Bystanders’ Responsibilities in a Situation of Teasing: A Dual Dynamic Analysis (DDA) for Understanding Culture, Context, and Youth Moral Development

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When facing challenging social and moral situations, individuals’ judgment and choices of action are influenced by the cultural conditions under which they are socialized to function. To better understand the nature of this socialization process in cultural contexts, we used a dual dynamic analysis (DDA) approach to investigate how Chinese youth from 8th and 11th grades and urban and rural settings respond, in the form of peer group discussion, to a hypothetical situation that involves a student being teased by others in school. Using the DDA approach, we examine the dynamic interplay of macrolevel cultural discourses and local social communication process in which adolescents interpret concrete moral situations and make moral choices as potential bystanders. We discuss how the findings from China may deepen our understanding of the cultural nature of moral development, that is, the ways that moral development is shaped by not only broader cultural discourses on morality but also local socialization processes and individual meaning-making.

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