Toward a globally inclusive knowledge base on adolescent development: A charge to the Majority World and a plea for epistemic and paradigmatic pluralism

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Ongoing internal dialog on the limitations of Euro-American developmental science has opened up space to explore how best to work toward a knowledge base that is adequately representative of the values, cultures, epistemic traditions, and lived experiences of peoples, nations, and regions around the world. So far, recommendations for the advancement of a global developmental science have focused preponderantly on (1)methodological considerations and (2) an architecture to support cross-disciplinary international collaborative inquiry and/or enhance research capacity building for Majority World scholars and institutions. In this commentary, instead of focusing on specific contributions to the Special Issue, I make a case for an explicit commitment to field-building within Majority World contexts as the primary gap-closing path toward the cultivation of a global developmental science knowledge base. I begin with a world wide population analysis to demonstrate the magnitude of geopolitical, eco-cultural, and epistemic imbalances inherent in the shaping of Euro-American developmental science. In tandem with the Special Issue's central theme, I draw on scholarship from the fields of history, sociology, and political economy to link decolonial theory to the advancement of a global developmental science. Finally, I explore ways in which exemplary research establishments already engaged in prolific inquiry and research training may be ideal candidates to support field-building and help to advance multidisciplinary inquiry within an ethos of epistemic and methodological pluralism.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Research on Adolescence