past—and claim that things have never been better—and child and youth advocates who perceive increasing social distress for young people in the present—and fear that things have never been worse. The former view is based primarily on evidence of progressive improvements in child health, welfare, and education over the past 100 years.32 The latter view is based on a number of concerns, including common perceptions of public spaces as increasingly dangerous places in relation to children's health, welfare, and safety,33 and inaccurate assumptions about decreasing school achievement levels and increasing school dropout rates.34 Taken together, these opposing perceptions suggest that some things are better and some things are worse. A more apt view of the history of children's risk, past and present, is the insight that "the paradoxical nature of childhood hardly makes for either a success story or an unmitigated tragedy" (Rooke and Schnell 1983, 390). It is important to keep risk in perspective and to cultivate a historical view that neither demonizes nor romanticizes past, present, and future. Many of the earlier childhood historians presented histories of Western childhood as linear progress and culminated their studies with claims of improved attitudes toward children regardless 32 See, for example, Children in English-Canadian Society: Framing the Twentieth Century Consensus (Sutherland 1976). Such consensus historians focus on improvements in children's health, welfare, and education as represented by increasing services, institutions, and professionals. 3 3 Several of the child advocates whom I interviewed expressed concern about lack of child safety and protection. 3 4 Overall consensus is difficult to harness concerning the status of academic achievement levels, due to discrepancies in measurement variables (see Baker 1997; Bracey 1997; Stedman 1997a, 1997b). Regarding drop-out rates, see Kelly (1992). Kelly cites statistics indicating that high school dropout rates have been declining steadily in the 20th century (see also Anisef and Andres 1996; Roman 1996). 20 of the time period examined (Pollock 1983).35 But Pollock asserts that "it is as much a mistake to claim a 'happy ending' for the history of childhood as it is to claim that the beginning of the story was a 'nightmare'" (58). Children past and present have been both safe and unsafe, adored and abused and, thus, an evolutionary model of advancing childhood has no validity (Shahar 1990). Nor is the opposite view valid in and of itself, a view that idealizes the past as a safe haven for children, one held by some historians as well as by several advocates whom I interviewed.36 A critical reading of the history of childhood reveals that children's risk and distress are ever-present, just as the care and nurture of children are ever-present; critical analyses of the history of childhood illustrate that children are always facing both care and harm and that these are intimately intertwined.37 But what constitutes risk and distress, even care and nurture, as well as resilience, may be constructed differently across time and place. Children's risk has a history as long as history itself, as does resilience, the latter of which in other times and places might have meant heroism or perhaps stoicism.38 It is instructive, therefore, to connect current conceptions of children's risk and resilience with children's risk and child welfare in English Canada over the past 100 years.39 In this respect, increasing attention to risk and resilience today is partly associated with public perceptions of increasing immigration and of immigrants as others, as visible minorities living in 3 5 See Aries (1962; DeMause (1974); Demos (1970); Greven (1977). The discipline of the history of childhood allegedly began with Philippe Aries' book, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life (1962). 3 6 See Postman (1982); Sommerville (1982, 1992). 3 7 For excellent examples of this genre, see Donzelot (1979); Hendrick (1994); Heywood (1988); Pollock (1983); Shahar (1990); Vincent (1982); Wolff (1988). 38 Writing about war, Canadian journalist William Thorsell claims that "we are not as tough as we once were, less stoic in the face of trauma" (1998). 39 Some of my historical citations draw from England, Norway, France, and the United States. These are relevant to the history of childhood in English-Canada in social contexts where Canadian culture is historically associated with, and influenced by, British, European, and American cultures. 21 disadvantaged circumstances.40 This increasing attention is also associated with contemporary constructions of the "dropout problem" and "youth at risk" among disadvantaged adolescents who are posited as threats to society.41 In addition, many of the advocates whom I interviewed expressed an impending sense of anomie concerning global economics and its negative effects on educational and employment opportunities for young people in Canada.42 Coterminous with increasing social and educational services developed under progressive policies for at-risk children and youth (things have never been better) is the assumption among child advocates and many others that children's safety is increasingly in peril (things have never been worse). This assumption is intensified by the multiplying number of clinical researchers conducting psychometric studies of youth at risk and increasingly classifying and sub-classifying the troubles of young people (Offer and Schonert-Reichl 1992). It is exemplified by a prominent social service provider whom I interviewed: I think [what] is really tough for kids today is the whole question of safety and I'm not only talking about safety in the family but the feeling generically that society's not safe, that our parks aren't safe, our schools aren't safe, our streets aren't safe. And I'm a little bit worried about it becoming a self-feeding kind of thing. . . . And so I think that the worry about who you can trust, who you can talk to, and all of that, I think that's a real distressor for children these days. [Elspethf3 These two factors—the measuring and cataloguing of children's risks and abuses and the belief that society is increasingly unsafe for children—are further exacerbated by the proliferation 4 0 According to Canadian immigration tables, the annual rate of immigration has been fairly consistent since 1851 (the year official population statistics began to be recorded). Between 1851 and 1991 the annual rate (based on 10-year averages) was at its highest during the first decade of the 20th century, at 3.04% of the total population, and at its lowest during the Depression, at .13% of the total population. The average annual rates were .89% in the decade 1852-1861 and .55% (less than 1% of the population) in the decade 1982-1991. Public perceptions of immigration problems may be distorted when new immigrant groups are more visible due to such differences as skin colour, foreign language, and religious practice. I compiled these immigration statistics from Historical Statistics of Canada (Second Edition, Statistics Canada, 1983); Canada Year Book 1990 (Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1989); Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Immigration Statistics 1992 (Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1994). 4 1 See discussion in Chapter Six. 4 2 See discussion in Chapter Five. [Elspeth] is a pseudonym. See Appendix A for an explanation of my use of names and pseudonyms and Appendix F for a list of advocates' pseudonyms identified by gender and profession. 22 of labels describing "kids at risk." These labels include the hurried, distressed, hyperactive, or latch-key child; the disruptive, dyslexic, deviant, or delinquent child; the lonely, divorced, refugee, or immigrant child.44 The negative and totalizing impact of risk labels is emphasized all the more by such counter labels as the good, gifted, popular, or successful child and, now, the resilient child. Children and youth today are deemed "at risk" for abuse, neglect, crime, poverty, addiction, dropping out, early pregnancy, and so on. Increased labelling gives the impression that these risks are either new on the social horizon or that young people are more susceptible to danger and disorder than ever before. This impression feeds, and feeds on, a nostalgic view of the past. Types of risk may shift across time and place, and across class and culture, but children have always been vulnerable to serious forms of risk. Consider, for example, children's health issues: young people today face such life-threatening "diseases" as suicide,45 alcohol and drug addiction and overdose, and eating disorders like obesity, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa. They are also vulnerable to hepatitis and the HIV-AIDS virus, other new and recurring viral and bacterial strains,46 and iatrogenic illnesses and environmental threats that are caused by modern advances in medicine and technology, respectively.47 That some of these phenomena are partially voluntary and potentially preventable is all the more cause for concern. Dying from childhood diseases, however, was a 4 4 In California, children entering infant and toddler day cares are categorized as "feisty," "fearful," or "flexible" and are placed accordingly. A video titled Flexible, Fearful & Feisty: The Temperaments of Infants and Toddlers documents this tracking and streaming of infants and toddlers in select child care centres where feisty children are placed with careworkers who are "good with feisty children," and so on. The video was shown at an advocacy conference [F-950421]. 4 5 See White and Rouse (1997) for a comprehensive demographic report on suicide in BC. 4 6 Young people today face such threats as the recurrence of small pox, tuberculosis, and new generations of deadly viruses that are either immune to, or caused by the misuse of, antibiotic drugs (Nichols 1996), as well as neurological disorders caused by environmental (synthetic) chemicals in the food supply that mimic human hormones (Begley 1996). 4 7 Iatrogenic illness and infection are medically caused: "latrogenesis is the process by which illness, impairment or death results from medical treatment," including such consequences as infections, addictions, electrocutions, anesthesia accident, and unnecessary surgeries (Boston 1984, 556). Most hospitals fight continuous outbreaks of staph (staphylococcic) infections that are increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatments. These staph or nosocomial infections are not brought into hospitals but, rather, "are produced within the hospital environment and carried by doctors and nurses..." (583). 23 serious and widespread threat to families in the past, one that has been greatly diminished by modem medicine. Children died or suffered from epidemics, starvation, and common birth traumas, as well as from the "misery version" of industrial child labour (Schrumpf 1993, 1995), and from farm and factory accidents involving industrial machinery. Though factory labour eventually became preferable to farm labour for many rural families during Canada's difficult transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy, poor immigrants and their children too often met with disaster, disease, and death in the urban ghettos and factories where they came to live and work (Parr 1980, 1982). Industrial and exploitative child labour has been abolished in Canada, but some school-aged children are slowly being re-integrated into today's technology workforce.48 Thus, our notions of danger and safety in relation to child labour may need to be reconsidered. Media stories tell of juveniles (mostly boys) now working as software programmers and beta testers, for example, and perhaps we too easily celebrate their precocity, unaware of hazards that may await them. In addition, we are now aware of the abuse and neglect that can befall many child television performers as incidents of their drug addictions, deficient educations, and criminal convictions make the headlines (Bachrach 1996; Gleick 1996).49 We are also learning of prepubescent female Olympic athletes (particularly in gymnastics and ice-skating) who train for 40 hours a week and suffer eating disorders, stunted bone growth, and delayed onset of menstruation (Naylor 1995). Such examples suggest a new breed of labour-related child abuses. As well as child health and labour concerns, there are numerous accounts of adult coercion and sexual abuse of children and youth—past and present—in institutional settings. We know now 48 In non-industrial societies (hunting and gathering, fishing and farming) children may have been more integrated into adult society, and in industrial societies children may be more segregated from adult society (Berggreen 1988). 4 9 Knowledge of these consequences are fairly recent, given that the first child television performers from the 1960s and 1970s have reached adulthood only in the last 10-15 years. Some former "child stars" are now acting as mentors to children working in television today. Though there were child stars of film and vaudeville preceding the television era, perhaps it is television itself and the era of mass media that is making the problems of such children common knowledge. 24 of the abuses of boys and girls in churches, nurseries, day cares, orphanages, reformatories, regiments, sports arenas, and schools for the deaf, as well as in their own families.50 Historically, children have been deprived and brutalized in Catholic monasteries (Shahar 1990), in British boarding schools (Behlmer 1982), in Native residential schools (Barman 1996), and in Canadian public schools (Curtis 1988). In schooling's early history many children faced aggravated mental and physical cruelty due to the emotional humiliation and corporal punishment administered by their school teachers (Behlmer 1982). These accounts have surfaced alongside the increasing incidents— or perhaps the increasingly reported incidents—of violence in schools today among young people.51 Consider also that today's children of family divorce in many ways mirror yesterday's children of family death and dessertion, which brings into question received notions of the historical stability of the nuclear family. Moreover, even though the middle class has effectively mythologized the private family as a "haven in a heartless world" (Hareven 1991; Lasch 1977), poor and working-class families past and present have typically been subject to "policing" by the state and its agencies of social control (Donzelot 1979). In this light, consider the "doubleness" of such words as discipline and examination as these have been visited upon the minds and bodies of school children (Hoskin 1990, 51), particularly poor and immigrant school children. Interacting with perceptions of escalating children's risk, then, is the increasing surveillance of children and youth deemed at risk. Child welfare practices that largely involve governing children 5 0 There are countless reports, analyses, and auto/biographies of child abuse and neglect. See Danica (1990); DeSalvo (1989); Freyd (1996); Gove (1995); Greven (1977, 1990); Hacking (1991); Harrison (1997); Hendrick (1994); Herman (1992); McGillivray (1992); Miller (1983, 1986, 1990a, 1990b); Nelson (1984); Rymer (1994); Wolff (1988). 5 1 The current debate concerning the causes of violence among children and youth and whether particular kinds of violence are increasing or decreasing can be argued in many different ways, depending on the demographics. Three factors influencing the debate are the role of the mass media in reporting violence, our culture of surveillance and sensationalism, and the exposure of young people to virtual violence in movies, television, videos, and computer games. See, for example, Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction of Childhood, especially the editors' Introduction, "No More Secrets— Kinderculture, Information Saturation, and the Postmodern Childhood" (Steinberg and Kincheloe 1997, 1-30). 25 in the lower classes (Rose 1989) are supported by policies that maintain class inequality while promoting equity and equality (Parr 1980). Class inequality informs the make-up of many psychometric studies of children in educational settings, studies that are enmeshed with our history of surveillance. Foucault describes surveillance as a normalizing gaze "that makes it possible to qualify, to classify, and to punish. It establishes over individuals a visibility through which one differentiates them and judges them" (Foucault 1977, 184). This normalizing gaze represents the regulation of a statistical norm around which those in power judge who and what is normal or abnormal. Among others, it is especially focused on disadvantaged children and youth. Psychometric and surveillance practices demonstrate the power of education, as educational institutions provide the sites where the surveillance of children most often occurs (Ball 1990, 5). In addition, educational practices of control and classification are "often paradoxically linked to humanitarian rhetoric of reform and progress: streaming, remedial classes, off-site units and sanctuaries, informal or invisible pedagogies" (Ball 4).52 The objectification of children under the normalizing gaze, with its statistical norm(s), is verified by the increasing attention paid to student profiles and academic achievement levels (4).53 Professionals engaged in such education-based surveillance strategies construct ever new categories and classifications of children's risk (Marshall 1990, 24). Ultimately, children deemed at risk are labelled competent or incompetent, and now resilient or non-resilient, through a professional practice cloaked in the mystique of science and scientific studies. This practice points to the larger tendency of accepting scientific claims and 52 Citing B. Bernstein, Class, Codes and Control (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975) vol. 3. 5 3 Citing A. Hargreaves, "Record Breakers?" Profiles and Records of Achievement, ed. P. Broadfoot (Eastbourne: Holt-Saunders, 1986). 26 medical treatments as panaceas—as "biological solutions" to social problems (McLaren 1990)54— and of locating social problems in targeted groups and pathologized individuals. Economically disadvantaged children and their families are too easily targeted and pathologized through a disturbing model of social intervention that lacks a critical analysis of structural inequalities and that is reminiscent of Canada's earlier eugenics movement (Martineau 1996).55 The sorting and disordering of children—measuring, classifying, and labelling—involves aggressive surveillance strategies, albeit carried out with good intentions, in the fields of education, psychology, and child welfare. Today the educational state joins with the "therapeutic state" in the development of social and educational programs that seem only to expand, and do not transform, current institutional approaches to children's risk (Rappaport 1986, 152):56 This underlies much of what is called prevention: find so-called high-risk people and save them from themselves, if they like it or not, by giving them, or even better, their children, programs that we develop, package, sell, operate, or otherwise control. Teach them how to fit in and be less of a nuisance. Convince them that a change in their test scores is somehow the same as a change in their life [italics added]. Operating our interventions through the professionally controlled educational and social agencies developed during the progressive era fosters this attitude, because it is consistent with the culture of these settings. Thus, we are consultants, not to people, but to agencies, schools, and other sanctioned social agents. (Rappaport 152)57 5 4 There have been many epochs when social and physical scientists have explicitly invoked biological solutions to social problems. For contemporary proponents of sociobiology, see, for example, The Inevitability of Patriarchy (Goldberg 1974); E.O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975); Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (New York: The Free Press, 1994); and Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994). For an expose of eugenics, see Our Own Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885-1945 (McLaren 1990). 5 5 One of the more tragic manifestations of the normalizing gaze in Canada was eugenicism, the social engineering of the poor and "immigrant masses" during the first half of this century. Many came under surveillance as "unfit for breeding" (McLaren 1990), and were tested as "feebleminded" through the use of culturally-biased 1Q tests (Gould 1981). Another example of the normalizing gaze occurred in Canada's attempt to solve "the Indian problem" by assimilating and "civilizing" Aboriginal children in Catholic-run residential schools, also during the first half of this century (Barman 1996). 5 6 Citing N. Kittrie, The Right to be Different: Deviance and Enforced Therapy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1974); and D.J. Rothman, Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and its Alternatives in Progressive America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980). 5 7 Citing G.W. Fairweather, Social Change: The Challenge to Survival (Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press, 1972). 27 Progressivism has provided the optimistic appearance of progress in terms of reducing children's risk. Also, current resiliency rhetoric holds out the promise of progress in overcoming risk. Examples of risk past and present hopefully succeed in countering one-directional notions of either progress or regress where children's risk is concerned. Simultaneous notions of progress and regress (each of which holds some validity) reflect the fluctuating perceptions of children's risks, which interact with historical cycles of denial and shifts in focus. For example, poverty has been a serious risk for young people past and present, so much so that contemporary improvements in health and welfare services may actually be providing society with a false sense of security. This fallacy occurs because of the economic instability of the social safety net and the implications this holds for, say, children of single mothers (Brodie 1996). Also, child abuse has been a serious risk for children past and present. Yet there have been fluctuations in perceptions of the occurrence of abuse over the past 100 years due to a variety of circumstances. These include cycles of denial in society generally (Wolff 1988), social workers shifting their attention away from one form of abuse to focus on another (Gordon 1988, 176), and broadening definitions of what constitutes abuse (Greven 1990; Hacking 1995). There is now a perception that corporal punishment, for example, is on the decline in families (Strauss 1995).58 Paediatric radiologists "discovered" the battered baby syndrome in the 1950s (Hendrick 1994,243-6; Wolff 1988,61,241). Feminists "rediscovered" child sexual abuse in the 1970s.59 The crippling effects of verbal and emotional abuse are being acknowledged in the 1990s (Fairholm and Woodhouse 1997). But none of these abuses is new. Repetitive media coverage of child abuse stories is contributing to received notions that risk is on the rise when, historically, "cruelty and According to a recent report in Newsweek, 70% of parents in the USA "spank" their children (M.J. Weiss 1998). (Bell 1993; DeSalvo 1989; Hanmer and Maynard 1987; G. Rubin 1975; Stanko 1985). 28 exploitation, loathed by everyone, have been omnipresent" (Hacking 1995, 55). Media-incited public outrage over the deaths of children in care in BC is actually causing an increase in child welfare apprehensions, which in turn is influencing the public perception—again incited by the media—that child abuse and neglect are on the rise.60 Conversely, the notion that physical abuse and corporal punishment,61 for example, are in retreat is fomenting a crisis among conservative media, parents, and educators who feel that today's young people are out of control. A potential right-wing backlash against this perception of, and fear of, parental permissiveness is paralleled by arguments for cutbacks in protective services for abused children (Finkelhor 1994). Fluctuations in perceptions of excessive punishment and permissiveness have occurred throughout the history of child welfare (Gordon 1988), as have approaches to dealing with young people deemed at risk. Changing approaches are most evident in English-Canada's own history of "child-saving" strategies, which include religious refuges, public asylums, legislated orphanages, reform schools, legalized adoptions, home foster care, and a variety of social and educational programs (Rooke and Schnell 1983).62 Inherent in these evolving child welfare endeavours is the "constantly changing criteria of the concept of childhood" (17). One progressive childhood historian concedes that happy and unhappy childhoods, though they may be constructed differently across time and place, and class and culture, are not limited to any particular era (Sutherland 1997, 263-4). 6 0 Public outrage in 1996 over the deaths of children either "in care" or "known to the ministry" (then the Ministry of Social Services) was initially incited by the media's misinterpretation of government statistics. I reached this conclusion after comparing the government's press release with the Vancouver Sun's (Beatty 1996) reportage. 6 1 Physical abuse and corporal punishment are not the same. Physical abuse is always corporal punishment, but the latter cannot always be construed as child abuse. In any case, "physical assault" as an acceptable discipline of children, as currently inscribed in Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code, is being legally challenged by a cross-Canada coalition of feminist legal analysts, social activists and researchers, and child and youth advocates and their agencies. The Toronto-based legal aid organization, Justice for Children and Youth: Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law, is engaged in a court challenge to Section 43 of the Criminal Code. See Ailsa M . Watkinson, "Prohibiting Corporal Punishment: In the Name of the Charter, the Child and Societal Values" in The Management of Values: Organizational and Educational Issues, ed. Samuel Natale (Boston: University Press of America, 1998). 6 2 For a fascinating account of the first reform school for "wayward girls" in North America, see Brenzel (1983). 29 It is futile to debate whether past risks were more or less severe or dangerous or prevalent than present risks. Rather, risk is ever-present and subject to change and fluctuation in different historical contexts. Eschewing change for the sake of change (change as progress), it is my assertion that the histories of childhood, child welfare, and children's risk temper panacean notions of teaching resilience and are integral to the critical analysis of childhood resilience. The historical view suggests that child advocates should neither panic, thinking that things have never been worse, nor become complacent, thinking that things have never been better. Nor should policy makers and practitioners assume that all risk or trauma occurs in disadvantaged populations or that all disadvantaged populations are at risk or traumatized. Rather, children's risk, distress, and trauma deserve unwavering attention wherever they occur. Summary I have only skimmed the histories of children's risk and accompanying cycles, shifts, and surveillance strategies. They are histories interwoven with the psychological and economic strands of Western individualism, as rooted in tenets of independence and self-improvement. In this vein, the historical context of children's risk and the state-sanctioned surveillance of at-risk children and youth provide a compelling backdrop for challenging contemporary notions of childhood resilience and teaching resilience. Problematic is the slippage from childhood resilience as an anomaly associated with complex trauma to today's construction of resilience as an ideological code for conformity to social norms. In addition, the "promising" uptake of teaching resilience to kids at risk in order to rejuvenate risk programming and program funding is confounded in multiple ways. Child advocates' dedication to helping disadvantaged young people, for example, stands uneasily alongside the call for at-risk children and youth to conform to mainstream norms in the name of resilience. Also, given the targeting of disadvantaged populations for social programming, the failure of such 30 programs to challenge structural oppression and systemic discrimination is exacerbated by the structural constraints under which child and youth advocates work.63 A range of concerns, then, provide the context for my critical discourse analysis of childhood resilience. Chapter Two sets out my theoretical and methodological framework, in a synthesis of post-structuralism, standpoint epistemology, critical discourse analysis, and narrative and interpretive inquiry. Descriptions of the data collection, data analysis, and data demographics are contained in the Appendixes. Chapter Three goes to the heart of the matter, providing a critical analysis of divergent resiliency discourses emanating from psychometric (statistical) studies and psychotherapeutic (narrative) stories. Here I develop conditional criteria for recognizing resilience, criteria that reinstate trauma as a necessary precursor to resilience. Using these criteria as a critical lens, I outline the political effects of slippages from trauma to risk and from anomaly to social norm in the dominant discourse. My analysis challenges assumptions, integral to mainstream resiliency studies, that childhood resilience can be measured, defined, and taught. In Chapter Four I more specifically address resiliency traits and assemble various resiliency conditions and characteristics, and research paradigms and perspectives, based on the literature. This assemblage allows me to explore possible intersections between the divergent resiliency discourses and to identify opportunities for dialogue. Chapter Five explicates the advocates' focused interviews on children's risk, childhood resilience, and teaching resilience. Here I interpret advocates' perceptions of resilience in the context of their personal and professional experience, the structural constraints on their advocacy practices, and the politics of teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools. The final Chapter Six reviews the slippages in the resiliency discourse, and includes a brief overview of current critiques of risk rhetoric, some of which are now problematically taking 6 3 Such systems, of course, are continually being challenged by socialist feminists and other social critics. The point is, they are not challenged by social and educational programs intended to help individuals overcome systemic disadvantage. 31 up resilience as a panacea for risk. It also includes the advocates' rearticulation of social and educational programming, and their visions of the social roles of teaching and schooling, relevant to children's risk and resilience. Problematizing resilience sets the stage for a critical discourse analysis of childhood resilience and the politics of teaching resilience to targeted populations. It also recalls my opening questions: What is childhood resilience? Can resilience be taught? What constitutes risk, and who are those being categorized as kids at risk? Why are inner-city schools targeted for teaching resilience? Easy answers will not suffice. Notwithstanding the good intentions and grave concerns advocacy professionals hold for the plight of children facing severe risk and trauma, problematizing resilience causes me to raise a more complex set of questions. , Is the rise of interest in resilience an unexamined reaction to perceptions of escalating risk, perceptions caused by, for example, excessive mass media coverage and the proliferation of psychometric studies? Do competing interests for research and advocacy funding override the politics of teaching resilience to targeted risk populations? Is resilience just another name for risk in terms of social and educational programming that escalates the surveillance and social control of systemically disadvantaged populations? Is "teaching resilience" a call for disadvantaged children and youth to conform to the social norms of the dominant society by participating in programs that do not challenge the reproduction of systemic inequality? Problematizing the resiliency discourse in these ways is my bid, in the words of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker (1973), to fashion something and make an offering of it, so to speak. 32 2. THEORY AS METHOD: A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION Look to tlye essence of a thing, wlpether it be a point of doctrine, of practice, or of interpretation.1 UNDERTAKING A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE is, theoretically and methodologically, a matter of interpretation, and a matter of multiple interpretations. As a social researcher I am interpreting the interpretations of others, sifting professional discourses and personal narratives through the fdters of my social location, life experience, and analytical perspective. My critical analysis of childhood resilience produces a "representation of knowledge" constructed from a politics of positionality that strives to make strategic use of my location, experience, and education (Skeggs 1995, 18).2 It also considers the positionality of resiliency researchers and child and youth advocates. Identifying my own positionality in the research process—illuminating what motivates me, for example, to analyze childhood resilience, to undertake discourse analysis, and to interview professional advocates—follows the feminist insight that all knowledge is "socially situated knowledge" (Haraway 1991; Harding 1991).3 1 Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D. 121-80), Meditations VIII, trans. Morris Hickey Morgan (1859-1910) 22. 2 Citing G.C. Spivak, "Strategies of Vigilance," Block 5 (1985): 5-9. The "politics of positionality" refers to the relationships among our social locations, subject positions (say, as researcher), and personal experiences. "Positionalities are part of a constantly shifting context in a nexus of overlapping conditions such as economic, institutional, discursive, cultural" (Skeggs 1995, 18), citing L. Alcoff, "Cultural Feminism Versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory," Signs 13.3 (1988): 405-36. 3 See "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective" (Haraway 1991, 183-201), and '"Strong Objectivity' and Socially Situated Knowledge" (Harding 1991, 138—63). 33 But (my) research is no more wholly subjective than it could claim to be wholly objective. Rather, I do aspire to strong objectivity, linking situated knowledge with critical analysis in the pursuit of making "the most objective knowledge claims" (Harding 1991, 142). Strong objectivity resonates with the call for accountability in Haraway's insistence that one's social location be explicit and specific to the production and representation of knowledge (1991, 111). This interaction between the research and the researcher (and the researched) is a complex process. I both influence, and am influenced by, who and what I research. Just as my positionality influences the research, so the research "impinges upon the subjectivity of the researcher. . . . Their research is deeply located in their lives" (Skeggs 1995, 11), a claim to which I attest in the case of researching resilience. I have been careful not to see resilience only through my own experience, having learned much about what resilience is and is not through the personal and professional experiences of others. No single experience of resilience can be sufficiently representative, because "experience is at once always already an interpretation and in need of interpretation" (Skeggs 1995, 17).4 Neither the researcher nor the researched can be reduced to their personal experiences when larger political processes act in producing their positionalities. Nor does anyone's research represent a single reality (or ultimate truth), for "reality it seems is a text, subject to multiple interpretations, multiple readings, multiple uses" (Apple 1991, vii). This otherwise unruly interpretive process can be both informed and tempered by standpoint theory (discussed below), a move that "destabilizes the modern-post-modern binary divide" between materialism and interpretivism, respectively (Barrett Citing Joan Scott, "Experience," eds. J. Butler and J. Scott, Feminists Theorize the Political (London: Routledge, 1992). 34 1992, 216).5 In this respect, the production and the interpretation of text always occur in sociopolitical context. Feminist Standpoint Epistemology Standpoint theory is not reducible to egocentricity, to the truth from where I stand. Rather, it includes and legitimates personal history by emphasizing the connections between social location and life experience. Occupying these connective spaces are larger political processes—social forces and relations of power—that act to influence our production of knowledge and produce our positional politics. In this sense, our "lives shape and are shaped by the social order" (Griffith and Smith 1991, 83). In other words, I am not only female and, therefore, vulnerable to and gendered by sexism, but I am also White and, therefore, immune to but implicated in institutional racism in Canadian society. I not only have personal experience of risk and resilience, but I choose to study risk and resilience as a social researcher. My positionality—my personal and political narratives— intertwine with other narratives in the research on, and representation of, resilience. My personal interest in analyzing resilience is circumscribed by witnessing and experiencing escalating abuse and trauma during childhood and by dealing with the effects of complex trauma during adulthood. These two life-defining periods underwrite my becoming a mature university student and doing critical social research on children's issues. I started graduate studies intending to conduct research on the prevention of child abuse. As a result of preliminary research, however, I became disenchanted with the ideology of prevention. Instead, my studies in feminist theory and critical ethnography persuaded me to undertake an ethnographic study of child abuse prevention programs in school settings. But then I attended the advocacy conference where I first heard the 5 See my discussion of structural materialism later in this chapter. Barrett recommends Benhabib and Cornell (1987); Fraser (1989); Hekman (1990); Nicholson (1990). See also Rita Felski, Beyond Feminist Aesthetics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989) ch 2. 35 phrase "the resilient child." I was both captured by its resonance with my experience and attuned to the problems its interpretation represented. For the next four months the word resilience rolled around in my mind. Was I resilient? Did I fit the characteristics of resilience? Where did risk leave off and resilience begin? I asked others, "Are you resilient?" "What do you think resilience means?" This is how my research started: from personal experiences, questions, and observations, and from discussions with friends, relatives, and colleagues. In addition, I was cognizant of the totalizing effect of labelling children: the abused child, the at-risk child, the distressed child, and now the resilient child. I doubted that resilience was measurable and teachable, doubted that it was a fixed set of traits or a permanent state of being, doubted that if you were resilient you were not at risk and vice-versa. I decided to change my thesis topic from child abuse to childhood resilience. My desire to research childhood resilience reflected a strong sense of knowing about risk and resilience. Wanting to research child abuse prevention programs had come from a safer, more distant and impersonal place, whereas changing my thesis topic to childhood resilience beckoned from deep inside, from that place of experience. Perhaps this change reflected a personal and societal shift away from victimhood toward the more agency-oriented status now being attributed to children in distress. During a preliminary review of the dominant literature on resilience, my critical feminist reading signalled several problems with the abstract nature of quantitative psychology studies involving groups of children being tested and observed in controlled settings. For example, such studies did not recognize children's diverse coping mechanisms in different social and cultural environments. Given this diversity, the emphasis on conformity and behaviour modification coupled with targeting inner-city children and youth was deeply troubling. Also, empirical findings from one particular group of at-risk children were being generalized to other 36 groups of at-risk children, across class and cultural lines. Moreover, I noticed that the child advocacy community in general was taking up childhood resilience as a panacea for risk. I had been active in Vancouver's child advocacy community for several years, which complemented my interest in child abuse and child abuse prevention programs. Particularly in relation to my graduate studies, I hoped from the outset that my involvement would be mutually beneficial—that I might contribute to the advocacy community as a volunteer and as a researcher and that the advocacy community might become a resource and a network for my research interests. Several professionals in this community were talking about resilience. My personal sense or claim of knowing about resilience, my critical reading of childhood resilience in the literature, and my entree to the child and youth advocacy community all reinforced a resolve to study resilience. Now my social location comes fully into play. I am White, female, middle-class, and was bom in 1945, all of which frame my experiences and opportunities. For example, my childhood abuse revolved around my being female.6 Because I was a girl and my parents were middle-class, I was not believed when I asked adults for help and, because of the era, there were no social services readily accessible to children.7 But because I was White, middle-class, and English-speaking, I would have access to many resources in adulthood (employment, counselling, education), which I vigorously pursued. I had been at-risk for a number of problems, not the least of which was school failure, and I exhibited a roster of serious risk and trauma behaviours for years to come. 6 The "reasons" for, the messages in, and the methods of, abusing boys and girls are highly gendered (and classed), and they can be dramatically different depending on the gender socialization of both abused and abusers (Martineau 1993). I asked for help four times in adolescence and each time was blamed and silenced. The last time was at age 14 when I dialled the telephone operator in the middle of the night and whispered, "Is there someone who helps children?" She told me not to play with the phone and disconnected the line. I was absolutely devastated: Countless experiences of blaming and silencing are well documented. See, for example, Herman (1992), L.J. Kaplan (1991), and Miller (1983, 1986). I have heard several first- and second-hand stories of women who grew up in the same affluent community and who endured family incest and violence alone and in silence. A friend from the same community recently confided that as young as ages five and six (in the 1950s) she was calling the police to her violent, alcoholic home and time and time again they did nothing. 37 In my own case, being abused and traumatized were inseparable from being actually in-risk and potentially at-risk as well as being resistant or resilient or rebellious.8 I do not see how anyone could have accurately determined that I was either at-risk or resilient. In any case, I was determined to graduate from high school, despite indescribable distress and despair, so that I could get a job, leave home, and be financially independent. I barely scraped through high school and began working as a secretary. My middle-class background, coupled with my increasing skills and abilities—honed on the job—ensured that I would always find office employment. Through work I discovered that I was competent and trustworthy, I interacted with people in positions of power and prestige, and I pursued my career as the stabilizing force in my life. By the time I began university, at age 43,1 was not intimidated by people in power. This position figured prominently in my decision to "study up" the hierarchy even before knowing exactly what my thesis topic would be. While studying critical ethnography, I became uncomfortable with the imperialist mandate of emancipating less powerful others from their "false consciousness" and decided not to "study down." Rather, I was interested in researching the perceptions of people in positions of power and investigating the assumptions influencing their policies and practices. My research is more accurately described as "studying across," however, reflecting the shared goals and social locations of myself and those in my study.9 That I am undertaking a critical discourse analysis and primarily studying across are most strongly influenced by the nature of my education and by my experience as a mature student, respectively. The specific topic of childhood resilience captured my 8 Being resistant and rebellious can be life-saving, as can be conforming and complying, in abusive situations that might also push a young person to harm themself or others. Such behaviours do not inherently signal the absence or presence of something called resilience. I use the term "resilient" tentatively. 9 The terms studying up and studying down are of course, too simplistic. Multiple relations of power—ranging from powerful to powerless—exist within and among groups. I refer to studying up to indicate people in positions of power but, in fact, my research is predominantly "studying across," since researcher and researched occupy similar positions of social privilege (if not power) and we have shared goals concerning the well-being of children and youth. 38 attention because it fit with my personal experience, my interest in studying up and across, my access to the child advocacy community, and my preference for critical theory and qualitative research (in particular, fieldwork and interviews).10 Critical Discourse Analysis With these pieces falling into place, I was drawn to the possibility of undertaking a critical discourse analysis of childhood resilience. I perceived critical discourse analysis as the analysis of text and understood it to include "the 'interpretive praxis' . . . that is deconstruction" (Lather 1991, 13)." Interpretative praxis resonates with the insight that knowledge is not foundational but, rather, socially situated. Interpretive praxis requires self-reflexivity in "a dialectical process among '(a) the researcher's constructs, (b) the informant's commonsense constructs, (c) the research data, (d) the researcher's ideological biases, and (e) the structural and historical forces that informed the social construction under study'" (J.K. Smith 1993, 112).12 In addition, interpretive praxis as deconstruction is a strategy of displacement that disrupts dualism: The goal of deconstruction is neither unitary wholeness nor dialectical resolution. The goal is to keep things in process, to disrupt, to keep the system in play, to set up procedures to continuously demystify the realities we create, to fight the tendency for our categories to congeal.13 . . . As the postmodern equivalent of the dialectic, deconstruction provides a corrective moment, a safeguard against dogmatism, a continual displacement. (Lather 1991, 13) 101 disagree with the adage that the research question(s) dictates research design. That researchers call themselves ethnographers, demographers, statisticians, and so on indicates that they at least partially seek out or are drawn to research topics and research questions that fit with their preferred methods and personal interests. Surely, then, the process between research and researcher is interactive. Because I preferred social critique, focused interviews, and studying across, these preferences influenced how my research questions were formulated and the selection of those who would be interviewed. 1 1 Citing G. Douglas Atkins and Michael L . Johnson, Writing and Reading Differently: Deconstruction and the Teaching of Composition and Literature (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1985) 2. 12 Citing G. Anderson, "Ethnography in Education: Origins, Current Status, and New Directions," Review of Education Research 59 (1989): 249-70. 1 3 Citing John Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1987) 236. 39 Dualism is defined by its logical structure of dichotomy and hierarchy between two actual or supposed oppositional entities, where one is posed as superior and the other is "systematically and pervasively constructed and depicted as inferior" (Plumwood 1993, 47).14 Dualism occurs, for example, in the reification of resilience (where resilience is fixed and favoured as this and not that),15 with the inevitable depiction of a "non-resilient child" as the inferiorized other. This dualism between resilience and non-resilience is now appearing in psychometric studies. One such study depicts adults with histories of childhood sexual abuse, for example, who are categorized as either resilient or non-resilient based on measuring their current levels of depression (Liem et al. 1997). Lather systematically deconstructs dualism by dismantling the hierarchical construction of binaries, then identifying the negative term as the very condition of the positive term (e.g., the notion of resilience exists only in relation to notions of at-risk and non-resilience), and identifying the complex interactions between seemingly binary terms (1991,13).16 Drawing on structuration theory, there is a distinction to be made between this structure of dualism and the duality of structure, the latter recognizing the interaction between political structures and social systems, where social systems "comprise the situated activities of human agents" (Giddens 1994, 25). I make use of duality and dichotomy in my analysis, not to reconstruct dualism (dichotomy and hierarchy) but to explore possible interactions between dualities and differences. As Plumwood states: "Clarifying the logic of dualism helps to clarify too why a dualism is not the same as a dichotomy, and why we do not have to, and should not, abandon either dichotomy or difference in order to avoid dualism" (1993, 55). Instead, we can understand dichotomies as dynamic (Cummins 1997, 413). 1 4 In logical or classical dualism, the superiorized one and the inferiorized other are expressed as a, not a, respectively. The inferiorized other is identified only by what it is not in relation to what is, not warranting its own properties. 1 5 The reification of resilience is discussed in Chapter Three. 1 6 Citing Elizabeth Grosz, Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1989) xv. 40 Jacques Derrida provides the concept of differance to expand the identification of difference in the deconstruction of dualism. Differance not only displaces binary oppositions without denying difference but "offers a way of talking about. . . difference in terms of multiplicity and plurality rather than hierarchy" (Hekman 1990,110).17 Thus, any notion of a dualism between, say, resilience and risk (which would presume that those at-risk are inferior and non-resilient) is challenged by the possibilities of multiple resiliencies (without resorting to resiliency relativism) rather than degrees of resilience (or, say, degrees of trauma). Derrida's deconstruction is an intervention that comprises a radical activity of social and political displacement (164).18 More than a disruption of binary oppositions (between, say, risk and resilience or resilience and non-resilience) and the displacement of text and talk, Derrida seeks to transform that which is being deconstructed (Elam 1994; Spivak 1994). Thus, deconstructing the resiliency discourse challenges the hegemony of quantitative scientific studies, and including qualitative life experiences disrupts the reduction of resilience to a prescriptive set of behaviours that conform to mainstream norms. Critical discourse analysis is a complex task of deconstruction and interpretation. Discourse is itself complex, consisting of words and statements recurrent across texts, including written, spoken, symbolic, and other "identifiable systems of meaning [italics added] and fields of knowledge and belief that, in turn, are tied to ways of knowing, believing, and categorizing the world and modes of action" (Luke 1995-96, 15).19 Text and talk merge into discourse; for my practical purposes, however, the resiliency literature constitutes text and the interviews constitute talk (though talk is 1 7 Citing Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, Trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). 18 Citing Jacques Derrida, Positions, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981); Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). 1 9 Citing Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. Sheridan-Smith (New York: Harper & Row, 1972); G. Kress, Linguistic Processes in Sociocultural Practice (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1989); J.P. Gee, Social Linguistics and Literacies (London: Falmer, 1990). 41 text). Discourses operate with "different degrees of unity and disunity and at different levels of specificity" (15). Several texts make up resiliency discourse, such as social competence, effective schooling, and trauma recovery. Within resiliency discourse I have identified dualities of expert and experiential knowledge, formal and informal meanings, quantitative studies and qualitative stories, and so on.20 Discourses not only invoke systems of meaning, they signify "the system of relations [italics added] between parties engaged in communicative activity" (Apple 1991, vii). The dominant childhood resiliency discourse is an adult discourse; the talk of resilient-identified children who have been observed and measured by child psychologists is absent from the text. In discourse analysis, text is "language in use,21 any instance of written and spoken language that has coherence and coded meanings" (Luke 1995-96, 13). Texts represent the human production of social meanings and social relations (13).22 Texts are "communicative" acts and articulations (W.J. Harker 1992, 1-2).23 Another facet of discourse analysis is intertextuality. Intertextuality depicts the interactions that occur between texts, between written and spoken texts, where talk becomes text.24 Texts are always indexing other texts, such that "any text exists in a constant state of multiple references to other texts" (2). Texts are not discrete or isolated entities. Intertextuality denotes interactions—explicit and implicit—across and within multiple texts. 20 As explicated in Chapter Three, there are dominant and subordinate resiliency discourses. Citing M.A.K. Halliday and R. Hasan, Language, Context and Text (Australia: Deakin University Press, 1985). Citing V.N. Voloshinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, trans. L. Matejka and I.R. Titunik (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986). 23 Citing R. Beaugrande and W. Dressier, Introduction to Text Linguistics (London: Longman, 1981) 3; G. Brown and G. Yule, Discourse Analysis (London: Cambridge University Press, 1983) 6. 2 4 Derrida has claimed that "there is nothing outside the text," a statement reiterated by Barrett (1992, 209), Luke (1995-96, 40), and other post-structural theorists. Barrett reminds us that Derrida's statement is not to be taken literally, that he meant there was no meaning outside of discourse, that only through discourse (through systems of rules and conventions) does, say, a spherical leather object become a football. Barrett is citing Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, "Post-Marxism Without Apologies," New Reflections on the Revolution in Our Time, ed. Ernesto Laclau (London: Verso, 1990) 100. 42 I take up intertextuality as both the actual interactions and the potential intersections between resiliency texts. In light of this intertextuality, I resist identifying one resiliency discourse because of the diversity of texts and the relevancy of resiliency texts excluded from the dominant resiliency discourse. The dominant discourse emanates from the privileged position of scientific research and expert knowledge. This discourse subordinates experiential knowledge, leading me to posit the potential intertextuality between expert and experiential knowledge as the deconstructive seeds of an oppositional discourse (see Chapter Four). Thus, the intertextuality of text and talk is also about voice, about who gets to speak. It is about relations of power as "discourses of power" (Barrett 1992, 215). As such, discourses are influenced by "the political contexts in which we speak and work" (Apple 1991, vii). Intertextuality includes interplay across talk and text and across smaller and larger events. Smaller events, such as individuals sharing stories, interact with larger events, such as broadcasts, publications, and conferences that disseminate information to general audiences and special interest groups. Through these systems of meaning and relations, a growing number of participants may enter into the discussion and influence the discourse. Intertextuality involves the interactions among "reading and writing and listening and speaking," and these invoke and depend upon "repeated and reiterated wordings, statements, and themes that appear in different texts" (Luke 1995-96, 13).25 Thus, discourse is not merely a manner of speaking, but a matter of interpretation, such that "texts are actually lodged within other texts and may intertextually index each other" (13) in the process of discourse. Through intertextuality, discourse is the political context in which we make meaning. 2 5 Citing D. Bloome and A. Egan-Robertson, "The Social Construction of Intertextuality in Classroom Reading and Writing Lessons," Reading Research Quarterly 28 (1993): 305-33; N. Fairclough, "Discourse and Text: Linguistic and Intertextual Analysis Within Discourse Analysis," Discourse and Society 3 (1992): 193-218. 43 The making of dominant discourses is lodged in the values, powers, politics, and economics of the dominant society. The dominant resiliency discourse serves its hegemonic function as an ideological code for conformity to mainstream norms, the principal effect of which is "to establish itself as a form of common sense, to naturalize its own functions through its appearance in everyday texts" (Luke 1995-96, 20).26 Critical discourse analysis offers a means of disrupting hegemonic interests articulated as common sense (20).27 Because hegemonic interests have economic effects, the "disarticulation" of the mainstream discourse of resilience as social norm necessarily includes a critique of the political and material effects of its dominant texts. Post-Structuralism Post-structural discourse analysts posit that discourse is both constructed and constructing.28 The constructing character of discourse "actually defines, constructs, and positions human subjects" (Luke 1995-96, 8). Derrida's claim that "all knowledge is discursively apprehended" (Barrett 1992, 209),29 together with Foucault's insight that discourses "systematically form the objects of which they speak" (Barrett 202; Luke 8),30 inform discourse as both constructed and constructing. But discourse cannot be reduced to construct alone, nor can discourse be merely deconstructed, because our social constructs have material contexts and consequences. 2 6 Citing J. Collins, "Hegemonic Practice: Literacy and Standard Language in Public Education," Journal of Education 171 (1989): 9-34. Citing E. Laclau and C. Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (London: Verso, 1985). 28 The terms "post-modernism" and "post-structuralism" are confusing because they are used interchangeably and inconsistently across texts. Because I think that post-modernism refers more to a period in time and that post-structuralism refers more to a strategy of analysis, my terminology generally denotes post-structuralism as it pertains to discourse analysis in the post-modern era. No in-text citation provided; it could be Jacques Derrida's Writing and Difference (London: Routledge, 1978). j 0 Citing Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (London: Routledge, 1989) 49. In The History of Sexuality, Volume I, Foucault analyzes how phenomena are "put into discourse" through the power-knowledge complex (Foucault 1978). He discusses, for example, the construction of 19th-century hereditarianism based on the eugenic belief in the heredity of sexual perversions, when the perversions themselves were discursively constructed. Similarly, the construction of resilience as norm depends upon the construction of values and behaviours that constitute the "norm." 44 Deconstruction tends to come from the camp of "extreme social constructivists [who] fail to provide . . . a 'rich and robust picture' of human life" (Hekman 1990, 140).31 In other words, constructivists like Foucault leave the impression that "reality" is wholly constructed, that deconstruction allows no essential subject or object, and that our subjectivity and our relations of power are created solely through discourse (69). Derrida, too, can seem to reject any possibility of essentialism (107-8). It is useful to both dismantle the structure of dualism (dichotomy and hierarchy) between constructionism and essentialism and retain their duality of structure (interaction of dualities). Recognizing the co-inherence between constructionism and essentialism facilitates understanding necessary connections between post-structural discourse and structural materialism. Co-Inherence of the Essence-Construct Binary Holding to post-structural theories of duality, discourse, and differance, and resisting notions of pure construction or deconstruction (and their abysmal drifts), requires attention to materialism and essentialism. Here I draw primarily on Diana Fuss's (1989) concept of the co-inherence of the essence-construct binary and Michelle Barrett's (1992) explication of the tensions between discourse theory and structural materialism, respectively. The notion of pure constructionism pits essentialists against anti-essentialists and re-invents the age-old nature-nurture debate. But many social theorists posit that oppositional entities exist only in relationship (Eisler 1987; Giddens 1994; Marcuse 1964).32 Fuss articulates the strengths and weaknesses of both constructionism and essentialism and so moves from positioning one over the other to destabilizing the "essence-construct binary" (1989). 3 1 Citing Jean Bethke Elshtain, "Symmetry and Soporofics: A Critique of Feminist Accounts of Gender Development," Capitalism and Infancy, ed. B. Richards (London: Free Association Books, 1984) 55-91. 3 2 Among other theorists, Riane Eisler contrasts the ranking of differences with the linking of differences, Hebert Marcuse theorizes the reconciliation of oppositions, and Anthony Giddens articulates the interdependence of dualities. 45 Fuss's thesis provides a model for the possible co-inherency between any set of binary oppositions, and I use it explicitly for this purpose. Fuss argues that "essentialism is essential to . . . constructionism" (1989, 1), while "there is no essence to essentialism" (4); rather, we construct the essential based on our perception of the real. Fuss challenges the essentialist-constructionist binarism by positing that what we perceive as real (as essential) informs our constructions of the social. This insight has particular implications regarding descriptions of resilience that depend upon either temperament or environment and, therefore, regarding questions about whether resilience is innate or whether it is teachable. Using John Locke's distinction between real essence and nominal essence, Fuss explains the former as irreducible and unchanging and the latter as a "classificatory fiction we need to categorize and to label" (4).33 Nominal essences represent real essences, based on our perceptions and interpretations of the real. Gayatri Spivak also speaks of the "irreducibility of essences," the "necessity of essentialism," the "impossibility of anti-essentialism" (1994, 159, 162). Pure constructionism (as anti-essentialism) is critiqued as dogma by feminists who "take the risk of essentialism" (Fuss 1989; Schor 1994, xvii; Spivak 162). I seek to transform the discourse on resilience by attending to the usefulness of essentialism (Spivak 157) and by making the familiar unfamiliar (Clifford 1988; Spivak 1994). As Derrida proposes, this involves a re-reading of text and talk; in fact, a rewriting of resilience. Teresa de Lauretis takes up the same argument as Fuss, also drawing on Locke's distinction between real and nominal essence "to the effect that the essence of a real entity . . . is either unknown 3 3 Citing John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (London: Printed by Elizabeth Holt for Thomas Bassett, 1690). The allusion to fiction resonates with theories of personal narrative, in which fact and fiction co-inhere. This phenomenon is discussed later in this chapter relevant to the life histories of resilient-identified adults. 46 or irnknowable" (de Lauretis 1994, 3).34 Nominal essence, then, reflects our notions of essentialism, which in turn informs constructionism, which in turn informs essentialism through the construct of nominal essence, ad infinitum. Essentialism had traditionally been defined to deny difference, especially differance, whereas Fuss identifies the "differences within essentialism" (1989, xii). There is no essential woman, for example, but there is something essential about women; the same format can be applied to childhood resilience. Equating essentialism with differance informs Fuss's claim that there is no essence to essentialism and that "constructionism (the position that differences are constructed, not innate) really operates as a more sophisticated form of essentialism" (xii). The co-inherence of the essence-construct binary provides a judicious paradigm for embedding the interplay of such polarities as nature-nurture (or temperament-environment) in notions of resilience. Fuss's post-structuralist perspective expands upon the duality of structure, such that polar entities not only interact but may also co-inhere. Not engaging this interplay looks something like this: on the one hand, scientific studies of childhood resilience act to reify resilience, and to enter into this resiliency discourse is to co-commit the "error of reification;" on the other hand, to so privilege deconstruction that the notion of resilience is stripped of material reality and nominal essence is to commit the "error of nihilism," an act of negation.35 Just as positivism and modernism 3 4 de Lauretis offers two versions of essence. The first is essence as "absolute being,. . . [as] the reality underlying phenomena," the version under attack by postmodernists. The second version is Locke's analysis that essence constitutes both the real and the nominal: here, the real entity is a "thing-in-itself," has intrinsic nature, is either unknown or unknowable; the nominal or conceptual entity has properties, attributes, and elements without which it would cease to be the thing-in-itself (1994, 2-3), citing Locke's Essay on Human Understanding (1690). Our construction of nominal essence is based on our assumptions about real essence. For example, we construct gender based on what we perceive to be real or natural attributes of sexual difference; deconstructing gender cannot dismiss gender or sexuality or difference. The same holds for resilience; constructing and deconstructing resilience cannot negate the essence or the construct of resilience. 3 5 These "errors" are adapted from Sonia MacPherson's discussion of her dissertation in progress (UBC, Faculty of Education, Curriculum Centre) on Buddhist and Western thought in educational praxis. She writes via e-mail [F-981007]: Buddhist thought posits the co-existence of two equally valid truths and equally existent realities—conventional and ultimate. The conventional reality or truth is that of appearances—the play of the everyday we might say. This is "where" compassion, ethics, and existence are upheld. The ultimate is reality deconstructed. To sacrifice the former (conventional reality) is to commit an error of nihilism, while to sacrifice the latter (ultimate reality) is to commit an error of reification. 47 are accused of reification, so postmodernism is accused of nihilism and relativism (Hekman 1990, 163). A critique of the error of nihilism occurs in Robert Scholes' view of deconstruction: "From the heights of deconstruction we are given a glimpse into the bottomless abyss of textuality, a vertiginous perspective in which constructs are erected upon constructs, without foundation and without end" (Elam 1994, 23).36 Though deconstructionist Derrida is himself accused of nihilism in his seeming rejection of essentialism, he actually analyzes binary oppositions "not as polarities but as two confused elements that inhabit [italics added] each other" (Hekman 1990, 171), consonant with Fuss's model of binary co-inherence. Rejecting dualism does not mean binary structures are abandoned to postmodernism (Barrett 1992, 208). Adhering to the interaction of dualities and the inhabitation of binaries—to the co-inherence of the essence-construct binary—has powerful implications for critically analyzing the resiliency discourse(s). Deconstructing dualism is an act that dislodges dominant discourses and recognizes subordinate discourses. Viewing resilience through the lens of pluralism (differance) and not dualism allows for multiple, but limited, manifestations of resilience that adhere to criteria essential to recognizing resiliency.37 Structural Materialism The interpretive move from dualism to duality informs a similar shift from structural determinism to structural materialism, such that the duality of structure undoes structural determinism. Just as the hierarchical structure of dualism is one-directional, so is materialism when it is construed as structural determinism. Structural determinism does not acknowledge individual MacPherson is citing Gary Snyder, "Is Nature Real?" Resurgence (Fall 1998), and Octavio Paz, Conjunctions and Disjunctions, trans. Helen Lane (New York: Arcade, 1990; Copyright 1969, Translation 1982). 3 6 Citing Robert Scholes, "Reading Like a Man," Men in Feminism, eds. Alice Jardine and Paul Smith (New York: Methuen, 1987) 204-18. 37 These criteria are developed in Chapter Three. 48 and collective agency, assuming instead "a determining 'social structure' on which culture and beliefs, as well as subjectivity and agency, rest" (Barrett 1992, 209). Without dismissing the importance of structure, it is more the case that human agency and life experience interact with social systems and social structures. However, post-modernist arguments . . . have produced a tendency to shift the central theoretical concept away from 'structure' into 'discourse'.. . [as] represented in the increasing significance of Foucault rather than Marx in social theorizing. The consequences of this are to conceptualize power as highly dispersed rather than concentrated in identifiable places or groups. (Walby 1992, 48) The surface impression is that poststructuralism dismisses and replaces structuralism, that analyzing the dispersal of power-knowledge through discourse negates critiquing the hegemony of power-knowledge directed by particular groups toward the oppression of other groups. But the poststructural foregrounding of discourse does not dismiss structural materialism; instead, it disrupts structural determinism (A. Jones 1997, 263—4). In this regard, discourse is not just text and talk; it is speaking and writing within social and political relations, such that "one cannot dissociate discourse from a social context where relations of power and knowledge circulate" (Bell 1993, 42). Instead of post-structuralism (and its discourse analysis) dismissing structural materialism, it is more the case that materialism needs to be reconceptualized, since both constructionists and essentialists threaten to annihilate structural materialism. Constructionists do so in the move from structure to discourse, while essentialists do so by positing difference as innate and immutable. Fuss reinstates materialism as "a complex system of cultural, social, psychical, and historical differences, and not a set of pre-existent human essences [that] position and constitute the subject" (1989, xii). In this way, just as duality must not be abandoned in the dismantling of dualism, neither should materialism be surrendered to "the political limitations of post-modern perspectives" (Barrett 1992, 216). Critical discourse analysis involves an alternative and interpretive reading that includes the analysis of power relations between observer and observed and how these construct "particular 49 institutional relations of power and social formations" with real material consequences (Luke 1995-96, 19-20). The Cultural Deficit Model As stated in my introductory chapter, the dominant discourse of childhood resilience is bound up with risk rhetoric. One text that influences and illuminates the material effects of how risk and resilience are constructed (and by whom) is that of cultural deficit. The ultural deficit model informs the politics associated with teaching resilience to "kids at risk" in inner-city schools. It attributes children's school failure to cultural (and familial) inadequacy. Moreover, it has been posited that the term "at risk" is simply a way to resurrect the Cultural Deficit Model in more acceptable language.38 . . . "[At-risk] has also taken over from such descriptors as disadvantaged, low SES, underachieving, problem children; terms that describe populations of students for whom schools traditionally have been less than successful." (Pianta and Walsh 1996, 50)39 Risk rhetoric and the cultural deficit model rationalize targeting children in immigrant and impoverished populations. Targeting is informed by the disparity between dominant and subordinate resiliency discourses—quantitative studies and qualitative stories, respectively—and the shifts from anomaly to norm and from trauma to risk. These shifts occur in the dominant discourse, which excludes the voices of experience and their personal narratives of risk and resilience. Narrative Analysis Critical discourse analysis inherently includes a "processual analysis" that draws on case histories and personal narratives to show "how ideas, events, and institutions interact and change through time" (Rosaldo 1989, 92-3). In particular, such an analysis would look at how the term resilience has emerged and evolved, particularly in its relation to the politics of children's school 3 8 Citing L. Cuban, "The 'At-Risk' Label and the Problem of Urban School Reform," Phi Delta Kappan (June 1989): 780-4, 789-801, and F. Erickson, "Post-Everything: The Word of the Moment and How We Got Here," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 1992). 3 9 Quoting V. Richardson-Koehler, "Teachers' Beliefs About At-Risk Students," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, L A , April 1988). 50 failure and academic achievement. Processual analysis summons the interpretive, the narrative, the "social drama."40 It is study more deep and particular than broad and universal and it resists "frameworks that claim a monopoly on truth" (93-4). My privileging of deep narrative stories over broad statistical studies requires explanation. This privileging is due, first, to an informed preference for narrative and experience over numbers and expertise when researching human emotions41 and, second, to the particular discrepancies between narrative and statistical renditions of resilience. My personal experience with risk and resilience attracted me to the subordinate, "non-scientific" literature on resilient-identified adults (stories that emerge from psychotherapy). That my own history so resonated with these auto/biographical stories influenced my analysis of the "scientific" literature on resilient-identified children (studies that come out of the psychoanalytic tradition).42 But this does not mean that life histories can be taken as truth.43 Published life histories have undergone multiple interpretations by subjects, therapists, editors, and even readers. They bear multiple "cuts and sutures" concealed behind their cohesive representations of knowledge (Clifford 1988, 146). Our personal narratives serve to assimilate fragmented lives, to make sense of life experiences, and to integrate conflicts and incoherencies 4 0 The terms story, narrative, and discourse have both synonymous and disparate meanings. I characterize discourse as political, narrative as more cultural (shared narratives), and story as more personal, but they also interact individually and collectively on these multiple levels. 4 1 This preference points to the complexity of human emotion and experience, which cannot be reduced to statistics. This is not to say that statistical analyses are not informative or that particular studies do not lend themselves to quantifying human opinion and experience. But statistical studies by themselves cannot convey the nuances and textures of human lives over time. Concerning childhood resilience, qualitative stories provide a powerful challenge to quantitative studies. 4 2 Psychotherapy is associated with an inductive, qualitative perspective, whereas "psychoanalysis has a history of being one of the most 'reductive' of perspectives, in that its strong explanatory claims, exclusion of other factors and incipient theoretical universalism are legendary . . ." (Barrett 1992, 214). These distinctions are addressed in Chapter Three. 4 3 As a researcher I am cognizant of not letting my personal experience overrule strong objectivity in my research. Given the interpretive nature of personal narrative, the fact that my own story so resonates with published accounts of resilience—accounts that are themselves coherent across texts—lends some credibility to experiential knowledge of resilience (in my eyes). Of course, published accounts are selected and edited by therapists invested in presenting a cohesive picture of resilience. This both reiterates narrative as interpretive and ensures that I do not negate the quantitative studies. 51 (Steinrnetz 1992). One philosopher interprets personal narrative as individual identity, as a dynamic life story akin to historical fiction: One's story is always being mediated between fact and fiction, such that self-identity interacts with self-interpretation (Ricoeur 1991).44 Clifford would have all such cuts and sutures visible as collage, particularly within the research process itself; such assemblages might reveal the "constructivist procedures" of selecting the particular voices, versions, and visions that constitute our interpretive stories (1988, 147). I can only hope there is some such transparency in the ensuing chapters. My thesis is itself a text, entered into as part of a dynamic and oppositional discourse that may be transformative in some small way. It is also subject to narrative analysis, in that "stories often shape, rather than simply reflect, human conduct" (Rosaldo 1989, 129). Other texts requiring narrative analysis (within my text) include those championing children's invulnerability to trauma, those making academic achievement the main marker of resilience, and those proclaiming that all children and adolescents are at risk. Such narratives shape social policy around risk and resiliency issues. These larger cultural and institutional narratives also interact with personal narratives to ideologically influence the "narrative identity" of young people.45 Who is identified as at risk, for example, and who gets identified as resilient? Where and when does this identification of children and youth occur, and by whom? In my processual and narrative analysis I am mediating among divergent bodies of knowledge so as to perform a gestalt on the discourse (Nielsen 1995, 9). I am charged with Nielsen's call for 4 4 The term "fiction" has multiple meanings beyond the common connotation of falsehood. Fuss does use it in the fallacious sense to describe any allusion to absolute essentialism as a "classificatory fiction" (1989). But Ricoeur uses it to reveal the creative nature of human narrative and narrative identity (1991). Clifford coins "true fictions" and "cultural fictions" to characterize interpretive analyses by invoking the Latin root fingere, which "suggests the partiality [italics added] of cultural and historical truths" and the making up component of making meaning (1986, 6). Fiction does not reduce to constructionism; rather, its meanings suggest the fine line between real and nominal essence and invoke the co-inherence of the essence-construct binary. 4 5 (Chanfrault-Duchet 1991; Ricoeur 1991; Somers 1992; Steinrnetz 1992). 52 a "rewriting of the world" (9) and Clifford's call for a "reshuffling of realities" (1988, 147) in my interpretation of narrative interpretations and, thus, in the making of meaning around resilience. This recomposition gets at the heart of Rosaldo's (1989) processual analysis and resonates with Luke's (1995-96) perception that critical discourse analysis is both critical and constructive. In its "constructive moment" critical discourse analysis generates agency between, for example, the researcher and the researched, by revealing how text and talk produce and reproduce relations of power and systems of knowledge (Luke 12). Foucault has observed how "a way of teaching and saying became a way of learning and seeing" (1973, 64). I hope by my analysis that resiliency researchers and child advocates might begin to say and, thus, to see differently regarding the discourse on childhood resilience, seeing it not as truth but as dialogue. Such dialogue is the essence of rereading, rewriting, and reinterpreting. Genre Three nested concepts pervading this dialogic process in narrative analysis are genre, glossification, and glossing. They merit mention because by their very pervasiveness they are invisible forces that affect discourse, in general, and risk and resiliency rhetoric, in particular. Genres are political discourses, emanating from and articulating particular disciplines and bodies of knowledge and sustaining institutional interests (Luke 1995-96, 15).46 Education, psychology, and social work discourses are each genres. Such genres are self-contained but can also "cross-fertilize" to produce, for example, a child advocacy discourse on resilience, a new genre "constructed from affiliated discourses" (17). Genres are simultaneously both static and dynamic. They are "institutionally situated, goal-oriented, and conventionalized forms of social action and power" (17), 4 6 Genres can be more or less politicized or institutionalized and can include such texts as religion, advertising, and sports, or such media as film, video, television, the Internet, and so on. They are usually specialized bodies of knowledge, although less specialized genres include such ethnographic texts as travel books, personal memoirs, and missionary journals (Pratt 1986, 27). 53 but they resist reification because they continuously, if inconsistently, borrow from other disciplinary discourses (15). Genres are, then, multidiscursive and '''momentarily stabilized [italics added] forms of social action that take what are to some degree regular and predictable, if dynamic and fluid, forms" (15-6).47 Resiliency discourses emanating from scientific studies, the recovery movement, and the advocacy community, for example, are contested genres or "text types" that may further recombine in the intertextual making of meaning around resiliency. Glossification The import of identifying genres is to recognize, on the one hand, their powerful resistance to social change due to their entrenched texts and conventions and, on the other hand, the possibility of their transformation due to the continual reconstructions of knowledge within and across genres.48 Such "cross-breeding" includes considerable "in-breeding," however, in that a disciplinary genre (such as education) may draw or adapt from another disciplinary genre (such as psychology) only that which is already fitting or familiar phenomenon points to the meaning of glossification, such that a particular genre is informed by an identifiable discourse. This identifiable discourse is made up of recurrent statements that contain constructed meanings and specialized wordings that are relevant to its particular field of knowledge (Luke 1995-96, 14-5).49 Glossifications are the official codewords or specialized keywords of institutional genres. Like genres themselves, glossifications are both static and dynamic, forming "intertextual networks" (Luke 1995-96, 14). According to Luke, these "webs" typically change in response to social and 4 7 Citing A. Freedman and P. Medway, eds., Genre and the New Rhetoric (London: Taylor & Francis, 1995); and G. Kress and T. Threadgold, "Towards a Social Theory of Genre," Southern Review 21 (1988): 215-43. 48 Although genres refer to the sites of disciplinary discourses, the interplay of resistance to change and potential transformation informs the power relations and structural constraints in which child and youth advocates practice. 49 Citing J.L. Mey, Whose Language? A Study in Linguistic Pragmatics (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1985). Such specialized words and meanings are commonly referred to as jargon, lexicon, or specialized terminology. 54 political expediency. Key words and phrases in the scientific discourse on childhood resiliency have included, for example, invulnerability to trauma, bouncing back from adversity, and school success or academic achievement. As discussed in Chapter One, resilience itself has evolved from its roots in social competence to emerge as an ideological code for social conformity. Moreover, the notion of teaching resilience is evolving as an unexamined code for surveillance and social control of the other, especially as promoted in the dominant discourse and inadvertently taken up by advocates. Glossing Problematic within glossification is the practice of glossing or glossing over keywords and, in so doing, assuming they have the same meaning for all parties involved.50 Relevant to the broader discourse on childhood resilience, keywords both describe and actively shape social phenomena: Particular words and expressions often become focal in [political] struggles, functioning as keywords, sites at which the meaning of social experience is negotiated and contested.51 Keywords typically carry unspoken assumptions and connotations that can powerfully influence the discourses they permeate—in part by constituting a body of doxa, or taken-for-granted commonsense belief that escapes critical scrutiny.52 (Fraser and Gordon 1994, 310) For example, what do such terms as risk and resilience actually mean? Glossification and glossing signal, say, "childhood resilience" as a label that presumes to reframe or make sense of educational policy and practice. The notion of "teaching resilience" may contribute to an institutional sense of maintaining social order (or social control) among disadvantaged populations in educational settings. What "real details" are glossed over and what diverse meanings do the terms childhood resilience and teaching resilience hold among and within education, psychology, and social service genres? 5 0 "Gloss" is a complex term. To gloss can mean to translate precise meanings of textual interpretations in marginal notations (hence, to gloss suggests glossary), though such annotations can also be "artfully misleading interpretation^];" thus, glossing can mean explaining away a difficult text (Random House 1994). The latter is closer to the meaning intended herein, in that "real details" are glossed over, perhaps not intentionally but through the absence of analysis and, therefore, through assumptions about meaning. 5 1 Citing Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976). 5 2 Citing Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). 55 Given that sociologically "there is no end to glossing,"53 critical discourse analysis itself is both a corrective and an additive to the process of glossification. Interrogating the dominant resiliency discourse, therefore, requires attention to genre, glossification, and glossing. Summary of Theoretical Framework Critical Discourse Analysis In summary, I have amplified the interpretive and intertextual dimensions of critical discourse analysis by including my own motivation and positionality in the context of socially situated knowledge and feminist standpoint epistemology. In addition, I have articulated critical discourse analysis and my approach to it by incorporating several concepts under the umbrella of post-structuralism. These concepts include deconstruction and differance, multiplicity and pluralism, essentialism and materialism. In particular, I have emphasized the duality of structure (the interaction of dualities) and the co-inherence of the essence-construct binary in my theoretical framework. Finally, I have touched on components of processual and narrative analysis as integral to a critical discourse analysis that includes life histories and historical contexts. Within this framework I examine the emergence and evolution of the concept of childhood resilience across texts and also investigate the politics of teaching resilience to at-risk children and youth. Three Resiliency Discourses My critical analysis identifies three resiliency discourses, each representing multiple genres. The first is a dominant expert discourse (the scientific or mainstream text), composed of quantitative (psychometric) studies of resilience and a hybrid of psychoanalytic, educational, and economic 5 3 This notion of endless glossing came by way of e-mail communication with Dr. Christian K. Nelson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, M A [F-981002]. He cited H. Sacks and H. Garfinkel, "On Formal Structures of Practical Actions," Theoretical Sociology: Perspectives and Developments, eds. J.C. McKinney and E.A. Tiryakian (NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970) 337-66; M. Pollner, Mundane Reason: Reality in Everyday and Sociological Discourse (UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987); H. Sacks, "Sociological Description," Berkeley Journal of Sociology 8 (1963): 1-16. 56 genres.54 The second is a subordinate experiential discourse (a text of the therapeutic recovery movement), composed of qualitative stories of resilience and a hybrid of biographic, autobiographic, and psychotherapeutic genres. The third is an advocacy discourse, which includes aspects of the expert and experiential discourses and which is composed of a hybrid of texts from education, psychology, and social work genres. Instead of identifying three "texts" that constitute one resiliency discourse, I prefer to identify three discourses that index different though overlapping sets of texts. These intertextualities frame the discourses and so inform their subtexts, their implicit meanings (W.J. Harker 1992, 2-3). The expert and advocacy discourses have a few texts in common (texts which are themselves discourses comprised of other texts), including the "nation at risk" rhetoric and the discourse on effective schooling. The advocacy discourse indexes the expert discourse but not vice-versa. Each of these discourses imply an unspoken cultural deficit model, and this silence creates a "fault line" that yields "clues to a meaning which the text forbids itself, at least on its surface" (3). The expert and the advocacy discourses are differentiated by the scientific and statistical frame of the former and the more applied and experiential frame of the latter. Also, the expert discourse is rooted in psychology texts on children's coping and competence, while the advocacy discourse is rooted in social and educational texts on providing in-school services (the full-service school movement). The experiential discourse is distinguished from the other two resiliency discourses because it shares none of the other texts mentioned above. It is composed instead of personal narratives of trauma and resilience and texts on complex trauma and trauma recovery. Its experiential knowledge is devalued by the expert discourse, though it shares a valuation of experience with the advocacy discourse. The advocacy discourse includes the personal and professional experiences of the 5 4 It could be argued that all discourses are "expert," representing different genres or locations of expertise. But the dominance of the scientific studies and, thus, their hegemonic power to influence public policy, locate them as expert. 57 advocates. Their personal experiences and self-perceptions perhaps elicit "what the text intends to say but prevents itself from saying" (W.J. Harker 1992, 3) in the inadvertent positing of resilience as a social norm. Though the expert discourse is more psychometric (quantitative) and the experiential discourse is more psychotherapeutic (qualitative), all three discourses are influenced by contemporary therapeutic texts. These texts and discourses are explicated in the ensuing chapters. Interpretive Authority Because the advocacy discourse is gleaned from exploratory interviews with child advocacy professionals, the issue of my interpretive authority is especially problematic. Recognizing the possibility of conflicting interpretations and the paucity of collaborative opportunities (Borland 1991, 64), I have approached the interpretive task with the utmost respect for, and responsibility to, those I interviewed. Moreover, because I am hoping to enter into a dialogue with, and to enter a transforming dialogue into, the advocacy discourse on childhood resilience, I am mindful that "discourses are [not only] about what can be said and thought. . . [but also] about who can speak, when, and with what authority" (Ball 1990, 2). Critical discourse analysis is itself a discourse with material consequences (Luke 1995-96, 21) in its potential to influence policies and practices affecting children and youth. My desire and ability to enter into the advocacy dialogue are integral to my use of qualitative research methods. Method and Methodology Qualitative Research as Interpretive Inquiry The traditional difference between quantitative and qualitative research has been, among other things, a distinction between paradigmatic knowing and narrative knowing. The former was assessed as true or false and the latter "by its ability to engender 'feelings of verisimilitude' with the reader's or listener's own life experiences" (Donmoyer 1997a, 2). All research is rooted in 58 storytelling, however, whether the quantitative researcher's stories of objectivity, prediction, and intervention or the qualitative researcher's stories of construction, participation, and life history (J.K. Smith 1997). Qualitative research, unlike quantitative research, however, invokes the vocabulary of interpretation and inquiry (9-10). Thus, my analysis is more an interpretive inquiry that culls narrative knowing from the "multiplicity of stories" (10) in the texts, intertexts, and subtexts of the expert, experiential, and advocacy discourses. Quantitative research focuses primarily on measuring outcomes and emphasizes a realist or positivist view of cause and effect, while qualitative research focuses primarily on social processes and emphasizes the constructionist view. Qualitative researchers perceive the social world as dynamic, as "actively constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed on an ongoing basis" and quantitative researchers see the social world as more static, "as essentially real and awaiting discovery" (Palys 1997, 21). Though not entirely discrete views, these perspectives represent paradigmatically different approaches to social research methods and methodologies. The dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research paradigms informs the expert and experiential resiliency discourses, respectively, and each of these inform the advocacy discourse. As an interpretive researcher interested in meaning, I am critical of the limited quantitative measure of childhood resilience. While there is no doubt that such traits as sociability, creativity, autonomy, and purpose can be observed and measured in psychometric studies, as a result of my research I question whether these variables add up to childhood resilience. Within my framework of critical discourse analysis, I use the qualitative stories to interrogate the quantitative studies. In so doing, I find that these diverse discourses share some similarities and that aspects of the quantitative studies enhance the qualitative stories. For example, the quantitative or scientific studies highlight the importance of supportive relationships to a distressed child's sense 59 of hope and identity. But these same studies assume either that the at-risk child already has a supportive family or that providing a supportive mentor will foster resilience in the at-risk child. Conversely, the qualitative or experiential stories indicate that traumatized children who are resilient consistently seek out adult support as, when, and where needed. The difference is significant because the experiential studies emphasize individual motivation. The similarity is also significant because the scientific studies identify a universal human need. In other words, it may be important to establish mentorship programs for at-risk children and youth without assuming these will make them resilient (as a predictive model would assert). Comparing motivation with mentorship is one illustration of interpreting differences and similarities between the expert and experiential discourses. Data and Demographics My chosen research methods are qualitative and interpretive. Differentiating data from text (text as discourse), data can be construed as the raw materials of my discourse analysis. Though these materials are already mediated by others—they are texts in other contexts—they are relatively unmediated during data collection and remediated during data analysis, though the very act of collecting data already involves an intermediary process. Because I am collecting and analyzing discourses, the scientific and experiential resiliency literatures comprise my data, as do the advocacy interviews and fieldnotes. The interviews and fieldnotes constitute primary data and the literatures constitute secondary data. But whether construed as raw materials and unmediated data, whether primary and secondary data or mediated text, it remains that "gathering data is easy; [but] gathering meaningful data is a whole other challenge" (Palys 1997, 145). Most important is interpreting meaning within the data collected. The data collected were partially determined by my desire to study up and across the power hierarchy in the child and youth advocacy community in BC. My past study of various research 60 methods, my preference for, and experience with, qualitative inquiry and, in particular, my apprenticeship on a large ethnographic study have all influenced my interest in conducting focused interviews and doing participant-observation fieldwork. Though I was strongly influenced by ethnographic research methods, I have not undertaken an ethnographic study nor have I spent time at a defined site over an extended period of time. Rather, my methods of data collection included doing a pilot study, conducting focused interviews, and attending resiliency seminars and advocacy conferences in BC's child and youth advocacy community. Details involving data collection, data analysis, and demographics are briefly outlined here and are expanded upon in the Appendixes. Data Collection In Appendix A, details of data collected and the data collection process are described for the pilot study, the resiliency literature, the focused interviews, and the field work. Conducting the focused interviews involved target sampling, contacting Table 1: Data Collection Sources potential interviewees, and obtaining their consent, as well as Resources Documents r Transcripts: Pilot Interviews 7 trying to be cognizant of my influence during the interviews. Focused Interviews 23 Fieldnotes: \ n addition, data were collected through my participant-Educational Psychology Seminars 14 Forums, Workshops, Conferences 17 . . , t t- c Public Speakers and Presentations 20 observation—as recorded in fieldnotes-at public forums, Meetings and Group Discussions 4 n n n B B B n H m i ^ B H psychology seminars, and advocacy conferences. The data collection includes 7 pilot interviews and 23 focused interviews, together with 55 sets of fieldnotes from different public locations (Table 1). Miscellaneous data include relevant materials produced by child advocacy agencies and ministries, such as newsletters, reports, brochures, and pamphlets. Data Analysis My critical analysis of the collected and accumulated "raw data" draws on narrative, ethnographic, and phenomenological methodologies as influenced by post-structural feminist 61 perspectives. Phenomenology holds that social science is inherently human-centred, that humans are social actors who interact with the social world, and that "social scientists are part of the very entity we seek to understand" (Palys 1997, 16). Human beings making sense of their social worlds through cognition and experience underscores my qualitative approach to social analysis. Thus, my interest in meaning is explicated by the important, but by no means discrete, distinction between qualitative and quantitative analysis (in phenomenology): qualitative analysts focus on perceptions (processes) and quantitative or positivist analysts focus on observables (outcomes) in the pursuit of defining social reality (17).55 Phenomenologically, what is real is our perception of what is real, such that our perceptions define our reality, recalling the co-inherence of nominal essence and social construct (Fuss 1989). As with multiple interpretations, the perceptions held by myself and others inform my analysis and are open to reinterpretation. Prior to data collection and analysis, I had some pre-determined perceptions about resilience and about resiliency discourse as problematic. I tried to keep these perceptions in check, knowing they could not be entirely abstracted from the analytic process. I hoped to remain open to new insights and alternative perspectives that might emerge during analysis of the various texts involved. Critical analysis of the resiliency literature involved careful reading, cataloguing extensive notations, and sorting these materials by fields and subjects using relational database software (see Appendix D for a description of using Library Master to organize these data). Analysis of the interviews and fieldnotes required repeated readings and detailed coding of text. My coding strategy was loosely based on grounded theory, an inductive, exploratory mode of research that allows themes to emerge from the data (as opposed to testing a predetermined Quantitative researchers who now lean toward phenomenology call themselves postpositivists (or neopositivists). 62 hypothesis) during text analysis (Miles and Huberman 1994, 17; Palys 1997, 79).56 The grounded approach is a progressive process that involves reading collected texts to generate codes and general "categories" that capture the content of particular pieces of text. These codes function as road signs that allow me to traverse the texts. They are neither fixed nor relativistic categories; rather, they are interpretive and pluralistic. In this regard, "we have limits," and "the proliferation of multiplicity" is ultimately limited by the choices we make (Spivak 1994, 175). I chose to code text for "safety," for example, not because I was looking for quotes on safety but because children's safety (or lack of safety) emerged as a theme in the advocates' talk about risk and resilience. Though I did begin with a small start list of codes, my code list developed during the months of conducting interviews and, later, during the months of reading and re-reading the data. Generally, reading word for word and line for line, I coded for every topic or issue raised in the interviews and the fieldnotes (see Appendix E for a detailed discussion of the coding process and of using ATLAS/ti to organize these data). I then performed systematic analyses of coded segments selected and retrieved from across texts. It was during these later systematic analyses of coded text segments that the themes I interpret and identify in Chapter Five began to emerge. Appendixes D and E elucidate both the technical and the interpretive dimensions of my data analysis. Interpretation Matters Repeatedly revisiting the interview transcripts during the analytic process, I saw that interpretation had figured prominently on the part of myself and the advocates. My interview questions about teaching resiliency did not reveal my scepticism, for example, and they perhaps gave The "grounded" theory approach was originally advocated by B.G. Glaser and A.L. Strauss in The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (Chicago: Aldine, 1967). For an explication of inductive coding techniques, see A.L. Strauss, Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987); A.L. Strauss and J. Corbin, Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1990). 63 the impression that I believed resilience could and should be taught. This impression may have caused some advocates to respond with strategies for teaching resilience regardless of alternative views. In another example, I was aware that concerns in the advocacy community were focused primarily on ethnic populations. But I chose not to ask about this in the interviews, speculating that the advocates might tell me only what I wanted to hear. I avoided explicit questions about class, culture, and inner-city schools, hoping these issues would emerge in the advocates' responses to my questions. The advocates did refer to class and culture, but I regret that I did not ask directly about teaching resilience to disadvantaged populations (this is perhaps a question I could not have formulated at the time but may be able to address in the future). In short, I grappled with the fact that, on the one hand, I had the responsibility of interpreting the advocates' responses and, on the other hand, their responses reflected their interpretations of my questions. In not wanting to influence the advocates unduly, I had chosen to omit my own views, and omitting my views inevitably influenced their responses. Wanting to appear "neutral" turned out to be anything but neutrality in my aim for strong objectivity. Interim Report Given this problem of perception, and having committed in the initial contact letter to send an interim report to those interviewed, I was anxious that the report convey, first and foremost, my critique of the dominant resiliency discourse. The report was prepared and distributed in August of 1997.57 It provided an overview of the expert and experiential literatures and the differences between them, together with my assertion that childhood resilience needs to be framed by the presence of severe risk and complex trauma. It also included an overview of the advocates' disparate perspectives on, and examples of, risk and resilience in themselves and in others, as well as the 5 7 This interim report was compiled from early draft material, much of which has since been revised or deleted. It is my hope that the advocates will have the opportunity to read the completed thesis. 64 advocates' demographics (see Appendix F). I would have preferred not to distribute such a precursory report but it was part of my strategy of influencing the advocacy community on resiliency issues. It was imperative that I not only fulfill my commitment to issue the report, but that I inform the advocates of some early findings that might disrupt received assumptions about resilience. In addition to wanting to inform and influence the advocates by issuing the interim report, I also hoped for some feedback in what I described in the covering letter as "the spirit of ongoing interpretation and collaboration." Those few advocates I later spoke with, by phone or in person, reiterated the need for this type of analysis and expressed dismay at the apparent lack of consensus among professionals working with at-risk children and youth. One advocate, an educator working in a social service environment, called me the day she received the report and described it as "fascinating and extremely valuable and important." She declared her support in efforts to inform "the work of decision-makers" and to educate the advocacy community about my research.58 In terms of educating the community, and interacting with the community, a complex of perceptions and interpretations have played central roles in my data analysis. It has never been clearer to me that phenomenological shifts in perception—in what we construct as real—will be continually informed and reformed by our interactions and our interpretations. My dissertation will hopefully contribute to yet another hybrid of the multiple discourses circulating around childhood resilience. I may want to subvert the mainstream resiliency project as it is presently constituted, but I have no desire to shut down the conversation. Demographics My voice in the conversation is largely due to my volunteer involvement in BC's child advocacy community. I have been able to meet and interview professionals working in decision-We discussed the possibilities of future workshops and round-table discussions on resilience. 65 making and policy-making positions. I was also fortunate in having received consent to sit in on the educational psychology graduate seminars. Appendix F contains demographics for these different groups. Demographics for the focused interview participants include age and gender, class and culture, marital and family status, educational background, and professional discipline by gender and location. Data from the pilot interviews describes the participants' professional disciplines by gender and location and, from the psychology seminar participants, their academic area by gender. Between Text and Talk Though such variables as age, gender, and class did not determine the advocates' discourse on resilience, there were other influential factors. Their personal histories of risk or trauma informed diverse perspectives on childhood resilience that mapped onto the same divergence found in the resiliency literature. And their professional experiences and occupational locations influenced their strategies for teaching resilience. The advocacy discourse, then, amplifies differences between the expert and experiential discourses. For this reason, in addition to distinguishing among discourses, I also distinguish between text-based discourse (literature) and talk-based discourse (interviews) in data collection, data analysis, and chapter divisions. These distinctions are both cause and effect of the role interpretation plays in critical discourse analysis. Thus, I have addressed personal motivation and political positionality alongside my goal of strong objectivity. I have also identified the interpretive aspects of data collection and data analysis. Chapters Three and Five, organized as "Text: Expert and Experiential Discourses on Resilience" and "Talk: Advocacy Discourses on Risk and Resilience," clarify these multiple distinctions and interpretations. This organization facilitates my analysis in Chapter Four of actual and potential intertextualities, or lack thereof, between text-based expert and experiential resiliency discourses prior to my analysis of talk-based advocacy discourses on risk and resilience. 66 3. TEXT: EXPERT AND EXPERIENTIAL DISCOURSES ON RESILIENCE ... Two roabs bwergeb in a wood, anb I— I took, the one less travelleb by, Anb \hat has mabe all tl?e difference.1 THE DOMINANT DISCOURSE ON CHILDHOOD RESILIENCE EMANATES from the texts on children's risk and effective schooling, and from psychometric studies in child psychology and educational psychology, all of which have flourished over the past 30 years. Educators and psychologists studying the coping and competence of children in distress observed those who appeared invulnerable to traumatic events.2 Their "resilience" was identified as invulnerability to adversity and later defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. A few more recent studies are moving away from invulnerability as a key feature of resilience (see Luthar and associates). But it is this initial version of resilience as invulnerability to adversity that informs today's expert resiliency discourse and its construction of resilience as a set of traits and conditions that can be both reified and replicated.3 Reification and replication are problematic when associated with childhood 1 Rober t Frost, "The Road N o t T a k e n " (1916). 2 (Garmezy 1974; Garmezy, Mas ten , and Tel legen 1984; Garmezy and Rut ter 1983; Rut ter et a l . 1979; Werner and S m i t h 1977; W e r n e r and S m i t h 1982). 3 C r i t i c a l theorist Theodor A d o r n o def ined reification as the o b j e d i f i c a t i o n o f h u m a n subjects as commodi t ies i n a marke t economy ( 1 9 6 9 - 7 0 , 151 -2 ) . Sociologist A n t h o n y Giddens v iews re i f i ca t ion as the o b j e d i f i c a t i o n o f the socia l , as a " re i f i ed discourse [ that ] refers to the ' fac t i c i t y ' w i t h w h i c h social phenomena conf ront i n d i v i d u a l actors i n such a w a y as to ignore h o w they are produced and reproduced th rough h u m a n agency" (1994, 180). Th is " re i f i ed m o d e , " says Giddens, is a style o f discourse that assumes " f i x i t y " and superimposes natural laws on social systems. R e i f i c a t i o n does not mean " t h i n g - l i k e " but , rather, the consequences o f thinking that the socia l is " t h i n g - l i k e " or essential (Giddens 180). I have appl ied re i f i ca t ion to the measurement o f resi l ience, i n v o k i n g a t e r m that connects the ident i f i ca t ion and ob jec t i f i ca t ion o f our " innermos t behavior patterns w i t h [our] fate i n modern soc iety" ( A d o r n o 152) and that captures 67 resilience and teaching resilience, respectively. Such an approach to resilience is being taken up, however, by resiliency researchers and by professional advocates who work on behalf of children and youth at risk. My critical analysis of resiliency discourses occurs at this intersection between resiliency research and advocacy practice. There has been little "oppositional discourse" (Fraser 1989) disputing resilience as reifiable and replicable or challenging resilience conceived as invulnerability in the face of adversity.4 This 1 paucity is partly due to the convergence of education research on risk with psychology research on resilience. In developmental psychology, for example, vulnerability is conceived as psychopathology (Felsman and Vaillant 1987). Because vulnerability was so associated with risk and trauma, invulnerability became associated with resilience, creating dualisms that pathologize human subjectivity. Invoking the co-inherence of binaries (Fuss 1989), it is my position that risk and resilience interact, as do vulnerability and invulnerability, as do subjectivity and objectivity. The mainstream version of resilience is constructed as an ultimate good and an ultimate solution in helping children and youth overcome risk. Its rationale is that if children can learn to be resilient, then they will not be at risk. This dominant discourse constitutes "discourse in the making" because it is not static; it has evolved, and is evolving, into an expert discourse or public policy discourse (Fraser 1989, 173). Public policy discourse comprises a complex of discourses emanating from risk research and professional practice that becomes politicized, for example, by advocates who develop social services around the perceived needs of children and youth at risk. This phenomenon is borne out by the uptake of the expert discourse in the advocacy discourse on resilience. the facticity and fixity that inform the dominant resiliency discourse. In using the term replication in relation to resilience, I refer to the contradictory belief that resilience (as reified) can be produced in children living in distress and disadvantage. 4 Little opposition occurs within or against the dominant resiliency discourse; I will be introducing a subordinate, experiential discourse that challenges the expert discourse. 68 In its evolution, the resiliency discourse could come to include the intertextuality by the expert discourse (the dominant statistical studies) of the experiential discourse (the subordinate life stories)5 But this inclusion is unlikely to occur directly because the unscientific life stories challenge the scientific statistical studies and the former do not lend themselves to the expediencies of public policy.6 Instead, an experiential discourse, reiterated through some advocates' personal experiences, may simply index its way into "public policy" by way of arbitrary advocacy practices over time. This lack of cohesion, even among advocates, illustrates the ongoing disparities among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners due to the different stories we tell about ourselves and our work (Donmoyer 1997a, 2). The expert and experiential discourses and their reiteration in the advocacy discourse are, thus, marked by a loose distinction between paradigmatic knowing and narrative knowing, the former representing thought, the latter feeling (2).7 But it would be remiss to claim simply that the statistical studies are thought without feeling, the life stories feeling without thought. Rather, the distinction is more between statistical studies that purport to separate feeling from thought (excising or denying the subjective experiences of researcher and researched) and life stories that attempt to assimilate thought with feeling in the mediation of resilience. In my analysis of the resiliency literature, I use two lenses that challenge the expert discourse, not to negate it but to bring the life stories into the foreground. One lens is the experiential discourse 5 1 use the term "statistical studies" to represent the range of resiliency research that is more deductive than inductive and more quantitative than qualitative. Such studies typically involve large sample populations, may occur in controlled laboratory or classroom settings, and use research instruments scaled to measure a number of variables. I refer to these studies variously as scientific, statistical, and psychometric, and as comprising an expert or dominant or mainstream resiliency discourse. Though some quantitative studies are longitudinal (in that they comprise repeat cross-sectional studies of the same populations over time), and may include some qualitative case study data, I identify them with the statistical perspective. When these sequential, cross-sectional studies use the same instruments and produce the same measures that characterize the statistical studies generally, then their theoretical and methodological frameworks remain paradigmatically different from those of the life story perspective. 6 I use the descriptors of scientific and unscientific because quantitative study devalues qualitative research. 7 This distinction is itself problematic and an expression of rational thought; it reflects the dualism of object-thought-mind-male over subject-feeling-body-female. But for now I am emphasizing the dichotomies between the two discourses. 69 itself and its psychotherapeutic narratives of overcoming trauma. The other lens comprises conditional criteria within which resilience may occur and by which it might be recognized; I have developed these criteria from texts on trauma recovery and from the resiliency literature itself.8 My critical analysis, by virtue of these two lenses, produces an intertextual and oppositional discourse that disrupts the construction of resilience as reifiable and replicable. Chapter One problematized the construction of childhood resilience in historical context and Chapter Two laid the groundwork for analyzing and distinguishing among resiliency discourses. In this Chapter I "disarticulate" the dominant discourse by exploring the divergence between the statistical studies and the life stories. Two Roads Diverged Dividing these two text-based discourses are two distinct voices. The voice of expertise dominates the voice of experience as they travel along divergent and asymmetric roads. The voice of expertise hails the well travelled road of quantitative, psychometric studies of resilient-identified children who live in, or have been living in, conditions of severe distress. The voice of experience takes the less travelled road of qualitative, psychotherapeutic life stories of resilient-identified adults who experienced severe risk and trauma in childhood. As the first voice resounds loud and clear, the second voice is obscured and overpowered. The voice of expertise aspires to, and claims to be, predictive, though it is more prescriptive; the voice of experience is more descriptive and retrospective. Restating an important distinction between these different voices, these divergent discourses, the quantitative studies are associated with observation and outcome and the qualitative studies with perception and process (Palys 1997). The conditional criteria are explicated later in this chapter. 70 There are exceptions along each of these divergent roads,9 and some similarities between them, but their differences are significant. One difference is relational: The expert authoritarianism and client objectification in the statistical studies contrasts with the experiential knowledge and egalitarian intersubjectivity in the life stories (Oakley 1981, 37-8, 49-50). Another difference is temporal. The statistical studies of resilient-identified children can be characterized as immediate because of the immediacy of researchers' observations and measured outcomes of social and school success; conversely, the life stories of resilient-identified adults can be characterized as mediated due to the life-long mediation process of integrating the traumatic events into one's identity.10 Emphasizing their dichotomy, the quantitative studies produce short-term (or a series of short-term) results, while the qualitative stories are long-term and dynamic. Though these roads occasionally converge and intersect, their divergence maps conflicting approaches to, and perspectives of, resilience. The Quantitative Perspective: Resilience as Immediate Psychometric studies usually occur in controlled environments and employ quantitative measurements of resilient-identified children for statistical analysis. Test scores, school grades, and personality or temperament profiles are among the measurement instruments used to arrive at a set of fixed traits that characterize "the resilient child." This positivist approach is tautological. Psychometrists who perceive resilience as invulnerability to adversity measure what is observable and measurable and then use these outcomes to define what they are observing. This procedure 9 For example, there are a few prospective or longitudinal studies that begin in childhood and culminate in adulthood. However, such studies tend to follow the psychopathology stream and they provide questionable conclusions (Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994). In addition, these longitudinal studies were not initially designed as studies of resilience and they typically target such populations as juvenile delinquents (Felsman and Vaillant 1987) and impoverished populations (Werner 1989). Pioneering longitudinal studies in resilience are discussed later in this Chapter. 1 0 The statistical studies of children are generally undertaken by psychiatrists and psychologists, the latter including educational psychologists, developmental psychologists, and adolescent psychopathologists. The life stories of adults are generally collected by clinical psychologists and psychotherapists in private practice. 71 invokes the science of behaviourism, in which "only that which is observable is real" (Giddens 1994, 215). Presented as psychology, the statistical studies of human attributes actually comprise an experimental psychology. Yet, this experimental psychology is so legitimated by universities as science that it "determine[s] what is to be measured and counted as knowledge" (Hacking 1995, 217). Thus, such measures as good grades and social skills come to define childhood resilience. Academic achievement, which is the hallmark of effective schooling,11 is also the hallmark of resilience in the quantitative perspective.12 Western society has a well-documented history of the scientific mismeasure of human intelligence and criminal behaviour (Gould 1981), of sex and gender (Tavris 1992), and of class and culture (McLaren 1990). This history should provide a cautionary tale to the psychometric study of human emotion and behaviour. Indeed, Gould's critique of the statistical measure of intelligence, for example, warns against the "temptation for reification" (250), the tendency to bestow concrete meaning upon measures of correlation. It is important to note, however, that a more critical view of the quantitative perspective is emerging from within its own ranks. In a 1994 review of resiliency research, for example, the authors find that "resiliency is not a universal construct that applies to all life domains. . . . [Children] may be resilient to specific risk conditions but quite vulnerable to others. . . . Thus, the relative concept of resilience is preferable to the absolute concept of invulnerability" (Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994, 4). But reference to resilience as "relative" is also problematic; it is better conceived as pluralistic (limited multiplicity), not relativistic. In addition, child psychologist Suniya Luthar has conducted longitudinal studies 1 1 (Consortium 1994; Lee; Bryk, and Smith 1993; National Commission 1983; Phillips 1997). 12 A library search of Dissertation Abstracts Ondisc (CD-ROM) produced 60 unpublished dissertation abstracts on childhood resilience (completed from 1994 to 1997 in the USA and Canada) written by doctoral candidates working predominantly in the psychology sciences and using the psychometric research methods common to the mainstream literature on childhood resilience. These studies predominantly target poor and minority populations and assume that the measure of success is individual conformity to the social norms of the dominant society. 72 begun in the quantitative tradition but which now consider the qualitative nuances of childhood risk and resilience (Luthar 1991, 1995; Luthar and Zigler 1991). Interrogating the quantitative research perspective remains crucial, however, because it is the dominant view influencing educational policy and social programming today. It continues to associate resilience with invulnerability (Rutter 1996, 356), an assumption that is not supported by the life stories. In defining the traits of resilient-identified children, the statistical studies have catalogued a set of observable features by which resilience is fixed or reified. These fixed features include sociability, creative problem-solving, and sense of autonomy and purpose.13 Reifying resilience (essence) is, ironically, tied to replicating resilience (construct), not as co-inherent but as sequential. In addition to reifying resiliency traits, researchers have also identified external risk factors and protective or compensatory factors by which they hope resilience can be replicated (through effective schooling and social programming). Such compensatory factors include stable families, supportive relationships, and strong resources in schools and community centres.14 The emphasis on risk and resiliency factors corresponds with a dualism of object over subject and represents surveillance "formulae for administering populations" (Castel 1991, 281). Castel likens this governance to a departure from traditional intervention to "preventive strategies" that dissolve the notion of a subject or a concrete individual, and put in its place a combinatory of factors, the factors of risk [and resilience]. Such a transformation, if this is indeed what is taking place, carries important practical implications. The essential component of intervention no longer takes the form of the direct face-to-face relationship between the carer and the cared, the helper and the helped, the professional and the client. It comes instead to reside in the establishing of flows of population based on the collation of a range of abstract factors deemed liable to produce risk [and resilience] in general. (Castel 1991,281) 1 3 (Anthony and Cohler 1987; Beardslee 1989; Garmezy and Masten 1991; G.M. Johnson 1997b; Luthar 1991; Masten et al. 1990; Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994). 1 4 (Beardslee 1989; Berlin and Davis 1989; Compas et al. 1995; Consortium 1994; Jessor 1993; G.M. Johnson 1997b; Masten et al. 1990; McCloskey et al. 1995; Munsch and Blyth 1993; Sameroff et al. 1993). 73 Castel claims that the modern medical model (which informs the psychoanalytic model) has drifted to such an extent toward the "multiplication of systems" and the scientizing of "technologies of care" that these objectifications have obliterated the client as subject (281-2). Relying on client records and expert assessments has fomented a "crisis of clinical medicine" (Castel 1991, 282). Historically, this crisis has depersonalized the individual, moved from experience to expertise, and migrated from present processes to future outcomes, in what Castel describes as "imputations of dangerousness" (282-3). Paradoxically, external risk factors are systematically collated while dangerousness is treated as internal to individuals labelled at-risk. This slip partially explains the shift from trauma to risk in the scientific discourse: Vulnerability has been associated with both psychopathology and disadvantage, and both have been collapsed as deviance and abnormality. Pathologizing the poor and targeting structurally disadvantaged populations combine with the notion of replication, of teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools. Quite a different approach is found in the life story perspective, though both perspectives represent narrative knowing. The Qualitative Perspective: Resilience as Mediated Psychotherapeutic stories are the life histories of adults identified by others as resilient. Their stories, told to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, engage all the qualitative idiosyncrasies of memory, narrative, identity, interpretation, and subjectivity (Nielsen 1995; Ricoeur 1991; Somers 1992). Though the life stories are not reduced to clinical records, they are constructed and reconstructed through the multiple interpretations of speaker, writer, and reader (K.B. Jones 1993). Nevertheless, concerning resiliency, there is considerable resonance running through even the most diverse life stories, but considerable dissonance between qualitative and quantitative perspectives. A few voices along the dominant road, for example, have noted the shortcomings of statistical 74 studies that examine children only at one point in time and that fail to consider the cumulative effects of, say, abuse and neglect (Farber and Egeland 1987, 256). But these voices fall on deaf ears when they lament statistical studies that measure invulnerability as a "good outcome" and that ignore long-term processes in the desire for short-term outcomes. The life stories of resilient-identified adults are associated primarily with psychotherapy and the modern-day recovery movement. Though I have steered clear of what appears to me as "new age" confessionals and "psycho-babble" how-to books, most psychotherapeutic publications are academically devalued as unscientific; they represent "popular psychology" and qualitative accounts are not usually included in psychology journals. But there are scholarly published testimonies of the life story perspective that provide powerful challenges to the statistical studies. Notions of resilience may also be retrospectively read into media profiles, historical biographies (Gardner 1993 a; Gardner 1995; Goertzel and Goertzel 1962), and fictional characters (Felsman and Vaillant 1987), for example, as leadership, or eminence, or endurance. But such retrospections may be as problematic as longitudinal resiliency studies that were originally designed as risk studies. I have been necessarily selective of my life story sources and, thus, the body of expert literature is much larger than the experiential literature represented here. The statistical studies are impersonal, by virtue of their critera of objectivity and generalizability, while the life stories are personal and even seductive (to me), in the sense that every text aims to seduce its reader. If the text at the same time lays claim to having scientific value, we readers must ask whether seduction stands in the way of truth. . . . Rather than being an assault against scientific ethics, seduction is a necessary premise for a sensible conversation to take place. (Nielsen 1995,4) I am seduced by the "serious intentions" of the life stories, which is not to dismiss the statistical studies. Though the statistical studies cannot accommodate the life stories (short-term outcomes cannot convey or predict long-term processes), the life stories can accommodate aspects of the 75 statistical studies.15 To reiterate, the statistical studies exclude the life stories but the life stories include some aspects of the statistical studies. Moreover, if a keyword of the statistical studies is measurement, a keyword of the life stories is meaning, and I am seduced by narrative meaning. The difference is between numbers versus words as codes of communication, a difference as significant as that between immediate outcomes and mediated processes. The immediate represents how we are known by others through observation, measurement, and performance. But philosopher Paul Ricoeur advises that we can only know ourselves—we can only construct our own identity—through our life stories, through our "narrative identity" as mediated in, and exemplified by the stories we tell about ourselves (Ricoeur 1991, 73). According to Ricoeur, understanding that life stories inherently fuse history with fiction actually renders them more readable and more intelligible, but also more interpretive,16 and perhaps more seductive. If "knowledge of the self is an interpretation" (73), then life stories are necessarily mediated as historical fictions that carry the weight of personal, narrative identities mediated over time. A primary purpose of narrative is to make sense of our historical contexts by creating an "uninterrupted continuity" of our evolving selves across the lifespan (74). Precisely because of the subjectivity of narrative knowing in the social workd, the life stories challenge statistical and, particularly, laboratory-based studies. From a critical realist perspective the laboratory is a place to test theory . . . since it's a closed system in which basic structures of individual human behaviour (e.g., competencies, abilities, powers) can be investigated. But there's a bigger question: do our interests lie exclusively with the concoction of theories of lab behaviour per se, or are we also interested in theorizing about life in its broader context? . . . [Critical realists) argue that traditional experimentalists are accurate in their analysis (as it pertains to lab behaviour), but myopic (because the conditions they study exist only in the lab).1 7 . . . 1 5 Such accommodations are discussed in Chapter Four. 1 6 Interestingly, the implicit interplay between fact and fiction occurs in both quantitative and qualitative accounts. 1 7 Citing P.T. Manicas and P.F. Secord, "Implications for Psychology of the New Philosophy of Science," American Psychologist 38 (1983): 399-413. 76 Some of the major questions about laboratory research revolve around the notion of exactly what lab behaviour means. But the lab has even more clear-cut limitations. Not the least of these is that there are many phenomena that we would prefer to attend to in vivo (a Latin phrase meaning, literally, "in life"). Not all phenomena can be transported into the lab, nor can all be scrutinized conveniently in the typical hour-long laboratory session. . . . And when the mountain can't come to us, then we must go to the mountain. (Palys 1997, 278) Cautionary Comments Though I clearly favour the life stories, cautionary comments are required concerning both the interpretivism of the life stories and the positivism of the statistical studies. Quantitative, psychoanalytic studies typically target easily accessible populations to collect their data, populations that may not be relevant to the study itself. Such populations may include clients in clinical treatment (or their families), university students (especially students of psychology professors who are conducting surveys), and minority populations listed in welfare, police, or prison records. Problems occur when findings are either particularized to, or generalized from, one group, class, or culture. Disadvantaged groups have too often been studied for social problems and then blamed for those problems, for example, and expected to conform to social norms based on the ideals and denials of advantaged populations. Child abuse may be blamed on poverty, for example, and poverty then blamed on "poor" parenting; thus, impoverished parents are construed as abusive parents as though abuse does not occur across classes and cultures (Martineau 1992, 1993). The statistical studies on resilience are all the more problematic when findings from middle-class groups are generalized to inner-city populations, or when poor and immigrant children and youth are pathologized as "deprived, different, disadvantaged, at-risk, disabled" (McDermott and Varenne 1995, 33). Poverty pervades most programming initiatives as the cause of risk because poverty is a dominant research context and because, consequently, "many risks are correlated with poverty" (K. Butler 1997, 25). Problematic to statistical studies claiming predictive capabilities is the difficulty of distinguishing 77 between correlation and causation; when numerous variables covary (i.e., are highly correlated) it becomes increasingly difficult to discern what is driving any predictive or causal relationship. Another problem occurs when clinical studies of deeply troubled youth are generalized to socioeconomically disadvantaged young people in inner-city schools and communities. Turning to the life stories, it is important to note that the resilient-identified adults are particular sorts of persons: those who sought out therapy or counselling, who were known by their psychologists over time, and who were willing to share their life stories (albeit anonymously) with a larger audience. Some even published their autobiographies. The psychologists who organized the life stories for publication undoubtedly superimposed their own interpretations on the narratives to produce cohesive profiles of resilience. The life stories are narratives of narratives, interpretations of interpretations. Even in their cohesiveness they represent multiple resiliences, given that the life stories have been shaped by psychotherapists and subjected to multiple interpretations. Having advised against unbridled acceptance of the claims of either perspective (Offer and Schonert-Reichl 1992), I cautiously use the life story perspective as a lens through which to locate and critique the statistical perspective. The divergent and asymmetric tracks of these two perspectives—the statistical studies as experimental, objective, and dominant, the life stories as experiential, subjective, and subordinate—reflect the rational-irrational dualism of modernity. As science, "the driving force of the modern age is the search for certainty, the effort to use reason to establish absolute and universal truth" (Hekman 1990, 62). The statistical studies aspire to scientific claims of objectivity and rationality, to the "hegemony of reason" that ironically renders them untenable as a science of the social (19). Having no intention of using the life stories to execute a reversal from objectivism to subjectivism as a dominant discourse, I have developed conditional 78 criteria for recognizing the occurrence of resilience, criteria that draw from and assess both expert and experiential discourses. Conditional Criteria for Recognizing Resilience From a post-structural perspective, reviewing the resiliency literature caused me to develop conditional criteria for recognizing multiple resiliencies (that meet the criteria) rather than to simply redefine resilience. These conditional criteria are complex trauma, post-traumatic stress, and resilience as anomaly (each is expanded upon below). The first two conditions comprise a complex traumatic syndrome resulting from prolonged risk and unresolved distress. The third condition holds that resilience occurs only in the context of overcoming the complex traumatic syndrome. By conditional criteria, I mean that the criteria are conditional as well as representative of the conditions within which resilience, itself conditional, may occur. Multiple facets of resilience—resiliency pluralism—are contingent in their construction around an essential core of trauma; the criteria hold complex trauma and the process of trauma recovery as essential to resilience.18 If resilience is to be associated with risk—risk as socioeconomic disadvantage—then risk must produce trauma. Also, a child can be "at risk" for abuse and neglect, but only if that child is abused, neglected, and thereby traumatized do the conditions exist in which resilience may manifest and be recognized.19 The conditional criteria exclude the stresses and strains of everyday life events, distinguish risk from trauma, and restore resilience as anomalous rather than social norm. In addition, the criteria allow for resiliency pluralism, dislodging resilience as a set of reifiable and replicable traits and conditions, referred to in the expert discourse as inputs and outputs.20 1 8 (Freyd 1996; Glass 1993; Hacking 1995; Herman 1992; Higgins 1994). Like resilience, trauma is also a text that is subject to discourse analysis; at this juncture, I am taking the trauma recovery literature at face value. 1 9 Similarly, psychologist Young-Eisendrath (1996) holds resilience to the context of severe adversity. 2 0 Note the economic genre. See Table in Chapter Four depicting this linear model of inputs and outputs. 79 The criteria are drawn from the statistical studies, the life stories, and the literature on trauma recovery. They provide a lens through which to analyze the expert and experiential discourses, though this raises the question of whether a critical lens can be constituted out of that which is being critically examined.21 My response is yes because the conditional criteria represent the criteria for resilience, not the definition of resilience. Through this lens, the experiential resiliency discourse remains consistent even though a diversity of individual narratives shift over time as resilience is individually (and culturally) mediated. But the expert resiliency discourse, derived from scientific studies in which claims of validity and reliability are paramount, appears inconsistent and contradictory over time due to its immediate measures of resilience. The criteria challenge resiliency relativism, reification, and replication in the statistical studies but recognize resiliency as mediated, pluralistic, and contingent in the life stories. Table 2 identifies the components of the conditional criteria in the two divergent discourses. Complex trauma is evidenced by the early statistical studies as well as the life stories. Post-traumatic stress is evidenced by the life stories, but it is understandably absent in the statistical studies due to their short-term measures. Resilience as anomaly is substantiated by the life stories and the early statistical studies; it is important to note that resilience was anomalous in the early statistical studies not because researchers necessarily recognized childhood resilience 21 This problem is raised in Fundamental Feminism: "Feminism cannot simultaneously be the lens through which experiences are interpreted, and also find its grounding in those experiences. That is, the feminist interpretive lens cannot be grounded on women's point of view" (Grant 1993, 101). In other words, feminism can critique patriarchy, but can feminism critique feminism? "To ground feminism in women's experiences and then to look to feminism to interpret those experiences is a tautology. To the extent that feminist standpoint theory accepts this tautology, it cannot accomplish what it sets out to do" (101). Table 2: Conditional Criteria for Resilience Statistical Life Conditional Criteria Studies Stories Complex Trauma x xx Post-Traumatic Stress - xx Resilience as Anomaly x xx Complex Traumatic Syndrome xx x - prevalent only in early statistical studies xx - consistent throughout the life stories 80 but because the studies were conducted with children who experienced severe traumatic events or conditions. The complex traumatic syndrome—complex trauma and post-traumatic stress—is located only in the life stories due to their retrospection and long-term mediation of resilience. Complex Trauma trau-ma . . . 1. a. a body wound or shock produced by physical injury, as from violence or an accident, b. the condition produced by this; traumatism. 2. Psychiatry, psychological shock or severe distress from experiencing a disastrous event outside the range of usual experience, as rape, military combat, or an airplane crash. 3. Any wrenching or distressing experience, esp. one causing a disturbance in normal functioning. (Random House 1994) The dictionary definition of trauma does not distinguish between simple trauma and complex trauma, but it implies both. Physical or psychological shock can cause either simple or complex trauma. Simple trauma is more associated with such life events as divorce, illness, accidents, or death of a loved one. Complex trauma is associated with prolonged and unresolved distress and often the absence of a strong support system. Psychiatrists working with South Asian refugees had to develop an '"expanded concept' of post-traumatic stress disorder that takes into account severe, prolonged, and massive psychological trauma" (Herman 1992, 120).22 Likewise, clinicians working with survivors of prolonged child abuse found it necessary to distinguish between Type I trauma and Type II trauma, where Type II "includes denial and psychic numbing, self-hypnosis and dissociation, and alternations between extreme passivity and outbursts of rage" (120).23 Importantly, Type II trauma "capture[s] the aftereffects of repeated traumas" (Freyd 1996, 164) and constitutes the complex traumatic syndrome, 2 2 Citing J. Kroll, M . Habenicht, T. Mackenzie, et al., "Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Southeast Asian Refugees," American Journal ofPsychiatry 146 (1989): 1592-7. 23 Citing L.C. Terr, "Childhood Traumas: An Outline and Overview," American Journal of Psychiatry 148 (1991): 10-20. Another psychiatrist distinguishes between the simple trauma of a single blow and the severity of prolonged, repeated trauma (Herman 1992, 120), citing Jean Goodwin, "Applying to Adult Incest Victims What We Have Learned from Victimized Children," Incest-Related Syndromes of Adult Psychopathology, ed. R. Kluft (Washington DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1990) 55-74. 81 which encompasses both complex trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (Herman 1992, 120).24 Resilience must remain associated with complex trauma to prevent its problematic slide from anomaly to normality as occurs in the evolution of the statistical perspective. Complex Post-Traumatic Stress The manifestation of post-traumatic stress demonstrates the presence of complex trauma and children's prior abilities to call upon a range of coping mechanisms during distress. It is crucial that many of these mechanisms, which can become maladaptive in adulthood, not be mistaken for resilience. To even identify resilience in childhood is problematic, as more meaningful indicators of resilience unfold over time. These exist in the differences between those trapped in the aftermath of trauma in varying degrees, for example, and those able to move beyond the aftermath of trauma in varying degrees. In this way, surviving during trauma is not conflated with striving after trauma (although resilience requires both). The aftermath of complex trauma includes post-traumatic stress, which is rooted in a history of subjection to totalitarian control over a prolonged period (months to years). Examples include hostages, prisoners of war, concentration-camp survivors, and survivors of some religious cults.25 Examples also include those subjected to totalitarian systems in sexual and domestic life, including survivors of domestic battering, childhood physical or sexual abuse, and organized sexual exploitation.26 (Herman 1992, 121) The dominant features of complex post-traumatic stress include alterations in consciousness (e.g., dissociation), emotional regulation (e.g., rage), relations with others (e.g., isolation), self-perception (e.g., shame), and systems of meaning (e.g., hopelessness), among others (Herman 1992, 24 It is problematic to view post-traumatic stress as a disorder and I have dropped "disorder" from my discussion. 2 5 Herman talked with survivors of concentration camps in her efforts to understand the experiences of children trapped in totalitarian households, which she likened to concentration camps. 2 6 Organized sexual exploitation includes child pornography and child prostitution. Other examples of complex trauma conditions include coping over the long-term with refugeeism, parents' mental illness, aggravated alcoholism and drug addiction, long-term neglect and abandonment, and so on, particularly if multiple conditions co-occur. 82 121). Symptoms include persistent depression, chronic suicidal preoccupation, and "disruption in intimate relationships" (121).27 Added to this might be the fragmented or "non-integrated personality"—one personality in fragments—one fragment of which plays the role of "protector" in childhood (Hacking 1995).28 This protector child may be mistaken as resilient if later integration does not occur (in the life stories, resilience involves the long-term integration of traumatic experiences into their identities). Although the complex traumatic syndrome contradicts received notions of resilience, it is a necessary condition for resilience as mediated and not just immediate. It is in this way that resilience is anomalous, as conceptualized in the life stories and the early statistical studies. Resilience as Anomalous Resilience as an anomaly is also supported in the literature on children and youth "at risk." One analyst estimates that 10% of adolescents in the USA can be categorized as "very high-risk youth, those with multiple-problem behaviors" (Dryfoos 1990, 107).29 It is commonly held that approximately 10% of such high risk groups will demonstrate resilience (Higgins 1994, 18).30 When resilience is correctly associated only with high risk groups, we get a better sense of resilience as 27 Herman provides a detailed list of symptoms for each of these "alterations" (Herman 1992, 121). 28 • • • Hacking distinguishes one personality in fragments from "multiple personality disorder" (MPD). MPD is reputed to be several personalities in one person. In Hacking's opinion, the latter is a manifestation of media hype and hypnosis, whereas the former implies the potential for healthy re-integration after trauma. In keeping with Hacking's view, MPD has recently been renamed dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, which manifests as an aftereffect of sustained childhood trauma that reflects the child's imaginary capabilities required to survive such trauma. DID occurs when the adult cannot move beyond this childhood survival strategy. Trauma affects personality and can involve memory loss. Hacking's historical treatise on memory asserts that one's memory is essential to one's identity (Hacking 1995). 29 Dryfoos's work is, however, troubling. She locates all adolescents along a continuum of risk (from low to high) while pursuing in-school services in inner-city schools. This combination of positing all adolescents at risk while targeting inner-city schools for risk programming is mirrored in the resiliency movement, which posits all children as having the potential for resilience while targeting inner-city schools for teaching resilience. 3 0 Citing seven early studies of impoverished children, children with mentally ill parents, Holocaust survivors, and other children at risk, by Wemer and Smith, A. Osborn, E.J. Anthony, M . Rutter, C. Kaufrnann et al., W.B. Helmreich, and Hauser et al. See Higgins' footnotes 48-52 (1994, 359). By this arithmatic, 10% of high risk youth (which is 1% of all youth) would be characterized as resilient in the context of complex trauma. This surely suggests resilience as anomalous. 83 anomalous. Some researchers purport that a majority of distressed children are resilient, but Higgins, writing from the life story perspective, cautions against such a view. She claims that these researchers use only clinical samples, which leave "the incidence of more and less shattering outcomes in the general population less well understood" (19). Higgins distinguishes between many people functioning "well enough" and those with "unusually high levels of functioning in the face of adversity" (Higgins 1994, 19). This latter group represents the 10% who exemplify resilience after having experienced severe adversity in childhood. Higgins makes an important point in her research with resilient-identified adults: The prevalence of abuse is considerably higher than the prevalence of resilience because resilient adults "frequently have highly psychologically compromised siblings" (20) who also experienced severe adversity. A subject in another qualitative study of resilient-identified adults explained that her siblings identified with, and were central to, the family drama that destroyed them: They were "crushed by its pathology and descended into crime, prostitution, alcoholism, illegitimacy, and long-term welfare dependency" (L. Rubin 1996, 45). This point alone—the typically disparate "coping" processes among siblings—provides compelling support for the criterion of resilience as anomalous. A Slippery Slope I constructed the conditional criteria to subvert the slippery slope from resilience-as-anomaly to resilience-as-normality in the expert discourse.31 The danger of this slippage informs the politics of teaching resilience to targeted populations. Early researchers perceived children's invulnerability to adversity and called it resilience; they observed it as anomalous in severely traumatized children living with combinations of parental alcoholism, mental illness, abuse and neglect, political violence, and so on. But trauma and resilience are neither immediate nor measurable, as are certain risk 3 1 A slippery slope is not only a slide from one position to another; it is the dangerous and perhaps irreversible slippage from one position to a worse position (Random House 1994). The danger here is its effect on less powerful others. 84 conditions. Thus, a second slippage occurs in the expert discourse, in tandem with the first one, and this is the slip from trauma to risk. It occurs, for example, when complex trauma is supplanted by the stress of "cumulated adversities" (Garmezy 1996, 7) and the expert discourse refers to "the midtiple stressors to which a substantial portion of our population is now subjected" (7).32 What just happened? Today's society is characterized as stressed, and dealing with everyday stress becomes synonymous with risk and resilience. Accordingly, this slide occurs when people with strong personal resources and support systems face life's everyday stresses without adverse effect and are then classified as resilient (Consortium 1994, 296).33 This becomes the model that targets at-risk populations. Both risk and resilience lose meaning when they are conflated with coping with the stresses and strains of everyday life events. Consider the Consortium's identification of three types of resilience: "good [academic] outcomes in high risk children, sustained [social] competence in children under stress, and recovery from [complex] trauma" (Consortium 1994, 272). Several problems result. The same immediate observations are measured whether the conditions are risk, stress, or trauma; all three conditions are conflated as to expected outcomes; and all children are perceived as "at risk." This latter problem refers to the category "children under stress," meaning the majority of children living in a so-called stressful society where the "vicissitudes of adulthood" are visited upon them (Garmezy 1996, 7). The Consortium's typologies present two additional problems: first is their contention that all children are at risk while their research targets poor, refugee, immigrant, and ethnic minorities in inner-city schools; second is their belief that all inner-city children and youth are at risk and require school- and community-based risk prevention and intervention programs. The Consortium 3 2 Cumulated adversities may certainly cause complex trauma, but complex trauma cannot be attributed to the general population. 3 3 This group comprises 11 members who conduct research on the school-based promotion of social competence. 85 focuses on individual "mental health problems" and pays lip service to poverty,34 failing to address structural oppression and systemic disadvantage.35 From my reading, a sense of panic informs their mounting social program agenda, as their focus shifts from risk to resilience in a bid for revitalized funding because risk programming has proven ineffective. The implications of these slippages in meaning are partly informed by the insight that "expert needs discourses are the vehicles for translating sufficiently politicized runaway needs [italics added] into objects of potential state intervention" (Fraser 1989, 173). State intervention manifests in ever-increasing policies and practices that claim all children are at risk (also prevalent in the advocacy discourse), while targeting "kids at risk" in inner-city schools for social programming without also challenging systemic disadvantage. At worst, "when expert needs discourses are institutionalized in state apparatuses, they tend to become normalizing [italics added], aimed at 'reforming', or more often stigmatizing, 'deviancy'" (174). Read deviancy as the other, as structurally disadvantaged populations. Here lies the danger. The slippery slope of stress occurs within the statistical perspective, which strips resilience of meaning and promotes targeting and surveillance strategies.36 A Paradox In addition to these troubling slippages, a paradox occurs between the statistical studies and the life stories. It is a paradox bound up with complex trauma and post-traumatic stress which, 3 4 Lip service is an "additive discourse" (Delphy 1995) only, meaning that it does nothing to transform the conditions of poverty, instead simply adding poverty to the list of children's risk factors. Lip service characterizes the common tendency of researchers, academics, policy makers, practitioners, and politicians to invoke poverty as an overarching cause of social problems among the disadvantaged and to posit the elimination of poverty as the cure-all for such social problems. I refer to the tendency of espousing the eradication of poverty while failing to act materially upon this belief. Paying lip service occurs because poverty is structured by an economic system in which most social critics of poverty actually benefit from poverty. Rarely acknowledged is systemic poverty as integral to capitalist society. 3 5 For an analysis of systemic poverty (analyzed in the American context but applicable to Canada), see Michael B. Katz, The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989). 3 6 Many important words lose meaning due to overuse, slippage, and co-optation. Such words include rape when it is used, for example, to describe "the rape of the landscape," and racism when it is detached from institutional discrimination. Invoking racist accusations when race is not the issue detracts from the real problems of racism. 86 together, comprise the complex traumatic syndrome. As a condition for resilience, the syndrome challenges some assumptions about resilience. For example, adults perceived as resilient because, one, they were successful in school and, two, they did not suffer post-traumatic stress, may not have experienced complex trauma in childhood. Can they be called resilient? Further, children perceived as resilient who experienced complex trauma may be dissociating, a precursor to post-traumatic stress that can be mistaken for resilience. In her research on betrayal trauma, psychologist Jennifer Freyd describes dissociation as a survival skill: "Betrayal violates the basic ethic of human relationships, and though we are skilled at recognizing betrayal when it occurs, this ability may be stifled for the greater goal of survival" (Freyd 1996, 164).37 But seeming to survive trauma in the short term is not predictive of resilience and is not synonymous with striving to overcome the complex traumatic syndrome in the long term. I question whether one can experience complex trauma without experiencing post-traumatic stress, and whether absence of the complex traumatic syndrome is an accurate indication of resilience. Here lies the paradox: Does resilience occur in the absence of trauma, its apparent absence being the evidence of resilience, or does resilience occur in the presence of trauma, its presence being the necessary condition for resilience? This paradox maps the divergence between the expert and experiential discourses and mirrors the distinction between resilience as norm and resilience as anomaly. It is only partly resolved by the retrospective views of the life stories, which challenge the predictive claims of the statistical studies. 3 7 I disagree with many aspects of Freyd's defense of repressed and recovered memories concerning childhood sexual abuse. Her work on betrayal trauma, however, adds to our understanding of the relationships among trauma, memory, identity, and narrative. See also Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory (Hacking 1995). 87 What Does Resiliency Mean and to Whom? The statistical studies are further challenged by my critique of two tenets in the expert discourse. One is the more clinical definition of resilience as invulnerability to adversity and the other, derived from the first, is the more popularized definition of resilience as bouncing back from adversity. These two definitions are in conflict and they elicit the following questions: If a child is invulnerable to adversity, from what is the child bouncing back? If the adversity has been traumatic and, therefore, essentially life changing, to what is the child bouncing back? The contradiction between these two definitions amplifies the importance of establishing conditional criteria for recognizing resilience. Invulnerability to Adversity? To be invulnerable is to be "incapable [italics added] of being wounded, hurt, or damaged" (Random House 1994). Early proponents of resilience who.observed traumatized children as invulnerable characterized them as resilient (Anthony and Cohler 1987; Rutter et al. 1979; Werner 1989b).38 The statistical studies championed the invulnerable child as "stress-resistant,"39 based on "observable, behavioral criteria that represent success in meeting expectations of society" (Luthar and Zigler 1991, 12). A book on one of the most-cited studies of childhood resilience is titled Vulnerable But Invincible (Werner and Smith 1982), even though invincibility is a synonym for invulnerability. One widely cited edition of articles written by psychologists and psychiatrists is titled The Invulnerable Child (Anthony and Cohler 1987), and a recent mass media article on resilience is called "Invincible Kids" (Shapiro et al. 1996). 3 8 Werner cites M . Rutter, C. Izard, and P. Read, Depression in Young People: Developmental and Clinical Perspectives (New York: Guildford Press, 1985). 39 (Garmezy 1985; Garmezy 1996, 11; Garmezy and Rutter 1983; Luthar 1991, 600; Werner and Smith 1982). 88 Vulnerability in these contexts is viewed as psychological susceptibility, and refers to the "predisposition to develop varied forms of psychopathology or behavioral ineffectiveness" (Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994,2). This dualism between invulnerability and vulnerability helps to explain the slippage from anomaly to norm and from trauma to risk in the expert discourse. Risk populations are perceived as vulnerable, and vulnerable populations are pathologized. It sets up a second dualism, between risk and resilience, and illuminates the problem of teaching resilience to targeted risk populations. This second dualism Table 3: Dualism o f Risk and Resilience reduces risk to school failure and resilience to Risk is reduced to: Resilience is reduced to: school failure school success deviance from the norm conformity to the norm all children are at risk all are potentially resilient "a nation at risk" "effective schooling" "effective schooling" (cited elsewhere), inform this artificial dualism. Pathologizing human vulnerability is a peculiar practice. If invincible or invulnerable children "are untouched [italics added] by the stresses they face . . ." (Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994, 3—4), I would argue that this is traumatic behaviour that can lead to psychopathology. Perceived invulnerability may actually be dissociation, a survival strategy that must eventually be overcome to achieve mental health in adulthood. Conversely, resilient-identified adults (in the life stories) emphasize their ability to live with their childhood trauma, albeit in controlled doses (L. Rubin 1996), a far cry from invulnerability. Ironically, one of the researchers who first identified "the invulnerable child" in the context of complex trauma has more recently implied that the less adversity one must adapt to, the less maladaptive and the more resilient one is likely to be (Rutter 1996, 356).40 This slippage defeats the very notion of resilience. 4 0 Citing A. Caspi, and T.E. Moffitt, "When Do Individual Differences Matter? A Paradoxical Theory of Personality Coherence," Psychological Inquiry 4 (1993): 247-71. 89 Working from the life story perspective to counsel struggling adults who were "invulnerable children," one psychiatrist describes invulnerability as a protective mechanism during childhood trauma. It becomes a negative defense mechanism of denial, blame, and pretense in adulthood if left unresolved (Viscott 1996, 4). Such adults are inflexible, punitive, unfeeling, perfectionistic, possessive, adversarial, and criticizing; they have lost the ability to dream, to create, and to be spontaneous, and they live in fear of losing control (of themselves and of others); in fact, they reproduce in their relationships what they fear the most—rejection and abandonment (239-54).41 According to Viscott, the invulnerable adult (which it is interesting to note tends to fit the gender socialization of the male stereotype and so might have been privileged by mainstream psychiatrists) is dominating and controlling, and has a tendency to obsess rather than admit his vulnerability, feel his hurt, and begin the mourning process. For the controlling person to aclmit a hurt and begin to deal with it, he must also concede that in some way he was powerless to prevent it. . . . The real source of his obsession stems from his fear of being vulnerable and dealing honestly with his hurt. He has a well-established habit of repressing hurt. . . . Healing is limited by his inability to be vulnerable, [italics added] (Viscott 1996, 248, 252) Invulnerability may precede resilience but it cannot define resilience. Invulnerability as a trait of resilience assumes that resilience and vulnerability are in opposition (Rutter 1996, 356; Werner 1989b).42 This and other dualisms are used in the statistical studies to identify either resilience or pathology in children; for example, ab/normal, mal/adjusted, mal/adaptive, in/vincible, in/competent, even non/resilience. But in the social world such dualisms are interactive and people may be both vulnerable and invulnerable in unpredictable ways throughout their lifetimes. 4 1 Of course, it is just as likely that a controlling nature invokes invulnerability. The point is that character traits range between positive and negative extremes. Viscott is discussing the negative manifestations of invulnerability in the context of complex childhood trauma. On the positive side, when such people evolve and mature, they make excellent statisticians, archeologists, organizers, and military strategists, and are "the backbone of the legal system, government, defense department, police department, and correctional system," the planners, builders, and protectors of society (1996, 253-4). 4 2 Rutter cites N. Garmezy and A. Masten, "Chronic Adversities," Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Modern Approaches, 3rd Edition, eds. M . Rutter, E. Taylor, and L. Hersov (Oxford: Blackwell Scientific, 1994) 191-208. 90 Referring to Kathryn's story in Box 1, in which moments is she vulnerable or invulnerable, and adaptive or maladaptive, and how might she choose to control those moments by concealing or revealing herself? Was she a resilient child, with her straight A's and her beautiful blond hair, while longing for someone to love her? What about her suicide attempt and her self-mutilation, her bulimic and anorexic nervosa? What about her stubbornness and her emptiness and isolation? How Box 1: Kathryn's Story H o w might the experiences of novelist Kathryn Harrison, as told in her memoir, The Kiss (1997), be characterized? Kathryn seemed to manage well throughout a childhood of searing betrayal and abandonment by both mother and father. She was a smart and pretty girl who always got good grades and who even went on to college. But was she resilient? Was she successful? In college, Kathryn was "seduced" into a years-long incestuous love affair with her st i l l emotionally absent and narcissistic father. Perversely reliving the nightmare of her childhood, Kathryn sank into numbing despair and denial until, finally, nights, in my room, I turn the handle of my grandfather's old-fashioned razor to release the blade from under its stainless steel cover. I trace the sharp edge over my arm, press it into places where a scratch might go unnoticed. It's not so much a desire for punishment as for manageable pain, bleeding that can be stanched. (Harrison 1997,153) O n the day of her father's first passionate kiss, the adult Kathryn slipped into the long and restless "sleep" that permitted their tortuous love affair. She eventually awakens, returns to school, writes books, gets married, has children. Recalls Kathryn, "the hour I spend with my [dead] grandfather . . . changes my life. The kiss I place on his unyielding cheek begins to wake me, just as my father's in the airport put me to sleep" (290). She tears herself away from her debilitating drama, from the "brilliant reenactment" (L.J. Kaplan 1991) of her betray and abandonment. is Kathryn to be measured and categorized? Could Kathryn's betrayal trauma (Freyd 1996), perverse strategy (L.J. Kaplan 1991),43 and trauma recovery (Herman 1992) have been foretold in childhood? Can we measure the horror of a traumatized child's secret fear of "falling forever and fragmenting 4 3 In the worst case scenarios of adult perversions deriving from childhood pathologies (unresolved complex trauma), some perverse behaviours act as survival strategies. Without excusing harm to others, such perversions may include fetishism, transvestism, masochism (harm to self), sadism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, paedophilia, zoophilia, and necrophilia (L.J. Kaplan 1991). Within this disturbing range of perversions, Kaplan identifies the perverse strategy in , for example, the fetish, which may appear merely as a detail of repetitive behaviour but is also "a complex symbol that both expresses and yet conceals all the forbidden and dangerous wishes, all the losses, abandonments, anxieties, and terrors of childhood" (34). Such perversions reflect the terror and intensity of the childhood trauma, now compulsively repeated in the perverse obsession. Kaplan calls this a perverse strategy because it signals the deeper trauma, the brilliant re-enactment a desperate cry for help. 91 into nothingness" (L.J. Kaplan, 71)? Such a child, in desperate need of love and order, can seem invulnerable by all outward appearances, giving away nothing of her inner terrors until adulthood. My challenge of invulnerability is not to promote victimology, where trauma teams and crisis counsellors swoop in on each new disaster scene and where psychiatrists and psychologists are consulted for every private problem. Equally problematic would be to promote a reversal from a culture of self-pity to a culture of self-reliance, a reversal for which some psychologists are arguing.44 Instead, I question the over-professionalization of traumatic life events that encourages the extremes of either victimization or invulnerability. Contrary to notions of invulnerability, which among other things means inaccessibility, one of the characteristics of resilient-identified adults in the life stories is not vulnerability as victimization or psychopathology but, rather, their ability to develop empathy for others in difficult circumstances: "If abused children were [self-]convinced that their pain was useful, especially in helping others, then they were more likely to be resilient" (Young-Eisendrath 1996, 77). Developing empathy out of trauma can hardly be associated with resilience as invulnerability. Can resilience, then, be associated with bouncing back from adversity? Bouncing Back from Adversity? Resilience as bouncing back from adversity emerged from the discourse of resilience as invulnerability to adversity. Resilience is literally defined as elasticity or buoyancy, as the ability to "recover readily" (Random House 1994). It is frequently referred to by psychologists and others as the ability to bounce back from adversity, presumably back to a prior and stable state. When applied to children and youth this observation does not take into account their sophisticated coping mechanisms, for which long-term outcomes are unpredictable. Also, the notion of bouncing back is contradicted by that of invulnerability, in that bouncing back implies at least a temporary period See, for example, Bowman (1997). 92 of vulnerability. While the bouncing back metaphor is a slight improvement over the invulnerability model, it ignores the traumatic stress syndrome and the long-term mediation of resilience in the life story perspective. The experiential discourse, in fact, underscores "the advantages [for growth] that adversities can bring in childhood" (Young-Eisendrath 1996, 20). The conditional criteria and the experiential discourse signify that there can be no return to a prior state. Complex trauma causes "personality change from catastrophic experience" (Herman 1992, 122), for better or worse. It cannot be assumed that there is or ever was a prior state to bounce back to, whether this is a personal sense of well-being or a safe and stable social environment. Some prior stable state—country, community, family, home, health, sanity, safety—may have been destroyed, or may have never existed, or may never be the same again. Under the static notion of resilience as immediate and measurable, quantitative researchers equate resilience with bouncing back to normal, with normal meaning conformity to mainstream norms and expectations.45 Surviving, Thriving, or Striving? If one steps away from the bouncing back image and views it from a distance, the literal meaning of resilience as elasticity can be reconceptualized, when applied to humans, as stretching oneself over time in myriad ways in multiple directions. Stretching is dynamic and contingent in terms of trying, testing, retreating, tasting, exploring, failing, learning, and experimenting. It evokes the creative struggle through the complex traumatic syndrome. It suggests resilience as striving, as effort that pushes beyond one's presumed limitations. Thus, there are important distinctions to be made among surviving, thriving, and striving as these occur in resiliency discourses. 4 5 Conformity is problematic when it is imposed upon disadvantaged populations by advantaged populations in accordance wi th the social norms of a dominant society that does not challenge systemic disadvantage. Conformity can be an ingeneous coping mechanism, but one which in and of itself does not necessarily produce or predict resiliency. 93 Surviving is a tired word used today to describe the plight of anyone who has experienced hardship. It means literally to endure adversity and continue to exist (Random House 1994) and is more akin to the statistical studies than the life stories. Some of those I interviewed said that just to be alive after extreme hardship is to be a survivor, and that to survive is, thus, to be resilient. But does this adequately depict resilience? One qualitative researcher distinguishes between being a survivor and being resilient, and between resilience and invulnerability: Unlike the term survivor, resilient emphasizes that people do more than merely get through difficult emotional experiences, hanging on to inner equilibrium by a thread. Because resilience best captures the active process of self-righting and growth that characterizes some people so essentially, I have chosen that term in favor of other descriptions. In addition, while resilience embraces many of the aspects of this process, no other labels (particularly the term invulnerability) adequately convey the hurt and even the anguish that the severely psychologically challenged negotiate as they emerge from their turbulent pasts. (Higgins 1994, 1-2) Surviving cannot be construed as synonymous with resilience. Thriving is a big step up from surviving. But several of the advocates used this term to describe both "normal" children and "resilient" children. Also, it is commonly used to describe happy, healthy babies. Thriving means to grow, flourish, prosper, and succeed (Random House 1994). As a synonym for resilience, it does not acknowledge the suffering of, and the struggle of overcoming the complex traumatic syndrome. It fits more with the statistical studies and their association of resilience with bouncing back from adversity. Striving, however, means to exert oneself, to fight for and struggle vigorously toward one's goals (Random House 1994). It embodies the action, conflict, and motivation embodied in the life stories. Striving may include surviving and thriving, but is greater than their sum. Renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, writing from the hard lessons he learned in the Nazi concentration camps, describes the "fulfillment of our strivings" as the motivation to move beyond oneself in finding identity and meaning (Frankl 1966). In unspeakable suffering, in the horror of the death camps, in complex trauma and post-traumatic stress, one's identity and meaning are shattered; to once again 94 find being, says Frankl, one must first fulfill meaning.*6 Thus, an essence of resilience is found in Frankl's will to meaning, based not on need or drive but on striving toward meaning and restoring oneself through reaching beyond oneself (25, 29).47 Box 2 features the Nazi Holocaust as an example of an atrocity causing collective complex trauma.48 Could any Holocaust survivors ethically have been viewed as invulnerable? Conversely, if viewed as vulnerable, could they ethically have been cast as psychopathological? Yet, these are Box 2: The Nazi Holocaust In the life stories of 25 Holocaust survivors identified as resilient, "they were able to do what most of us might think is impossible: to live with unresolved mourning. They pursued active and creative lives because they determined they would do so, in the face of constant reminders of their losses" (Young-Eisendrath 1996, 83). They were not invulnerable, nor did they bounce back to some prior state, to an unproblematic past. One researcher of Holocaust survivors found that even those who go on to live well "were not free of the terror, they neither forgave nor forgot, but they continue even in their occasional personal despair to marry, raise children, [and] work constructively in the community . . ." (Garmezy 1996, 12). That they are called "survivors" suggests that some survive better than others, and that some become resilient. In his classic book, Man's Search for Meaning (written after the Holocaust and first published in 1946), survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl (1984) retraces his movement through the initial stages of shock, apathy, disillusion, and disbelief in the Nazi death camps. He identifies in the meaning of life the essence of existence, and in the response to life a "responsibleness" that involves choice. Nearing death himself, Frankl ultimately chose not to respond to his captors and, instead, to help his companions. He found meaning even in his suffering and, thus, saved his own life. Judith Herman (1992) based much of her study of trauma recovery on adults who lived in the Nazi concentration camps as children. The study of Holocaust survivors helped her to understand the traumas of public terrorism and private terror in children's lives. Imagine a child trapped in a concentration camp or a domestic prison of parental atrocities. What options are available to such a child besides dissociation, withdrawal, feigned invulnerability? It is well understood today that deeply traumatized people need recognition of their suffering, whether the trauma occurred when they were children or when they were adults (Higgins 1994, 14). The so-called invulnerable child is unlikely to receive such recognition in the lab study perspective. 4 6 Frankl uses the terms being and meaning carefully, as always in tension and always in process. 4 7 Frankl developed logotherapy based on his experiences in the Nazi death camps (Frankl 1984). It distinguishes striving in the will to meaning from the Freudian, psychoanalytic drive in the will to pleasure and from the Adlerian, psychological schema of the will to power. To Frankl, "it is inconceivable that man [sic] can really be driven to strivings; either he strives or he is driven. To ignore this difference [is] to sacrifice one phenomenon to another . . ." (1966, 24). 4 8 Referring to Box 2, Garmezy is citing S. Moskovitz, Love Despite Hate (New York: Schocken Books, 1983). Concerning the need to recognize people's suffering, the Holocaust Museum and the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC well illustrate this need (Higgins 1994, 14). 95 the characterizations suggested when the quantitative resiliency research perspective is assigned to a traumatized population. Neither option reflects the process of enduring human suffering and overcoming complex trauma. Instead, subjects are objectified in the scientific "preoccupation with the dissection of man [sic] and the diagnosis of his ills rather than with the cultivation of persons" (Haselden 1966, 7). Divergence between the expert and experiential discourses seems ever-widening at this point, though the quantitative measures of a child's sense of purpose do resonate somewhat with Frankl's thesis of the will to meaning. The statistical studies, however, measure a child's ability to set goals, which can only be a speculative, and not a predictive, prelude to an individual setting ever higher goals and striving toward them over the long-term. I have pondered whether the children in the statistical studies would grow up to be the adults in the life stories and can only conclude that such a path is seldom and random at best. Most of the resilient-identified adults in the life stories said they did not fit the quantitative version of childhood resilience. One subject said, "If you were to enroll me in the study then, you would probably end up hospitalizing me. . . . [I was] totally unglued" (Higgins 1994, 320). The life stories and the conditional criteria hold that resilience is neither being invulnerable nor bouncing back. Instead, it is the determination to move forward and beyond, to move through trauma while slowly and haphazardly integrating the traumatic event(s) into one's identity. Not only surviving, and more complex than thriving, resilience is striving for being and meaning, and moving beyond trauma. Evidence for the integration of trauma into one's identity is found consistently in resilient-identified adults' stories, many of whom eventually devote some or all of their work life to helping others in similar situations (Rubin 1996). In hindsight, one resilient adult perceives that "her own transformation began right in the middle of her terror. T just kept trying to make do. I wasn't going to lie down and die. I was going to have a life and achieve and help others'" (Young-Eisendrath 96 1996, 77). Such people are not invulnerable, nor is their resilience immediately observable or measurable; they suffer, but they "engage their suffering creatively" (72). From Resiliency Relativism to Resiliency Pluralism Over time, resiliency researchers have conflated important differences between bouncing back and moving beyond, between simple trauma and complex trauma, between denying trauma and integrating trauma, between short-term coping mechanisms and long-term survival strategies. I have resisted simply redefining resilience as a common set of recognizable traits, developing instead conditional criteria for recognizing the occurrence of resilience in the context of trauma. These conditional criteria allow for resiliency pluralism but not resiliency relativism. Pluralism involves a range of resiliencies that meet the conditional criteria but do not conform to one set of traits or behaviours. Relativism is marked by the slippages from anomaly to social norm and from trauma to risk (and to universalizing risk and resilience). It occurs in the expert discourse and in the influence of this discourse on what I will call a public rhetoric. The sloppiness of relativism and public rhetoric calls for a distinction between formal and informal meanings of resilience. Relativism: Informal Meanings The watering down of resilience caused by the slippages in the expert discourse is doubly diluted by informal media references to resilient people, places, actions, and things. For example, Mamie Eisenhower is characterized by her biographer as resilient for tolerating a long-suffering marriage (Prose 1996, 39), while Tina Turner is deemed resilient for terminating an abusive one.49 Olympic rower Silken Laumann refers to the quick recovery from rowing errors as resilience, such that "nothing accelerates progress more than resilience" (1998, D20). A police constable "captivated by the bleakness" of drug addicts living in squalor is "amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit" The Oprah Winfrey Show, 1997 (specific date unknown). 97 (Arsenault 1998, A21). Celebrities, athletes, and addicts are resilient, cars, plants, and lotions are resilient (in media advertising), and even schools are described as either resilient for resisting change (Paquette 1995, 29) or resilient for adapting to change (Beineke 1997, 60-1). The "amazing resilience" of Queen Elizabeth is celebrated by her biographer as "the heroic embodiment of dutiful dullness, steadfastly fulfilling her royal obligations in the midst of the chaos around her" (Rosenthal 1997, 39). The staying power of the royal Grimaldi family of Monaco is compared to aluminum siding: "lightweight, tacky, and astonishingly resilient" (Min 1998, 46). In the midst of allegations of sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice, President Bill Clinton is characterized as resilient because he is narcissistic. "Why . . . might he have risked everything? . . . Narcissists have two defence mechanisms that make them more resilient than most people . . . 'They are incredible at denying the truth . . . and they can rationalize'" (Dart 1998, A12). Also, resilience as imperative and prescriptive has made its way into the new age literature "at the forefront of a growing backlash against the self-help movement," a backlash in which charges of narcissism are being made against people "who refuse to let go of their childhood traumas" (Blake 1998, B12).50 In addition, just as "people who are resilient [in the context of risk] count themselves as 'successful'" (Young-Eisendrath 1996, 20), so most successful people count themselves as resilient, even in the absence of risk. This phenomenon is borne out by the advocates I interviewed and also by several friends who, in casual conversation, classified themselves as resilient. In this vast public rhetoric, resilience assumes an array of informal and relativistic meanings that variously imply tenacity, endurance, resistance, or career success. I have already indicated the relativism inherent 5 0 Here we see resilience posited as social norm. Victimology is out, resiliency is in, reversing from one extreme to another. Blake cites Caroline M. Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit (New York: Harmony Books, 1996): "Myss, 45, has become one of the hottest names on the New Age lecture circuit with this tough-love message and is at the forefront of a growing backlash against the self-help movement. . . . 'We are not meant to stay wounded,' Myss said. 'We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help others move through theirs.'" Myss is part of a larger trend that suspects "the self-help movement and traditional recovery programs" are narcissistic. First resilience is narcissistic (Clinton), then victimhood is narcissistic. These words lose their meaning in the public rhetoric around resilience. 98 in claims that all children are at risk and that all children have the potential to be resilient. The slippage in the expert discourse to resilience as social norm informs this relativism. There is as wide a gap between the formal and informal meanings of resilience as there is between the expert and experiential discourses (though these gaps do not map onto each other). While there are diverse discourses of resilience in the expert and experiential texts, they nevertheless constitute a more formal set of meanings essential to any uptake of resilience in resiliency research and advocacy policy and practice affecting the lives of children and youth. Pluralism: Formal Meanings Resilience has become ubiquitous in the quantitative approach but it remains anomalous in the life story approach.51 Recall that the statistical perspective focuses on the immediate measure of resilient-identified children who conform to mainstream norms (i.e., who meet the measure of prescribed norms). In these studies, the "observable, behavioral criteria" (Luther and Zigler 1991, 12) that represent resilience as success mean positive adaptation to negative conditions in the immediate present (Beardslee 1989, 267; Consortium 1994, 272;52 Luthar 1995, 426;53 Luther and Zigler 1991, l l ; 5 4 Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994, 2). Such children may appear invulnerable, but their invulnerability is a myth: 5 1 Resilience is ubiquitous in that it is considered "normal" in the dominant society (so to be "non-resilient" would be an "abnormal" anomaly). 52 Citing A.S. Masten, K. Best, and N. Garmezy, "Resilience and Development: Contributions from the Study of Children Who Overcome Adversity," Development and Psychopathology 2 (1990): 425-44. 5 3 Citing N. Garmezy and A.S. Masten, "Stress, Competence, and Resilience: Common Frontiers for Therapist and Psychopathologist," Behavior Therapy 17 (1986): 500-21. 5 4 Citing S.A. Mednick and F. Schulsinger, "Some Pre-Morbid Characteristics Related to Breakdown in Children with Schizophrenic Mothers," The Transmission of Schizophrenia, eds., E. Rosenthal and S.S. Kety (NY: Pergamon Press, 1968); M. Rutter, "Epidemiological-Longitudinal Approaches to the Study of Development," The Concept of Development, Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology 15, ed. W.A. Collins (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1982); M . Rutter and D. Quinton, "Long-Term Follow-Up of Women Institutionalized in Childhood: Factors Promoting Good Functioning in Adult Life," British Journal of Developmental Psychology 18 (1984): 225-34. 99 The term "invulnerability" is antithetical to the human condition. Kierkegaard was right when he said, "Fear and annihilation dwell next door to every man." Perhaps it is this inner knowing that adds to our eager, even blind embrace of the myth of invulnerability [italics added], and, in rum, increases our propensity for exaggeration and misinterpretation. If unqualified, our vision becomes myopic; human vulnerability is equated with weakness and invulnerability equated with strength. (Felsman and Vaillant 1987, 304) This myth of invulnerability enforces a kind of pseudoinvulnerability. In the Western tradition of triumphant individualism, it offers only a "distorted sense of 'survivorship'" that denies traumatic suffering and is, instead, a "model of unconscious conflict" (Felsman and Vaillant 304). Conversely, recall that the life stories—drawing on the experiences of resilient-identified adults who had traumatic childhoods—discern resilience as the mediated integration of trauma through long-term self-transformation (or self-transcendence). In this context, resilient people are those who "transcend their pasts" (L. Rubin 1996, 80), eventually translating their trauma into a "sense of mission" toward helping others in similar plights (227). Thus, resilience includes an "ability to extract something constructive from even the most negative ordeal" (80). The experiential discourse portrays resilience as learning from experience (Higgins 1994, xii, 17; Young-Eisendrath 1996, 19, 49).55 It is a mediation process somewhat reflected in the "lifespan perspective," which involves both seeking and providing protective influences over the long term by and for those who have endured traumatic childhood experiences (Katz 1997, 161-2). Resilience is not solely temperamental or environmental, but a complex interaction between inner and outer resources "throughout a person's life span" (K. Butler 1997, 25-6). One resiliency researcher beginning to bridge the divergent meanings of resilience in the expert and experiential discourses is child psychologist Suniya Luthar. Her studies indicate that adolescents identified as resilient in statistical studies are actually highly distressed and socially withdrawn. In one such study, she noted that "children labeled as resilient were significantly more See also Challener (1997), L. Rubin (1996), and Wolin and Wolin (1994). 100 depressed and anxious than were competent children from low stress backgrounds" (Luthar 1991, 600). Luthar now warns against all-encompassing definitions and indicators of resilience because it plays out differently according to age, sex, class, and culture, and according to hereditarian and environmental factors (Luthar 1995, 427) that constitute a constellation of unpredictable conditions and circumstances. In this light, the conditional criteria are integral to recognizing multiple resiliencies while sifting out informal, ubiquitous, and relativistic notions of resilience. The Pioneering Studies as Problematic The dominance of the expert discourse—in terms of formal meanings of resilience—goes back to the pioneering research of Garmezy, Rutter, Werner, and their colleagues. Each of their studies was longitudinal and each was originally designed as a study of risk factors in risk populations.56 Before a brief description of each, it bears repeating that I question whether the resilient-identified children in the statistical studies actually become the resilient-identified adults in the life stories. While this question is now being addressed by prospective longitudinal studies of at-risk or traumatized children with high test scores (those identified as resilient in the statistical studies), most of this research is either unfinished or unreported. A good analysis of an earlier prospective risk study is highlighted in Box 3 (Felsman and Vaillant 1987).57 The pioneering resiliency studies posited causation—identifying traits and conditions perceived as causing resilience—but their findings were more likely correlational58 (e.g., a resilient-5 6 Some early studies looking at children's long-term risk and resilience included biological or biomedical trauma, though this type of trauma is not the focus of my dissertation. Werner's and Smith's work on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, for example, was based on a population of children being monitored for biological and psycho-social risk factors, as determined by such conditions as poverty, maternal perinatal stress, and parental discord and psychopathology (1992). With this biological component having slipped out of the discourse, the findings of Werner and Smith (and others) are being widely disseminated (by Werner and others) in the movement to teach resilience to disadvantaged children and youth. 57 See the original study in S. Glueck and E. Glueck, Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency (NY: The Commonwealth Fund, 1950); Delinquents andNondelinquents in Perspective (Cambridge M A : Harvard University Press, 1968). 58 Comment by Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education (EPSE), Faculty of Education, UBC, who conducts research on childhood resilience. 101 Box 3: A Prospective Study A n analysis of a prospective risk study was conducted in 1987 and titled "Resilient Children as Adults: A 40-Year Study" (Felsman and Vaillant 1987). The original study, which commenced in 1940, was on delinquency, not resiliency. It involved a cohort of 500 boys remanded in Boston reform schools and a control group of 456 boys from Boston inner-city schools. Felsman and Vaillant analyzed the "midlife outcome" of a subsample of 75 men from the control group who, as children, had been classified at "high risk for psychopathology." Their classification was based on measures of intelligence, socioeconomic status, environmental factors, and boyhood competence (sociability and purposefulness). Felsman and Vaillant wondered whether "resiliency witnessed in childhood hold[s] up over time" (1987, 298) and they looked for indications of resiliency in adulthood among their subsample (at age 47). Overall, they found enormous discontinuity—periods of growth and mastery, interwoven with periods of limitation and regression. . . . Ultimately, the understanding of any individual is to be found in the unique configuration of internal and external forces that coalesce to embody that particular life (297-8). Felsman and Vaillant found that innate capacities played a significant role and that resiliency outcomes were more random than predictable. The strongest correlations bore no relation to resilience: those who were the most predictive of success in boyhood (i.e., were the least at risk) were the least at risk in adulthood and vice-versa. The original study was a study of risk, not of trauma. Though the authors marvelled at the men's collective "capacity for recovery" (298), their analysis supports resilience as anomalous and as depicted in the experiential discourse. Eschewing the myth of invulnerability so fundamental to the expert discourse on resiliency, they concluded that resilience is an unpredictable and "lifelong process of adaptation" (311). identified child might be doing well in school, but good grades do not ensure resilience and vice-versa). Claims of causation have contributed to notions of reifying and replicating resilience, even though such findings are inconsistent and inconclusive. Yet, these studies have been most influential among those who advocate on behalf of children and youth. Norman Garmezy's "Project Competence" (1989) involved research on the elementary school children of 200 inner-city families over 10 years. He measured children's stress and competence levels and posited resilience as conformity to the then current norms of social and school success. Michael Rutter and his colleagues conducted a 10-year study of 125 children of mentally ill parents (1979). They found that these children "escaped relatively unscathed" (Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994, 3) and called them invulnerable. Later describing these children as resilient (Rutter 1985, 1987), Rutter initiated the social valuation of so-called invincible children who appeared to be 102 immune to, and untouched by, distress (Cowen et al. 1995). Perhaps the best known and most cited study of childhood resilience is that of Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith (1982, 1992). They conducted a 10-year study that identified 200 "high-risk" infants (25% of a live birth cohort of 837) born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1955, one-third of whom were later characterized as caring, competent, and confident adults.59 This last study was originally designed by Smith to assess the cumulative effects of poverty, perinatal stress, and poor parenting on children's social, emotional, and physical development. Werner drew upon this risk population to study resilience. One problem is the initial construction of poverty in a study targeting a rural, non-industrialized, island population of predominantly Hawaiians and Southeast Asians. The researchers attributed poverty to 1950s Kauai because its indigenous economy was fishing and sugarcane. Most of the parents in the study were described as unskilled men and uneducated women. Such descriptors as poor, stressed, unskilled, and uneducated indicate that the Kauaiians were being unfavourably compared with urban, educated populations on the industrial mainland who had access to modern health services and medical facilities. The problematic imputing of poverty in the Kauai study casts doubt on the researchers' findings of widespread resilience over time. Here, the cultural deficit model informs both the imputing and the inherent pathologizing of poverty. The consequent statement that Werner and Smith were "deeply impressed by the resiliency of the overwhelming majority [italics added] of children and youth" in the high-risk sample (1977, 210) raises questions about the researchers' criteria for resilience. Resilience cannot be ascribed, for example, to overcoming poverty (not only is the imputing of poverty problematic, but poverty is not inherently traumatic or pathological). At the time of the study Hawaii was not a US state, and during the long-term study new health services Werner and Smith also revisited this cohort to collect follow-up data at ages 18 and 31-32 (1992). 103 and resource industries were introduced on Kauai which doubtless affected research observations, measures, and responses of children and families. On the one hand, Werner and Smith may have simply been recording typical outcomes among a fairly stable (low levels of im/migration) island population, observations which may not be generalizable to other populations. On the other hand, their findings are not significantly different from those in the general population, where 20% have identifiable mental health problems at any given time.60 The Kauai study certainly yields interesting facets derived from tracing the lives of a single birth cohort. But the cultural differences between researcher and researched may have affected their perceptions of such factors as mental health and poor parenting.61 Werner imported teenage pregnancy as a high-risk factor, for example, but was it a risk factor from the perspective of the rural Kauaiian culture? Challenging Assumptions and Stereotypes These earlier resiliency studies laid the groundwork for future statistical studies. Their emphases on conformity, invulnerability, and targeting of poor populations foreshadowed notions of resiliency reification, replication, and relativism prevalent in the expert discourse today. Through the critical lenses of the conditional criteria and the experiential perspective, or simply by juxtaposing the statistical studies and the life stories, it is clear that resilience takes different forms among different individuals in different contexts, as does risk. In just one broad example, child abuse is more private and individual and political violence is more public and collective, and responses will vary considerably across the spectrum of events, groups, and individuals. Researchers need to recognize both risk and resiliency pluralism in diverse contexts. 6 0 Schonert-Reichl, ibid. Dr. Jacqueline Baker-Sennett (EPSE, UBC) claims that 50% of the general population will need some kind of mental health service during their lifetime. 6 1 Schonert-Reichl, ibid. 104 Dangerous Adaptivity vs. Adaptive Distancing What the statistical studies measure may or may not be/come resilience. Moreover, the assumption of resilience in children has a perilous side. Drawing again on the divergence between the expert and experiential discourses, the two perspectives illuminate important differences that challenge the claims of the statistical studies. These differences are between the distressed child who is "dangerously adaptive" (Gleick 1996, 20) and the traumatized child who is "adaptively distant" (Higgins 1994, 21). The child who is dangerously adaptive seeks to please abusive or authoritarian adults and ignores his or her own best interests. Conversely, the child who is adaptively distant disengages from the conflict and distress of, say, alcoholic or mentally ill parents and safeguards his or her individual identity while maintaining cautious compassion for the abuser.62 Adaptive distancing is the ability to "stand apart from stressful situations . . . in pursuit of constructive goals" (Malloy 1997, 15). Interestingly, the dangerously adaptive child who seeks to please adults is not acting out of any sense of morality; it is the adaptively distant child who is more likely making a moral decision to separate from corruption created by adults (Wolin and Wolin 1994, 191).63 Pleasing adults, and even acting like adults—in effect, becoming little adults—assumes childhood resilience even though the long-term outcomes may be pathological. What must be considered is "the relationship between short-term coping and long-term aftereffects" (Cairns 1996, 59).64 Conforming, behaving, and getting good grades in the face of adversity are dominant identifiers of resilient-identified children in the statistical studies. But these are traits pleasing to adults and so they require careful consideration. Resilient-identified adults tell a different story of 6 2 (Beardslee 1989; Berlin and Davis 1989; Higgins 1994; Luthar and Zigler 1991; Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994). 6 3 Children develop a moral sense of right and wrong by about the age of seven (Wolin and Wolin 1994, 191). 6 4 Citing E. Palme, "Personal Reflections on the New Rights for Children in War," Reaching Children in War: Sudan, Uganda and Mozambique (Bergen, Norway: Sigma Forlag, 1991). 105 resilience, one involving adaptive distancing and, thus, developing activities, relationships, and social networks outside of the traumatic situation. The statistical studies place resilience in opposition to risk (if you are resilient you are not at risk), while the life stories place resilience in relation to risk (you are resilient because you are at risk). Though integral to both views is the importance of relationships with others, there is great variance depending on the source of risk and trauma, whether it is individual or collective, and so on. In the expert discourse, for example, the most frequently identified "input factor" for fostering resiliency in children is the presence of at least one supportive adult, whether parent, teacher, mentor, or other adult. In a review of research on the children of war and other political violence, emphasis is placed on the importance of a social network of adults, siblings, friends, and "other familiar children" within the community (Cairns 1996, 48). In contrast to Cairns' emphasis on the importance of social networks in the context of political violence as collective trauma—a view which relates well to such commonly cited risk conditions as racism and refugeeism among inner-city populations—the statistical studies look only at individual traits and attributes. Desirable traits are seemingly manufactured by the dominant "input" of a supportive adult and the dominant "output" of academic achievement, a formula that supports mentorship programs for children and youth at risk. What goes unrecognized by the statistical studies, but is explicit in the life stories, is that resilient children independently seek out the support they need as and when they need it. This self-motivation is fundamentally different from providing children at risk with adult support through mentorship programs (which is not to say that adults should not be responsible role models and mentors). The support that resilient children seek out may be accidental, serendipitous, temporary, even inappropriate and only important through hindsight but, nevertheless, a vital part of resilience as a mediated process. 106 Providing support versus seeking out support is not a simple dichotomy, however, and neither ensures resilience. Distressed children may seek, welcome, or reject support from inside or outside their families. In some cases it may be the very absence of support that fosters resilience in particular children by forcing them to seek out other resources. Self-motivation and adaptive distancing are intertwined in the experiential discourse. Kevin's story (see B o x 4) illustrates this phenomenon. He exemplified resilience as adaptive distancing and self-motivation in childhood, and he demonstrates the essence of resilience as striving in adulthood. But he might not have become resilient if those music teachers and mentors he reached out to had not been "willing partners in the enterprise" (Rubin 1996, 153). Like many in the life stories, Kevin's interests paved his way: B o x 4: Kevin's Story By age six Kevin had deliberately distanced himself from his manic, violent, and abusive parents by living in an imaginary bubble, creating "a barrier that allowed him to be present physically but absent psychologically" (L. Rubin 1996, 152). He could see and hear but not feel beyond the bubble. To accomplish and maintain this feat of separation, Kevin had to "eftsidentify," to become an observer and not a participant in the family melodrama. At an early age, he understood that he could not control the chaos and insanity in his household. His adaptive distancing is in marked contrast to the dangerously adaptive child who will "keep trying to control the uncontrollable, to fix the unfixable, each failure sinking them deeper into the muck of the family pathology" (L. Rubin 1996, 152). Kevin's sense of self-preservation in childhood enabled him to endure "a deep and pervasive loneliness" that did not let up until he was old enough and strong enough to seek out others he could connect with and who would guide him toward a different kind of life (15 3). Kevin buried himself in books, sought out mentors and teachers, discovered beauty through his interest in great art, and struggled to become a classical musician. Today he is a stranger to his parents and they to him; when they learned that Kevin was gay, his manic mother tried to kill his alcoholic father. For Kevin, "life has been a continuing effort to catchup" (L. Rubin 1996, 158), though his sadness is mitigated by "triumph in the distance he's come" (164). "Each time one of those people crossed my path," says Kevin, "I'd follow the current to the next one. And music surely was the thing that changed my life. It gave me the ticket out of my family and that whole environment. I've been all over the world; I've been able to live a totally different life from the one I grew up in. None of that would have been possible without music." (Rubin 1996, 153-4) As a child, Kevin could have been either pathologized for exhibiting "internalizing behaviour" or identified as resilient because he was not exhibiting "externalizing behaviour." In what moments was he resilient or pathological, and who decides? 107 Gender: Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviours Assumptions about resilience in the dominant discourse involve some gender stereotypes of resilient behaviour. Important distinctions between dangerous adaptivity and adaptive distancing disrupt some dominant assumptions about resilience in the expert discourse. In another vein, psychoanalytic researchers identify externalizing and internalizing behaviours and inconsistently construe these as good or bad and as male or female. Recent resiliency studies have attempted to measure gender differences by whether boys and girls are more at risk for, or more affected by, particular stressors. They have also explored whether boys and girls receive more or less or different supports and whether their behaviours under stress are different.65 Gender is routinely researched in schools today in concert with age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, but such studies frequently entrench gender stereotypes. One researcher has noted that gender studies among collectively traumatized populations of political violence, for example, are so inconsistent as to remain inconclusive; such studies are contaminated by the gender stereotypes and assumptions of the children and the parents under study as well as by the researchers themselves (Cairns 1996). One of the most polarizing gender-related differences associated with risk and resiliency studies is between externalizing and internalizing behaviours, the former predominantly associated with boys and the latter with girls.66 These behaviours are diagnostic disorders sanctioned by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 6 5 (Compas et al. 1995; Hennessy, Rabideau, and Cicchetti 1994; Luthar 1995; Masten et al. 1990; Munsch 1993; Schonert-Reichl 1994). 6 6 (Bucy 1994; Compas et al. 1995; Leadbeater, Blatt, and Quinlan 1995; Luthar 1991; Luthar and Zigler 1991; McCloskey et al. 1995; Offer and Schonert-Reichl 1992; Short and Brokaw 1994; Zimmerman and Arunkumar 1994). 108 Disorders (APA DSM-IV 1994), cornmonly called the DSM. 6 7 Yet, there is considerable variation within the psychiatric profession as to the meaning of these so-called disorders. Some risk and resiliency researchers have characterized externalizing behaviour as negative, "action-oriented," and uncontrolled aggression coupled with immaturity and incompetence; conversely, internalizing behaviour has been characterized as positive, "thought-oriented," and controlled depression coupled with maturity and competence (Luthar and Zigler 1991, 12).68 Quantitative researchers tend to favour internalizing behaviours—which are frequently perceived as resilience—over externalizing behaviours because the former correlate strongly with academic achievement in the classroom. The DSM associates this same internalizing behaviour, however, with failure, rejection, isolation, and incompetence, coupled with a range of mental disorders and disturbances that require psychiatric treatment (Bucy 1994, 220); the DSM, claims Bucy, self-servingly provides a "means of classifying individuals with internalizing disorders in order to provide [psychiatric] treatment services" (220).69 But psychiatrists also note that adolescents who exhibit externalizing behaviours are "among the most urgent referrals in children's services" (Short and Brokaw 1994, 204). Another view of externalizing behaviour counters its classification as psychopathological, claiming instead that "acting-out behavior may also be an indicator of hope and potential for success in the face of adversity" (Dugan 1989, 157). 6 7 The D S M is coming under increasing criticism. One critic calls it "the encyclopedia of insanity," positing the manual itself as a model of madness in its circuitous pathologizing of the human condition (Davis 1997). Another accuses the DSM and the APA of "manufacturing victims" by creating problems and pathologies that encourage people to seek professional help (Wigod 1996). APA professionals who defend themselves against the charge of manufacturing victims maintain that psychiatrists and psychologists provide people with the care and support they need to overcome life's problems. 6 8 Citing numerous studies in developmental psychopathology, including studies by Luthar, Garmezy, Masten, and Zigler, circa 1980s. 6 9 Citing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-III (Washington, DC: APA, 1987). 109 Externalizing behaviours are especially pathologized in the classroom, however, where significantly more boys than girls are likely to be diagnosed with disruptive "conduct disorders," although some recent studies are challenging this oversimplification. For example, a longitudinal study conducted by Luthar and colleagues found that distressed children who avoid negative, externalizing behaviour may be incorrectly identified as resilient or invincible simply because their maladaptive responses have not become overt behavioural problems. . . . Highly stressed children who showed impressive behavioural competence [internalizing behaviours] were highly vulnerable to emotional distress over time, and . . . those who appeared to be resilient in one domain of social competence may have difficulties in other domains. (Zimmerman and Axunkumar 1994)70 In two additional studies, complexity is added to this welcome element of unpredictability in efforts to understand internalizing and externalizing behaviours. One group of researchers observed that abused children exhibit a diversity of personal behaviours and social interactions simultaneously. These involve internalizing-externalizing actions and environmental-temperamental conditions (McCloskey, Figueredo, and Koss 1995, 1257). Another group identified the linkage of industrialized society and prolonged childhood with the consequent incongruity between physical maturity and emotional immaturity during adolescence, positing that these phenomena provide, and contribute to, the structural context for adolescent delinquency in contemporary society (Compas, Hinden, and Gerhardt 1995, 279).71 But delinquency is generally constructed in opposition to resiliency and is typically associated with externalizing behaviour (some personal experiences in the life stories and the advocacy interviews include delinquency along the road of resiliency). In the expert discourse, boys are commonly associated with externalizing behaviours and girls with internalizing behaviours. So much so that boys are explicitly associated with delinquency 70 Citing S.S. Luthar, C H . Doernberger, and E. Zigler, "Resilience is Not a Unidimensional Construct: Insights From a Prospective Study of Inner-City Adolescents/' Development and Psychopathology 5 (1993): 703-17. 71 Citing T.E. Moffitt, "Adolescence-Limited and Life-Course-Persistent Antisocial Behavior: A Developmental Taxonomy," Psychology Review 100 (1993): 674-701. 110 and girls implicitly with resiliency: "It is possible that so-called 'resilient' children's [read girls'] reactions to their stressful experiences are primarily of an internalizing nature, expressed in more covert symptoms such as depression or anxiety" (Luthar and Zigler 1991, 12). Distressed girls are typically described as depressed or anxious. If distressed girls are more likely depressed and often go unnoticed, distressed boys who act out aggressively are more apt to be diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADD)—an updated version of children's hyperactivity listed in the DSM—and increasingly treated with addictive prescription drugs and behaviour modification therapies.72 The diagnosis and treatment of ADD has been a controversial topic in the media over the past few years and is, fortunately, coming under increasing criticism.73 Contrary to viewing externalizing behaviour as disordered, "acting-out" can be a powerful form of communication, a "cry for help" that draws attention to the needs of the child or adolescent. Such action can be an adaptive strategy for overcoming adversity and deprivation (Dugan 1989, 157-8). Moreover, contrary to internalizing behaviour being unduly favoured, "certain patterns of inhibition, inaction, and compliance" may foreshadow a sustained sense of despair (158). Thus, externalization may signal long-term hopefulness, and internalization may signal long-term helplessness. Given that resilience conflates with academic achievement in the expert discourse, however, either overt or covert distress behaviour may be treated or interpreted solely in relation to whether or not the student is getting good grades. 72 Many contemporary "disorders" are race- or class- or gender-based: "impulsive-explosive disorder" is typically attributed to criminals, "anti-social personality disorder" is attributed mostly to blacks in the USA, and "attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder" is attributed predominantly to Whites, and especially to boys (APA DSM-IV 1994; Hacking 1998). 73 In The A.D.D. Book (Sears 1997), Dr. William Sears challenges the medication approach to what he describes as different learning styles and as children's actions and behaviours that differ from what is normalized in the classroom. An inquiry into the prevalence of A D D diagnoses and medications in BC schools was recently launched by the Ministry of Education and the College of Physicians and Surgeons (Rees 1998). I l l There is little consensus among psychologists and psychiatrists concerning the nature of externalization and internalization behaviours, though such behaviours play significant roles in the dis/ordering of young people in educational settings. These "gendered" behaviours may be sequential or simultaneous, healthy or unhealthy, regardless of school grades. In severely distressed children, externalizing and internalizing behaviours most likely represent what one psychotherapist likens to the fight or flight response to trauma: Posttraumatic stress disorder is a response to trauma in which people alternately experience "fight or flight" hyperarousal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, distractibility, panic, hypervigilance, flashbacks, or intrusive memories of stressful events. By contrast, they may also experience numbing, dissociation, social withdrawal, constricted affect, and/or a srrrunken sense of the future. (Higgins 1994, 12-3) Gender stereotypes factor into assumptions about resilience and manifestations of resilience. These assumptions and stereotypes commonly occur in school and laboratory settings and are based on educational norms of classroom conformity and academic competence. Just as gender stereotypes are confusingly entrenched in behavioural expectations, so class and cultural disadvantage are reproduced in resiliency studies. Class and Culture: Mis/measuring Academic Achievement The life stories challenge academic achievement as the ultimate goal and signal of resilience. In a landmark study of 400 eminent men and women of the earlier 20th century, 60% had serious problems with school and school failure (Goertzel and Goertzel 1962, 241). The authors have seen a number of intellectually gifted youngsters grow up and fit themselves competently into suitable and remunerative positions which offer them little intellectual stimulation or deep satisfaction. These same children had financial and emotional security in their childhood homes and received the best of schooling. When we turn to biographies and autobiographies, we find exciting, experimental, creative men and women who in their childhood experienced trauma, deprivations, frustrations and conflicts of the kind commonly thought to predispose one to mental illness or delinquency. The inexplicable difference between the bright child in the classroom who becomes the competent, unimaginative adult and the academically unsuccessful child who later makes his impact felt on a whole generation continues to challenge our attention with increasing force and persistence, (xii) 112 It was easier to "drop out" during the first half of this century—leaving school was not nearly as policed and stigmatized as it is today—and it was less likely to be associated with failure. But this study of risk preceded and stimulated resiliency research, so by what means might these eminent men and women have been judged resilient or non-resilient in childhood?74 A reviewer of resiliency literature has identified two dominant domains of distress for children in today's world. One is environmental and one is neurobiological, with the latter comprising mainly learning disabilities and attention-deficit behaviours played out in the classroom (Katz 1997, xiii-xiv). Critical research reveals the interaction between these domains. For example, chemicals in the environment may cause neurological disorders (Begley 1996). Also, abuse, neglect, racism, and other forms of discrimination and deprivation can manifest in learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders (Kasen, Johnson, and Cohen 1990; McCloskey et al. 1995). And children's mental and physical disabilities can cause them to be abused and neglected by others (Breen and Rines 1996; McPherson 1990). Each of these scenarios occurs in school settings, affects academic achievement—which cannot by any means be a neutral measurement—and can have dire socioeconomic consequences. In the critical study of schooling, schools are understood as "one of the major sites of struggle for classes disadvantaged by advanced capitalism" (Levinson and Holland 1996, 3). This insight informs a recent critique of how resiliency studies of mostly middle- and upper-class children are used to analyze at-risk, inner-city adolescents (Luthar 1995). Luthar found significant class, culture, and gender differences. In the case of class, advantaged adolescents showed a relationship between 7 4 Biographical, autobiographical, and journalistic accounts of famous, infamous, and accomplished adults, with and without traumatic childhoods, attest to the vagaries of success, resilience, and self-destruction. 113 social competence (acceptance by peers) and academic achievement. But disadvantaged adolescents, particularly boys, showed a relationship between social competence and academic failure.75 In the cultural context, Luthar (1995) found that Asian students, for example, scored highest on academic achievement and lowest on social competency. These scores may be more a measure of culture than resilience because Asian students are socialized and stereotyped as achievers (Maclear 1994). Among girls, Luthar found that "high levels of anxiety were associated with increases in competence at school" (Luthar 1995, 424) such that, when stressed by personal failure, girls were more invested in academic performance. Because of such differences, Luthar warns against universal definitions and factors of resiliency. Based on school and social success as defined by the statistical studies, resiliency plays out differently across gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Luthar calls for "delimited spheres of adaptation" (427), emphasizing the importance of studying child development in social context, including genetic and environmental factors. The privileging of school success as a feature of resilience is problematic when culture is included in the analysis, and is especially so for immigrant children targeted in disadvantaged populations. Being culturally different can also mean being labelled as learning disabled in educational settings when differences are orientalized as disabilities through "the powers of culture to disable" (McDermott and Varenne 1995, 327).76 In this way, learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders become socially constructed (331), and class and cultural inequalities are 75 That inner-city peer groups (disadvantaged youth) often devalue academic success mirrors a key finding in Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs (1981), Paul Willis' classic ethnography of working-class boys in an English high school in the early 1970s. Willis untangled the complexity of how the boys' collective rebellion against school actually prepared them for working class jobs: "The masculinity and toughness of counter-school culture reflects one of the central locating themes of shopfloor culture—a form of masculine chauvinism" (52) or manliness. 7 6 The "imaginative meanings" produced through the practice of orientalism have a long history in Western power and domination over others (Said 1979, 3-5). Orientalism is a discourse, "a style of thought" that makes disparaging distinctions between "the Orient" and "the Occident" and, thus, embodies the "Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient." It is a "systematic discipline" for managing the Orient (the other) "politically, sociologically, militarily, ideologically, scientifically, and imaginatively during the post-Enlightenment period" (2-3). This colonizing control of external, non-Western populations also describes the control of internal, immigrant populations. 114 reproduced. Pathologizing the other (orientalism) is especially salient in school settings. It recollects the eugenics movement earlier this century, whereby immigrant children were labelled feeble-minded because they were too poor or could not speak English and could not pass class-based and culturally-biased IQ tests (Gould 1981; McLaren 1990). Many of these children were institutionalized and involuntarily sterilized.77 The call for conformity and competence in the classroom as the measure of resilience is fraught with frustration for many distressed children: If school is a safe haven for some, it is the locus of anxiety for others. Surveillance: Achievement as Assimilation The prescriptive dimension of the statistical studies constitutes state surveillance of the other. It manifests as an assimilation strategy that target primarily immigrant children in inner-city schools. Recall Foucault's construct of state surveillance (introduced in Chapter One) as a normalizing gaze that regulates a statistical norm around which those in power judge who is normal or abnormal (Foucault 1977, 184). Surveillance is entwined with achievement in school settings (Ball 1990, 4) and together they inform teaching resilience as an assimilation strategy. The emphasis on school success and social competence in the expert discourse reveals childhood resilience as an ideological code for academic achievement and teaching resilience as an ideological code for social conformity. These codes represent the slippage from resilience as anomaly to resilience as social norm. I do not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that resiliency researchers and child and youth advocates have malevolent motives. There is nothing wrong with wanting children to be successful, and in contemporary Canadian society this means being successful in school. Wanting to teach at-risk children to be resilient, however, is a euphemism for wanting poor refugee and immigrant children to be "White" clones who assimilate into the dominant society. In (Gould 1981; Lewis 1982; Rooke and Schnell 1982; Rooke and Schnell 1983). 115 other words, teaching resilience conies perilously close to social engineering, to surveilling and sorting those most vulnerable to systemic inequalities as to either their pathology or their conformity (Rose 1989). Such assimilation is problematic in a multicultural society where federal policy values cultural diversity. And conformity is troubling in a class-based society where socioeconomic disadvantage falls along racial, cultural, and sexual lines.78 Moreover, achievement and assimilation are not necessarily interactive because they represent quite different educational ideologies (Ogbu 1992, 5). In the educational context, Ogbu associates the competition or achievement ideology with those who argue for a core or common curriculum, and the assimilation ideology with those who argue for a multicultural education. According to Ogbu, a student need not assimilate to be an academic achiever, nor be an academic achiever to assimilate. The traditional ideal was assimilation to dominant societal norms as a prerequisite for equal educational opportunity. This ideal is widely viewed as socially unjust today and is being replaced with educational strategies that seek to both overcome social injustice and support cultural pluralism (Coombs 1986, 9). The harsh reality, however, is that at-risk, minority, and low-income populations are less likely to succeed in education and employment (Carnoy and Levin 1985, 1). The assumption that resilience means success and achievement is problematic when teaching resilience to targeted populations means assimilation and conformity to mainstream norms, when it means overcoming obstacles—fitting into the status quo—without those obstacles being challenged. Social Competence as Social Conformity In addition to the encoding of childhood resilience as achievement and teaching resilience as assimilation, another problem occurs in the statistical texts when complex trauma is replaced with socioeconomic risk. A dualism is constructed that locates resilience in functional families and risk Low socioeconomic sectors are predominantly occupied by women and people of colour. 116 in dysfunctional families.79 This dualism leads to resilience being associated with social competence, social competence with social conformity, and then social conformity with resilience: Resilience here means competence and conformity and each of these, as defined in the psychopathology literature, require nuclear "functional families." One study of children who witnessed family violence, for example, recruited families from battered women's shelters but recommended "positive relationships within the family, especially with one or both of the parents [italics added]" as a primary source of support (McCloskey et al. 1995, 1242).80 How many children from a "domestic climate of tyranny" (1259) can find safety and support within those same families, especially with one of their parents? It is telling that a dominant measure of functional families is parents' educational level (Werner and Smith 1992, 177). The functional family is a middle- or upper-class family even though children can suffer terribly at the hands of those middle- and upper-class parents who are "pretentious, neglectful, and hypocritical" (Wolin and Wolin 1994, 191). The quantitative research focus has widened from the individual to the family, but structurally disadvantaged families and their children become the targets of state surveillance and social intervention. Social Competence Normal Garmezy's work stresses the importance of competence, "a motivational concept" developed by psychologist Robert White in the 1960s (Garmezy and Masten 1991, 154-5). White later articulated two consequences of "competent functioning." These were effectance, the effect of one's actions in and on their environment, and efficacy, the personal growth that flows from ^ 7 9 The terms "functional" and "dysfunctional" provide a convenient, if cliched, shorthand. A functional family is a fictional ideal based on a two-parent, heterosexual, middle-class household, but it is also any family that functions well for the people in it. Family dysfunction is caused by a range of risks and distresses that both affect, and emanate from, families. 8 0 Citing N. Garmezy, "Stressors of Childhood," Stress, Coping and Development in Children, eds. N. Garmezy, and M . Rutter (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983) 43-84. 117 effectively meeting one's challenges. In this pairing of effectance and efficacy, competence means "fitness, capacity, skill," and everything from "'eye-hand coordination . . . to thinking, planning, building, and changing the world'" (155).81 Garmezy had earlier conceptualized competence as adapting to stress and not just coping with stress (Garmezy 1989, 25). Now he and his associates make competence central to childhood resilience, and expand the concept to include a "sense of mastery and self-esteem" (Garmezy and Masten 1991, 155). But the expanded notion of competence depends upon family support: "Increasingly evident and repeatedly affirmed is the critical role for competence played by the child-rearing practices of parents, the familial attributes of the home in which the child is reared, and the opportunity structure of the broader environment" (Garmezy and Masten 1991, 155). Drawing on mainstream resiliency literature, supportive families are cited as integral to competence and predictive of resilience (152).82 Garmezy's work posits the lack of family support as a primary risk factor—listing divorce, child abuse, separation and loss, foster home placement, and parental psychopathology—and strong family support as a primary factor of resilience (152, 155, 160). When resiliency researchers cite the presence of a supportive family (read functional, traditional family) as a protective factor against risk (Werner 1989), resilience is implicitly equated with conformity to mainstream norms. Where does this formula leave the child at risk who has no family or no family support, and how does it account for resilient-identified children or adults with deeply dysfunctional families? Perhaps the presence of a supportive family can offset the complex traumatic syndrome if one's distress is caused by such circumstances as war, refugeeism, or biological or biomedical injury or illness. Adding fuel to the fire, however, Garmezy's characterization of resilience as social 81 Citing Robert White, Seeking the Shape of Personality: A Memoir (Marlborough, NH: Homestead, 1987) 52. 8 2 Citing Garmezy (1985); also, N. Garmezy and M . Rutter, "Acute Reactions to Stress," Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Modern Approaches, 2nd Edition, eds. M . Rutter and L. Hersov (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1985) 152-76. 118 competence requires not only supportive parenting but also upward mobility and social conformity (Garmezy and Masten 1991, 164). Upward Mobility Upward mobility is the link between competence and conformity as these characteristics are construed in the statistical studies. It is a much contested but still used sociological and psychological concept that explains the importance of academic achievement (when resilience is defined as social norm). In the 1960s Midtown Manhattan Study, for example, upward mobility was associated with economic success and mental health (Srole 1962).83 It continues to represent mental health, socioeconomic advantage, and corporate advancement in a formula that equates poverty with pathology and that reinforces the cultural deficit model.84 "Upward mobility" so defined is denied to disadvantaged populations through systemic discrimination. An example of linking upward mobility with social competence occurs when Garmezy and Masten report on a longitudinal study of delinquency among poor White boys who grew up in 1940s Boston:85 What factors distinguished those who had escaped the pattern of their families from those who failed to do so? Both childhood IQ and a measure of social, family, and school integration correlated with upward social mobility. Intelligence is an index of cognitive competence, and familial integration a protective factor against delinquent behavior and an evident correlate of competence. (Garmezy and Masten 1991, 160) Asserting that childhood competence depends upon family support, upward mobility, and academic achievement, Garmezy and Masten posit the absence of risk as the condition for resilience. It is a 8 3 In this mental health study, emotional stability was operationalized as upward mobility (Srole 1962). Upward mobility was defined as employment in white-collar professions and, thus, emotional stability was construed as economic success. Predominantly White, middle- and upper-class, educated males were found to epitomize upward mobility and, therefore, mental health. See also T. Langner, and S. Michael, Life Stress and Mental Health (New York: Free Press, 1963). 84 See, for example, Lloyd H. Rogler, "Increasing Socioeconomic Inequalities and the Mental Health of the Poor," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 184.12 (December 1996): 719-22; Joel M . Podolny and James N. Baron, "Resources and Relationships: Social Networks and Mobility in the Workplace," American Sociological Review 62.5 (October 1997): 673-93; Stephen C. Wright and Donald M . Taylor, "Responding to Tokenism: Individual Action in the Face of Collective Injustice," European Journal of Social Psychology 28.4 (July-August 1998): 647-67. This is the same study analyzed by Felsman and Vaillant (1987). See Box 3 and Footnote 57 in this chapter. 119 small step to then claim that targeted risk populations are incompetent, dysfunctional, and in need of social interventions. In this matrix, the cultural deficit model implicitly rationalizes teaching resilience to kids at risk in inner-city schools. Competency rhetoric is glossed over, taken for granted, when it is associated with intelligence, socioeconomic status (SES), and family function: Children with greater assets (higher IQ, SES, and positive family attributes) were found to be more competent. Of greater significance, these children were more socially engaged with their peers and more active in their classroom. By contrast, children with fewer assets under stress tended to be more disruptive. Children with greater assets, under high stress tended to disengage from activities but did not become disruptive. Disruptive children heightened their disruptiveness under stress. We infer that positive family attributes appear to serve a protective function against children's disruptive-aggressive responses to stress. These attributes appear to reflect the quality of the parent-child relationship, the adequacy of family communication, the degree of the parents' perceptiveness about the child, and the overall competence of the parents. (Garmezy 1989, 36) Garmezy's work has been widely influential in resiliency research and is devoid of class and cultural analysis. Here, competence as resilience, by way of upward mobility, is conformity to White, middle-class ideals (see also Werner and Smith 1992, 8-9). Resilience, as constructed in the expert discourse, is the social norm of the dominant society. Social Conformity But it may be as debatable for the statistical studies to champion conformity as it would be for the life stories to celebrate suffering. Conformity can be an illusion that hides atrocities and perversions. Or conformity of a different sort can be feigned in the Nazi death camps as a brilliant survival strategy (Frankl 1984). It can also be fabricated in the classroom as a coping mechanism that masks perverse strategies and leads to lifelong psychopathologies. In addition, conformity to, and the conformity of, families, churches, schools, and other socially sanctioned groups and institutions do not ensure the safety of children and youth. Conversely, distressed adolescents who conform to peer or gang demands may be enjoying a sense of belonging unavailable to them elsewhere. From these examples it is clear that, one, conformity can take many forms and that, two, 120 in the expert discourse resilience as competence means conformity to a specific set of social norms in the absence of risk or trauma. Professionalized Parenting The link of upward mobility, which locates resilience as conformity to social norms, reveals the relations of power involved in both defining and teaching resilience. State-empowered professionals are licensed to intervene in less powerful populations of poor, refugee, and immigrant families whose children attend inner-city schools.86 The hope of child advocates is that providing a mentor or role model for children who do not have supportive families will foster competency and conformity. But the rhetoric of competency and, therefore, of conformity also pathologizes disadvantaged families and endorses professionalized parenting. In the cultural deficit model, poor and immigrant parents are stereotyped as incompetent in the absence of upward mobility and these economically poor parents are then characterized as emotionally poor parents. Immigrant children have historically been governed by agents of the state. Governance is a form of social and legal control that manifested, for example, in the early eugenics movement and that today constitutes, among other things, professionalized parenting (McGillivray 1997; McLaren 1990; Rose 1989). Implicit in the early childhood education rhetoric of "parents as teachers," for example, is the increasing call for "teachers as parents."87 Moreover, "surrogate parenting" of inner-city children is central to the mandate of full-service schools and their stated goal of "equalizing access to future opportunities" (Dryfoos 1994, 5). But full-service schools represent a cultural deficit 86 I do no t m e a n to say that agents o f the state are i l l - in ten t ioned and that no fami l ies require in tervent ion. The p r o b l e m is the target ing and state survei l lance o f pathologized populat ions compr ised o f s t ruc tura l ly d isadvantaged groups. Converse ly , m i d d l e - and upper-class ch i ld ren severely distressed by f a m i l y pressures a n d expectat ions o r t raumat ized by fami ly cruelty and b ru ta l i t y m a y no t get the intervent ions they need because their t roubles are less v is ib le . The i r fami l ies are shielded f r o m p u b l i c scrut iny by pr ivate proper ty and are less accessible by v i r tue o f the i r soc ia l status a n d economic power . I d iscerned this sub-text i n an e-mai l exchange [F -950926 ] on the " G e n d e r and Educa t ion D iscuss ion L i s t " (gened@acpub.duke .edu) . I t is also evident i n the considerable social and educat ional pressure on teachers to address the " w h o l e c h i l d " i n overcrowded and under funded classrooms. 121 model that blames disadvantaged students and families for their school and socioeconomic "failure." Such schools conform with state surveillance strategies that maintain systemic inequality (Ball 1990; R. Harker 1990).88 Constructing resilience as competency-as-conformity in the dominant discourse produces a tangled web of social controls. Little Adults: Children Without Childhoods Resilience as conformity can be downright dangerous for children without childhoods.*9 The statistical studies and life stories, which draw mainly from North American populations, describe children whose families are either individually pathological or collectively pathologized by the dominant society. The studies and stories of children living with political violence and warfare in other countries (and who may become refugees here, often in pathologized populations) can contribute to a broader understanding of resilience. Children who experience political violence with their families may express their distress and their resilience in different ways than those who experience domestic violence within their families, though political and domestic violence are not mutually exclusive territories. Psychologists working with children under extreme distress worry that "even when children appear to be relatively resistant to the immediate stress of war . . . 'it may well be 15 or 20 years before any true estimate can be made of the psychological damage that has been done'" (Cairns 1996, 59).90 The same can be said of children who endure domestic violence. Little Soldiers: Exploitative Resilience One danger occurs when young people incorporate prowess at political violence into their self-identity, remaining aggressive even when political motives are no longer applicable. Social 88 BC's educators have been strongly influenced by the full-service school movement (see Chapter One). 89 By "children without childhoods" I mean childhood as currently constructed in Western society, which does not include pre-pubescent children and juveniles taking on adults' work, parenting, household, or other responsibilities. 9 0 Citing R. Pritchard and S. Rosenzweig, "The Effects of War Stress Upon Childhood and Youth," The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 313 (July 1942): 329-44. 122 psychologist Cairns has critically reviewed studies of children living with political violence and finds some children becoming political activists but others voluntarily "learning to kill," becoming little soldiers who adapt to violent politics as a way of life (1996, 132). Political activism against the "enemy" can constitute an "ideological commitment" that enables children to explicitly fight back and alleviate some of their anxiety (Punamaki 1996). It would be wrong to view children as passive victims of political violence or to underestimate (or overestimate) different children's capabilities. A sociologist who conducts ethnographies with children in schools, for example, identifies the collaborative strategies, ethical sensibilities, and political complexities of their lives, especially characterizing children living in adverse conditions as complex and strategic "political actors" (Thorne 1987, 99-101). Children and youth experiencing political violence are, ideally, surrounded by supportive and protective families and communities. But in conditions of war adults are also traumatized, and how children fare is generally linked to the temperaments and circumstances of the adults around them (Cairns 1996, 46-8). Nevertheless, when some "wartorn" children are perceived by researchers as invulnerable, it is suspect whether the absence of anxiety signals health or sickness, resilience or traumatization. Is their apparent invulnerability a "necessary defence mechanism" or is their lack of feeling "the most severe problem that arises in children exposed to war?" (31).91 The more personal (the closer to home) the victimization in political violence, the greater the risk of complex trauma (34).92 Moreover, the classic symptoms of traumatic stress syndrome are found among the diverse ways that children suffer and survive in political violence (32-4). 9 1 Citing A . Ronstrom, "Children in Central-America: Victims of War," Child Welfare 68.2 (1989): 145-53; R - L . Punamaki, Childhood Under Conflict: The Attitudes and Emotional Life of Israeli and Palestinian Children (Tampere: Tampere Peace Research Institute, Research Reports, 1987). C i t ing W . Arroyo and S. Eth, "Children Traumatized in Central American Warfare," Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children, eds. S. Eth and R.S . Pynoos (Washington, D C : American Psychiatric Press, 1985). 123 Children's different coping strategies amidst political violence make identifying resilience almost impossible. Cairns' (1996) analysis of studies of children's war experiences contests the statistical approach of quantifying resilience as something immediate and measurable. In the context of political violence, such an approach would amount to advancing an exploitative resilience that privileges particular outcomes and conformities and insists that all children have the capacity for resilience. It promotes dangerous adaptivity, and some researchers are starting to take exception: The emphasis in recent writings has swung from worrying about the suffering of a minority of children, as a result of political violence, to curiosity about the resilience of the majority. Punamaki (1987) has however, been particularly strident in her rejection of the resilience concept. . . . Similarly Palme (1991) has complained about the "massive denial" of children's suffering which leads even "well-educated and well-informed people" to question "whether war-affected children are traumatized or otherwise psychologically disturbed." . . . Dawes et al. (1989) have suggested that the time has now come to "correct the sometimes hysterical emphasis" on resilience. They argue that the pendulum has swung too far, so that now resilience has become as "fashionable" as the earlier "damage thesis." . . . There is now a real danger that research will tend to "underestimate the very real instances of psychological distress that occur in contexts of violence." (Caims 31-2)93 We need to heed their message, on the battleground, in the classroom, at the homefront. Little Mothers: Performative Resilience Many children experience "war" in their own homes and families that are totalitarian regimes run like small concentration camps (Herman 1992). Under conditions where parents are absent or violent or unpredictable, some children—usually girls—become little adults, protecting siblings, caring for parents, and running the household. A child may incorporate her parents' apparent contempt for her into a "profound sense of inner badness [that] becomes the core around which the abused child's identity is formed" and which persists into adulthood (105). As a childhood strategy, 9 3 The authors Cairns is citing object to social pressures that emphasize resilience, to inadequate research methods, and to assumptions about what resilience looks like. Citing Punamaki, op. cit.; E. Palme, "Personal Reflections on the New Rights for Children in War," Reaching Children in War: Sudan, Uganda and Mozambique, eds. C P . Dodge, and M . Raundalen (Bergen, Norway: Sigma Forlag, 1991); A. Dawes, C. Tredoux, and A. Feinstein, "Political Violence in South Africa: Some Effects on Children of the Violent Destruction of their Community," International Journal of Mental Health 18.2 (1989): 16-43. 124 the child who is dangerously adaptive maintains her primary attachments to her abusive or neglectful parent(s) by casting herself as evil. When a sense of "inner badness" is internalized in a child's identity, the little adult may grow up to live a secret life of blame, shame, and self-contempt: This malignant sense of inner badness is often camouflaged by the abused child's persistent attempts to be good. In the effort to placate her abusers, the child victim often becomes a superb performer. She attempts to do whatever is required of her. She may become an empathic caretaker for her parents, an efficient housekeeper, an academic achiever, a model of social conformity. She brings to all these tasks a perfectionist zeal, driven by the desperate need to find favor in her parents' eyes. In adult life, this prematurely forced competence may lead to considerable occupational success. None of her achievements in the world redound to her credit, however, for she usually perceives her performing self as inauthentic and false. Rather, the appreciation of others simply confirms her conviction that no one can truly know her and that, if her secret and true self were recognized, she would be shunned and reviled. (Herman 1992, 105) Dangerous adaptivity can produce performative resilience in a child who harbours self-contempt while presenting social conformity, academic achievement, and empathy for others.94 Researchers' perceptions of children's resilience can also be dangerously adaptive: Do we see only what we want to see, find only what we want to find? We study the girl who gets straight As, though she lives in an inner-city war zone, to identify the personality traits and coping skills that allow her to excel despite the hand she was dealt. It never occurs to us that the apparent resilience we're studying—becoming rigidly perfectionistic—is her way of containing her horror. (Schwartz 1997, 40, 42) Do we dangerously support a desperate charade by favouring traumatized children who please adults, by rewarding those who become little adults, who are children without childhoods? Children living in refugee and concentration camps, or enduring years of parental abuse and abandonment, or being sexually exploited for pornography and prostitution, suffer untold trauma. Resilient or not, they are children without childhoods. One such child is Karen (see Box 5), featured as "unbreakable" (Edwards 1994) in an article given to me by a school psychologist who believed 9 4 Performativity is characterized as the "art of deceit" in class and cultural politics (Foley 1990), as the fictional in creating coherent narratives (Ricoeur 1991), and as a production "constituting the identity it is purported to be" in the construction of gender (J. Butler 1990, 25). Butler presents gender identity as a fabrication produced through the power of discourse, its performativity illustrated as impersonation by way of cross-dressing or dressing in drag (136-7). Similarly, L.J. Kaplan describes homeovestism—the caricature or impersonation of one's own gender—as a perverse strategy (1991, 257-9). By performativity, then, I mean charade, performance, impersonation, either to please or to deceive others (and oneself). 125 her to be an exemplar of the resilient child. There are two photos of Karen and they are, to my eye, glaring portraits of sadness and bewilderment. How can anyone close to this story ignore the silent screams of a seven-year old "dutiful daughter" who manages the household, attends school every day, and never expresses her anger? Her pictures resemble those children of the Nazi Holocaust whose "habit of sorrow was ineradicable," whose "melancholy brooding" seemed forever etched on their faces and inscribed in their souls (Cairns 1996, 61).95 Box 5: Karen's Story The headline reads: "Every morning Karen dresses her brother, gets her mildly retarded father to work, and then heads off to first grade. Lynda Edwards explores the world of a child who lives in poverty and chaos but appears to be unbreakable" (1994, 256). Karen is seven years old, her brother is four. Unacknowledged but implicit in the article is that Karen does what she has to do to get approval from teachers and social workers. Because of her strong coping skills, she is left alone to look after a drunken, illiterate father, feed and nurture her confused and scared little brother, and manage their frequent moves from one run-down basement to another. She is also left alone to ward off her mother, a battered and battering drug addict who lives in a halfway house with other mentally disabled women and who drops in unexpectedly to steal from the household money jar. Karen's only respite is a monthly weekend with a middle-class foster family. Says her part-time foster mother, "It's as if she keeps a veil between the adult world and her deepest emotions. Maybe that's the price a competent child feels she has to pay to distance herself from the craziness around her" (Edwards 1994, 274). Karen is described as kind and good, "unsentimental, strong, and resolute" (274). By my interpretation, Karen does what she has to do because nobody else will do it for her. The professional adults around her are blinded by her competency, by her performative coping mechanisms. Is the perception of resilience an excuse to leave Karen in an intolerable situation while complimenting her on her coping skills? Is this a failure to understand the difference between short-term strategies and long-term consequences? Does Karen have to behave like an adult to receive adult approval? It strikes me that Karen's response to the daily demand by the adults around her that she be in control of her situation is ultimately destructive: she enters into denial and dissociation, becomes dangerously adaptive, sacrifices her own childhood to the needs of adults—her parents, teachers, and social workers—and remains fully at the centre of, and fully caught up in, the family drama. The author of Karen's story writes the following disturbing passage: Of the five million children who live in poverty with a single, mentally ill, or disabled parent, 10 percent will do more than survive pathology. They will soar—socially, academically, morally. . . . Developmental clinical psychologist, Norman Garmezy, Ph.D., has found that these "competent children" . . . share a constellation of traits: intelligence, remarkable verbal skills, compassion, openness, a lack of submissiveness. They take a parent's responsibility for younger siblings and are 9 5 Citing D. McArdle, Children of Europe. A Study of the Children of Liberated Countries: Their War-Time Experiences, their Reactions and their Needs -with a Note on Germany (London: Victor Gollancz, 1949) 259. 126 able to distance themselves from crazy-making environments to function at amazingly high levels.... Garmezy and his colleagues hope to construct a sort of combat survival manual for all high-risk children. (Edwards 1994, 256) "Competent" children like Karen who assume adult responsibilities and conform to adult expectations are characterized as soaring. Mainstream researchers do not recognize the dangerous adaptation that can lead to "a sense of complete disconnection from others and disintegration of the self," to an intolerable sense of annihilation over the long term (Herman 1992, 108).96 What will become of a child like Karen? Summary The stories of Karen, Kevin, and Kathryn, the research on children of war and death camp survivors, and the divergence beween the resilient-identified children and adults and between the statistical studies and the life stories interrupt the dominant discourse on childhood resilience. These interruptions draw critical attention to notions of reification, replication, and relativism. They disrupt assumptions about achievement, competence, and conformity as measures of resilience. They disrupt the diagnosis of disorder, the practice of pathologizing the other, and the reproduction of structural disadvantage. They disrupt the hidden politics of cultural deficit, of targeting, surveillance, and assimilation, and the dangerous slippages from trauma to risk and from anomaly to norm. I do not suggest that there be no social norms, controls, and interventions, no remedies for disadvantages, no treatments for disorders, no opportunities for achievement. Rather, what is missing is a critical analysis of the dominant resiliency discourse and its material affects on targeted populations. I have been emphasizing the divergence between the statistical studies and the life stories, using the conditional criteria and the subordinate discourse to critique the dominant discourse. 9 6 Citing Gerald Adler's concept of "annihilation panic," expressed by incest survivor Eleanor Hill as follows: "I am icy cold inside and my surfaces are without integument, as if I am flowing and spilling and not held together any more. Fear grips me and I lose the sensation of being present. I am gone." G. Adler, Borderline Psychopathology and its Treatment (New York: Jason Aronson, 1985); Eleanor Hill, The Family Secret: A Personal Account of Incest (Santa Barbara CA: Capra Press, 1985) 11. 127 Taking my cue from Nikolas Rose, critical analysis has two parts: to be critical or to critique is to engage in "sceptical evaluation," which by itself is partial and prelude to, but not a substitute for, analysis (1989, 256). Thus far, I have engaged in critique, addressing the great distance between expert and experiential knowledge, and problematizing the discourse on childhood resilience and the politics of teaching resilience. Moving now from a critical to a more analytic evaluation, and as will be seen in the next chapter, there are occasional intersections and parallels between these divergent roads. In pursuing the possibilities of future intertextuality, I find places of coherence and co-inherence (as well as incoherence), which together contribute to an oppositional resiliency discourse. The life stories and the conditional criteria have provided strong critical lenses through which to challenge the expert discourse and its powerful influence on social and educational policy and practice. The actual and potential intertextualities between the expert and experiential discourses have implications for resiliency research and for advocacy practice. 128 4. INTERTEXTUALITIES : BETWEEN DIVERGENT DISCOURSES One ought, every bay at least, to f^ ear a little song, read a goob poem, see a fine picture, anb, if it were possible, to speak, a few reasonable worbs. WO DEFINING PATTERNS IN THE RESILIENCY LITERATURE ARE T E M P O R A L , one short-term . A . immediacy in the statistical studies, the other long-term mediation in the life stories. They can be represented as success despite distress and success through process, respectively. Similarly, in the previous chapter the theme of conforming to mainstream norms emerged paramount in the expert discourse, and in this chapter the theme of learning from one's experiences emerges paramount in the experiential discourse. These themes and patterns represent the stories of narrative knowing between the two divergent discourses. They represent the binaries and guide my interpretive inquiry into their connections. Because the expert discourse does not currently index the experiential discourse, points of potential intertextuality inform an oppositional discourse that is directed at resiliency research and advocacy practice. In what follows I continue to concentrate on specific resiliency conditions and characteristics drawn from the statistical studies and the life stories, and to critique their contradictions and complications. But in a compilation of the divergent perspectives on, and accumulated characteristics of, resilience, tracing the intersections and convergences begins to blur their binary positions. M y intent is less to redefine resilience than to interrupt the expert discourse and to 1 Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Bk. V, Ch. 1 (1786-1830). Trans, unknown. 129 recognize resiliency pluralism. In addition, mapping coherence, incoherence, and co-inherence among the binaries challenges the dominant resiliency research and disrupts its notions of resilience as both reifiable and replicable. Success Despite Distress: Quantified Resiliency Traits Model of Inputs and Outputs A linear model of "input" and "output" conditions (note the medical, economic, and production genres) frames the quantified list of resiliency traits. The model posits that providing adult support (the input condition) will cause a distressed child to move from risk to resilience, thus producing social and school success (the output condition). Table 4 illustrates this prescriptive formula, which supports mentorship programs as a means to children's social competence and academic achievement. The model reinforces resilience as measurable, reifiable, and replicable: Table 4: Linear M o d e l o f Resiliency Traits INPUT CONDITIONS - » F O U R M A I N C H A R A C T E R TRAITS - » O U T P U T CONDITIONS S U P P O R T I V E sociability A C A D E M I C R E L A T I O N S H I P creativity A C H I E V E M E N T autonomy The A t -R isk Ch i ld - • purposefulness -* The Resilient Ch i ld The four main character traits, introduced in Chapter One, are sociability, creativity, autonomy, and purposefulness. Sociability, or social success, is exemplified by children who get along easily with others and have a wide circle of friends. Its currency was partly secured by early child psychologists who pathologized "the shy child" (Low 1998).2 In its equation with social competence, however, it devolves into social conformity. Creativity is considered essential to school success or academic achievement and is measured by scholastic intelligence and imaginative " I refer to psychologists who were active in the mental hygiene movement, especially post-1946 (post-eugenics). See the film Shyness, prod. National Fi lm Board of Canada (Montreal P Q , 1953, 22 min., 16mm, sound, B & W film). 130 problem-solving skills. Autonomy is explained as having an inner locus of control and exhibited as maintaining competence and composure in the face of distress. Purposefulness means being able to set goals and to feel optimistic about the future. Each of these traits is desirable. Difficulty arises, however, when they are collectively reified in the expert discourse to define resilient children. In other words, these traits describe children who do not present problems for professionals in school settings. Stated another way, "children most likely to receive mental health services are those whose symptoms present management problems for authority figures" (Luthar and Zigler 1991, 18). In many statistical studies, moreover, the main character traits of resilience have been derived largely from data on "school-age children from relatively privileged families" and compared to disadvantaged racial minorities whose peer groups often devalue academic achievement and conformity to authority (Luthar 1995, 417). These traits and conditions reinforce resilience as conformity to White, middle-class norms and expectations. Inner Locus of Control Though academic achievement is the most tangible measure of resilience in the statistical studies, the most intrinsic trait is autonomy, exemplified as having an inner locus of control (Glass 1993; Higgins 1994; Luthar and Zigler 1991). This means feeling in control of one's own environment as opposed to feeling controlled by external events (Luthar 1991, 601), and "controlling the self so as to respond appropriately to environmental contingencies" (Hattie et al. 1997, 67). Many researchers claim that an inner or internal locus of control is essential to academic achievement, though this finding is inconsistent. For example, in comparative studies between Blacks and Whites in the United States, there is little difference in locus of control but considerable difference in academic achievement, with Blacks generally performing poorly because they are 131 systemically disadvantaged (Nettles and Pleck 1996, 164). To what extent does having an inner locus of control mean conforming to dominant norms and gendered expectations? Concerning gender, the valuation of an inner locus of control helps to explain why externalizing behaviour is largely pathologized (usually in boys) while internalizing behaviour (usually in girls) is often ignored or rewarded. This confusion occurs even though boys and girls who internalize may in the extreme be straight-A students who are cutters, pluckers, bulemics, or anorexics (usually girls) obsessed with mourning, self-mutilation, self-mortification, even self-amputation (usually boys), all of which provide a false sense of control (L.J. Kaplan 1991, 362-407)3 and which are masked by the pretense of invulnerability. Unsuspected self-injury or "entrenched self-destructiveness" is prevalent among traumatized children and adults, and can even lead to suicide and homicide (Herman 1992, 95; Higgins 1994, 15). In the complex traumatic syndrome, having an inner locus of control may lead to grandiose beliefs that can either overcome or entrench feelings of worthlessness (Hart and Longley 1995). It can also lead to making one's own rules, for better or worse for self and others (Cerio and Gold 1995; Hart and Longley).4 In other words, an internal locus of control cannot be reified as a trait of resilience. Observing inner control in children in distress cannot assume social competency over time. It may be an adaptive strategy in childhood that becomes maladaptive in adulthood, inhibiting intimacy, spontaneity, and flexibility (Higgins 1994). 3 Female mutilators are usually adolescent girls engaging in the "perverse strategy." They might rub or tear their skin off, pull or pluck out chunks of hair, and begin cutting into their bodies with razors and knives. The self-mutilating strategy is aimed at preventing "worse mayhem—homicide, black depression, utter madness" and at "keep[ing] unconscious the anxieties of abandonment, separation, and castration that might otherwise become conscious and unbearable" (L.J. Kaplan 1991, 368). Male self-mutilators inflict even more devastating damage (369). 4 In collecting experiential accounts of resiliency, I have occasionally drawn from the popular press if the material is well documented and contributes to the veracity of an experiential discourse. 132 Common Ground: Self-Understanding I have reported thatan internal locus of control—however misunderstood—is intrinsic to resilience in the statistical studies. Before moving from the quantified traits to the life story traits, I want to introduce self-understanding both as an equivalent intrinsic trait in the life stories and as a link between the divergent discourses (see Table 5). These two traits—self-understanding and internal locus of control—are each connected with the concept of adaptive distancing. Also, self-understanding draws Table 5: Self-Understanding as a Link Between Statistical Studies and Life Stories its characteristics from Inner Locus of Control ^statistical studies Social Competence X connected X Self-Understanding X connected X Adaptive Distancing •'<-> the life stories «-* Personal Relationships both the statistical studies and the life stories, incorporating the connection between social competence and personal relationships, respectively. In other words, self-understanding is connected with two key statistical study traits—inner locus of control and social competence—and two key life story traits—adaptive distancing and personal relationships. In a review of three studies that take an "in-depth life-history approach," an explication of self-understanding weaves together the importance of intimate relationships, social competence, and inner locus of control: The presence of a close, confiding relationship has commonly been found in the early life of resilient individuals; such relationships appear to be protective against the effects of future stressful occurrences.5 Constitutional factors, for example certain temperaments, are also present in those who become resilient.6 Also important are inner psychological characteristics and the individual's modes 5 Citing L. Eisenberg, "A Friend, Not an Apple, a Day Will Help Keep the Doctor Away," American Journal of Medicine 66 (1979): 551-3; M. Lieberman, "The Effects of Social Supports on Response to Stress," eds. L. Goldberger, and S. Breznitz, Handbook of Stress: Theoretical and Clinical Aspects (New York: Free Press, 1982); M. Rutter, "Meyerian Psychology, Personality Development and the Role of Life Experiences," American Journal of Psychiatry 143 (1986): 1077-87. 6 Citing R. Porter and G. Collins, eds., Temperamental Difference in Infants and Young Children (Ciba Foundation Symposium 89, London: Pitman, 1982). 133 of thought, response, and action. These are expressed in certain coping styles, in positive self-esteem and a sense of being effectual and in control of one's surroundings.7 Within this range of ways of coping or responding fits self-understanding . . . (Beardslee 1989, 267) Beardslee's interest in the role of self-understanding in resilient individuals "arose from the conviction that the place to begin in studying resilient individuals is with what they themselves report about their own lives, especially about what has sustained them" (1989, 267). He conceptualizes self-understanding as a protective process involving adaptation, internal control, and psychological integration (274). According to Beardslee, a sense of self is necessary for self-understanding, and self-understanding is essential to any notion of resilience. Success Through Process: Qualified Resiliency Traits As wide as the gap can seem between the statistical studies and the life stories, so is the gulf between those at opposite ends of a continuum of self-understanding. Why do some people respond to suffering by searching for new meaning in their lives, while others retreat, enraged and embittered? And what have these to do with family situation or socioeconomic status? If the statistical studies posit empathic parenting as integral to resilience, to social and school success, what about the millions of children who do not grow up in caring, secure environments? Are they doomed to weakness and insufficiency? Can we change ourselves through encounters with adversity and develop ourselves even though parents and other caregivers failed us? On the other hand, if childhood provides security and love and sustenance, how does one encounter the necessary failures and losses and adversities that adulthood brings? Is a child from a loving, caring family prepared to endure and transform the betrayal of a spouse, serious illness, or a disabling accident? What prepares a person to be resilient in adulthood? (Young-Eisendrath 1996, 21) Time and Turning Points While the statistical studies champion immediate success, or success despite distress, the life stories celebrate mediated process, or success through process. These views represent short-term and long-term strategies and draw attention to the passage of time. In the life stories, change is slow: 7 Citing N. Garmezy, "Stressors of Childhood," Stress, Coping and Development in Children, eds. N. Garmezy and M . Rutter (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983); and M . Rutter (1986), op. cit. 134 Many subjects in this study stated that they would not have met the study criteria [for resilience] in their earlier developmental eras, although they were recruiting others' invested regard and spawning their vision—thus sowing the seeds of overcoming—from early on. They cultivated progress, toiling hard with rake and hoe. Their health blossomed over time. (Higgins 1994, 319) With great determination they continuously "worked on growing" (Higgins 4). Time is needed to integrate the traumatic experience into one's identity because "children often suffer silently" (Katz 1997, 7). If they act out their anguish with "disruptive behavior" they may risk further punishment, even from those who seek to help them (7). Time is also required because of what Katz calls turning points, "when new experiences, situations, or relationships create opportunities for