TitleBeing Human in Hard Times
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSettersten, RA, McClelland, MM
JournalResearch in Human Development
Pagination182 - 186
Date Published02/2018

Recent years seem to have been accompanied by great uncertainty and precarity in the United States and around the world: whether political strife within and between nations, volatility of economic markets, sexual harassment and assault, actions related to immigration and immigrant families, or violations of human rights, to name just a few issues. With the ripple effects of these events across the globe, our big world has at times never felt so small.

And yet, perhaps in the larger arc of human history, change is simply a universal theme—as each generation or society faces, or feels, the unique circumstances of a time. No matter what one’s view of the human condition, times of instability can push human beings to, or beyond, their limits; demand adaptation, coping, and resilience; undermine trust, erode hope, and prompt despair. But times of instability can also foster social relationships and support, ignite social movements, generate new ways of thinking about life, and of living it, and yield innovative solutions to personal and social problems.

For this reason, we have invited scholars to take a fresh look at some of the essential but underexplored aspects of human experience. We have asked authors to be visionary—to reflect on why the phenomenon they chose is crucial today, how it matters for development across the life span, how it comes about and what consequences it brings, and how it might be better theorized, measured, and analyzed to advance knowledge and its application. Some phenomena are naturally more negative, and others more positive. Either way, it is our aim to probe these phenomena with an eye to how they might be fostered or managed to promote and optimize the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, and nations.

Short TitleResearch in Human Development