Article

Critical Youth Engagement: Participatory Action Research and Organizing

Authors:
Article

Critical Youth Engagement: Participatory Action Research and Organizing

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Watts et al. 1999; Ginwright and Cammarota 2002) seek to recognize young people's agency in naming and contending with oppressive forces, and position youth as agents and active participants in creating a more equitable world. SPD theory, quite rightly, assumes and believes these agential, activist outcomes to be crucial goals of human/youth development (Fox et al. 2010; Ginwright and Cammarota 2002; Watts et al. 1999; Watts et al. 2003). This being said, while SPD has been an important step forward in conceptualizing youth development, we remain concerned about the ways in which SPD has been, and might be, deployed among historically marginalized youth by its practitioners and advocates. ...
... Building from our own vignettes here, and work of previous scholars (e.g. Cammarota 2008; Cruz 2012) who have engaged Critical Ethnic Studies content towards agentic, action research, and SPD, we believe iterative and immanent processes of community-led research, or CPAR, is an imperative for SPD work with historically marginalized youth in our present educational contexts (Torre 2009; Fox et al. 2010). As SPD requires that youth become cultural-historical actors, and producers and holders of knowledge (Delgado-Bernal 2002), this means that that they enjoy the radical right to research, like the students in Brooklyn involved in inquiry into long-held questions around their community conditions, and the high school youth who were exploring their communities and agency through photography and reflective dialogue. ...
... SPD should be an active process in which the participants and youth themselves are driving their growth. The cultivation of critical research literacies in high school and college students through communitybased research that engages 'expertise' in new ways, and encourages ontological healing helps to develop actors capable of shifting their gaze from individual attributions, to the historicity and dynamics of larger structures of oppression, and thus move toward more sustainable and genuine solutions (Torre 2009; Fox et al. 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
In this manuscript, we take up a “critical friend” perspective on sociopolitical development (SPD), seeking to expand the field’s understanding of the collective, intersectional, and dialectic qualities and dimensions in which sociopolitical youth development might occur. Specifically, we contribute to thinking around how SPD is conceptualized and deployed in relation to historically marginalized and racialized youth and communities. We offer ethnographic descriptions from two separate empirical investigations conducted with high school, community college, and university students of color to explore (a) the diverse sociopolitical wisdoms that students bring to educational settings, and the extent to which this wisdom can be sharpened collectively in the classroom, and (b) the ontological healing that can take place once these perspectives and knowledges are respected and promoted within educational spaces that take history and power seriously. Our article concludes with firm recommendations to theorists and practitioners concerning how SPD frameworks and practices might better leverage these goals of engaging diverse wisdoms and encouraging ontological healing to highlight the beyond-intellectual process of critical consciousness and liberation.
... A shift in youth focus towards local matters reflects the increasing relevance of personal civic purpose. Civic engagement is increasingly associated with community practices rather than only conventional politics such as voting in elections (Fox et al., 2010;Kassimir & Flanagan, 2010). Pedagogically, this relates to the rise of civic education strategies such as action projects, youth-led and community-based research, and service learning (Cammarota & Fine, 2008;Flanagan & Christens, 2011). ...
... However, grassroots organizations, social movements, and political activists highlight structural inequalities that must be recognized and transformed in truly democratic societies. For pedagogy, this implies critical inquiry and social justice agendas (Cammarota, 2007;Fox et al., 2010;Jensen, 2010;Levinson, 2012;Russell, Toomey, Crockett, & Laub, 2010;Seif, 2010). ...
... Among others, Torney-Purta (2002) stresses that students need to learn about practices such as corruption or the monopoly of power that pose grave "threats to democracy." Others insist that they must learn to confront structural inequalities, the various forms of oppression and alienation that citizens endure in both emerging and established democracies (Fox et al., 2010;Levinson, 2010, Seif, 2010Swartz, 2006). This relates to what Rubin and Hayes (2010) characterize as teaching in contexts of disjuncture in which many youths learn about democracy. ...
... By bringing to light "funds of knowledge" (Moll et al., 1992) that students possess, though commonly left untapped by schools, yPAR can foster skills necessary to shape life trajectories (Irizarry, 2009), including civic development (Fox et al., 2010). Historically, the extant civic engagement literature suggests that people of color and/ or low socioeconomic status have lower rates of civic engagement than their more privileged counterparts (Levinson, 2010). ...
... As prior studies have found, connection and collaboration serve as important ingredients for promoting healthy youth civic development (Evans et al., 2012), especially in school settings (Bertrand et al., 2019;. Indeed, for I-O students' coleading the yPAR project, the aspiration to create "big change" (Fox et al., 2010) served as a catalyst to develop curiosity, caring, confidence, and competence which are crucial to PYD (Lerner et al., 2005). ...
... At the same time, teachers should help students approach social issues from a "critical stance" (Watts et al., 2011) through providing resources that help students interrogate systematic factors underlying the issue at hand. yPAR should also be considered as a tool to support students' development in the face of difficult issues and to facilitate the creation of therapeutic healing space (Caraballo et al., 2017;Duraisingh et al., 2018;Fox et al., 2010). The work achieved by the EB students was not without experiences of discrimination; throughout this project, they used the classroom as a place to debrief and express solidarity with one another. ...
Article
Objectives: In recent years, increased anti-immigrant hostility has trickled into school settings creating toxic climates for immigrant-origin (I-O) students (Rogers, School and society in the age of trump, 2019, UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access). Through youth participatory action research (yPAR), this study qualitatively examined how a class of Emerging Bilingual (EB) students aimed to promote more inclusive learning environments by designing, implementing, and evaluating a school-wide program. Here, we consider how the students experienced growth in their civic development as well as how they contended with resistances encountered during the project. Methods: The current study took place at a majority I-O, northeastern high school and was led by an EB class (n = 20) and its teacher. Participants were as follows: on average 16.5 years; 60% female; and 65% Latinx, 30% Black, and 5% mixed-race (Black-Latino). Multiple data sources documenting the students' experiences were collected (including weekly student reflections and ethnographic field notes) and then thematically analyzed using open coding. Results: Participating students demonstrated civic development as evidenced through: growing confidence that the program could generate positive change; enhanced sense of connection toward their classmates; and increased commitment to future civic engagement. Nonetheless, some participants demonstrated initial trepidation in both disclosing their migration stories as well as the potential efficacy of engaging in the project. Furthermore, others were disappointed by the disinterest displayed by some of their peers and teachers. Conclusions: Collaborative research can support I-O youths' civic development, though, the resistances encountered and engendered illuminate possible challenges to ensure its benefits. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... The paper is guided by a strong tradition of participatory action research in psychology and education involving youth (Cammarota & Fine, 2008), often employing the arts. This work is also informed by critical theory, and thus attends to history, policy, and an ecology of power (Fals-Borda, 1985;Freire, 1970) in its analysis of data and in the reflexive study of the research process. Our conceptualization of critical engagement involves the following commitments: recognition youth bring to research their experiential knowledge; critical analysis of data toward fostering critical consciousness; youth leadership in partnership with adults; attention to structural intersectionality, where multiple axes of inequity are frequently experienced in urban settings by youth of color in low-income and other marginalized communities; and inquiry toward collective action and social change (Fox, Mediratta, Ruglis, Stoudt, Shah, & Fine, 2010, p. 632). ...
Article
Full-text available
Tracing the nature of critical engagement and agency among youth in a participatory action research (PAR) collective, the study attends to the manner in which critical engagement and agency developed over time for the youth researchers. The focus of the project was to conduct a survey among ninth grade students concerning their early high school experience, using participatory methods in data collection, analysis, and reporting back. Data collection included participant observation and review of footage of project activities, field notes, and the youth researchers' auto-ethnographic texts and creative products. Access to the ninth grade students was clearly achieved, and they were informed first among many stakeholders about the results of the survey; however, the classroom setting proved challenging in terms of facilitating critical engagement, compromising youth researchers' sense of agency. The university setting served as a site conducive to inquiry and agency for the youth. In this study we trace the nature of critical engagement among youth as they participate in critical inquiry and social action concerning opportunities and constraints within the educational system. A collective of youth, an educator/community member, and university faculty and students worked together over an academic year to study the early high school experiences of youth. The context is a high poverty urban district in the Midwest.
... The conceptual framework for our inquiry draws upon intersectionality -the ways in which social categories (e.g., race, class, gender) are experienced relationally, rather than independent of one another (Crenshaw, 1989;, which we have seen through our examination of the political nature of work and space and movement. Our practice of working together to look back on the assignment engages with theories of critical civic engagement (Buckingham, 2009;Buckingham & Willet, 2013;Fox et al., 2010;Gordon, 2008;Harris, 2012). Adding criticality to an understanding of citizenship is integral to this study as much of the citizenship literature's canon. ...
Article
Full-text available
What creative approaches might be harnessed to encourage social critique and action in pre-service Geography teacher education? By reflecting on an assignment in Casey’s Introduction to Teaching Geography class where pre-service teachers (including Allen) visually mapped a worker’s labour for a day on unceded and unsurrendered Wolastoqiyik territory (Fredericton, New Brunswick), we ask: What can we learn about work, labour, space, capitalism, and intersectionality by visually mapping a worker’s day and analyzing their labour? We argue that by confronting the apolitical teaching of Geography education through the example of the Mapping Labour assignment, we might attempt to disrupt the ways that European Canadian settler geographies permeate the existing curriculum and work to disrupt neoliberal assumptions about schooling, creativity, and work.
... Taken together, the themes of journey (personal journey, and how it intersects (or not) with an organization's journey); accessibility and support mechanisms; relationships; advocacy and peer leadership; diversity and difference; grief and loss; and nonparticipation add complexity, depth, and nuance to dominant (and often stale) understandings of community engagement. Although the practice of community engagement is ubiquitous-spanning fields such as mental health (Horn et al., 2014), harm reduction (Tookey et al., 2018), housing (Garcia et al., 2014), and youth studies (Fox et al., 2010)-meanings of engagement seldom move beyond fuzzy rhetoric (Barello et al., 2012;Head, 2007;Hutcheson, 2014;Schulman, 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
Community engagement is considered a cornerstone of health promotion practice. Yet engagement is a fuzzy term signifying a range of practices. Health scholarship has focused primarily on individual effects of engagement. To understand the complexities of engagement, organizations must also consider relational, structural, and/or organizational factors that inform stakeholders’ subjective understandings and experiences. Community engagement processes are not neutral; they can reproduce and/or dismantle power structures, often in contradictory or unexpected ways. This article discusses diverse stakeholders’ subjective experiences and understandings of engagement within the HIV sector in Toronto, Canada. In our study, a team of community members, service providers, and academics partnered with three HIV community–based organizations to do this work. We used photovoice, a participatory and action-oriented photography method, to identify, document, and analyze participants’ understandings at respective sites. Through collaborative analysis, we identified seven themes that may catalyze conversations about engagement within organizations: reflecting on journey; honoring relationships; accessibility and support mechanisms; advocacy, peer leadership, and social justice; diversity and difference; navigating grief and loss; and nonparticipation. Having frank and transparent discussions that are grounded in stakeholders’ subjective experiences, and the sociopolitical and structural conditions of involvement, can help organizations take a more intersectional and nuanced approach to community engagement. Together, our findings can be used as a framework to support organizations in thinking more deeply and complexly about how to meaningfully, ethically, and sustainably engage communities (both individually and collectively) in HIV programming, and organizational policy change. The article concludes with questions for practice.
... While youth have traditionally been research participants, youth engagement practices call for youth to be engaged in the research process as full partners. 3 Youth engagement is valuable in any area of research regarding youth, ranging from mental health and substance use, [12][13][14] health promotion 15 and social inequity, 16 to organizational change 17 and educational reform. 18 By engaging young people in all stages of a research project, from design and development through to knowledge translation, researchers can help ensure that the research they are conducting is relevant to the realities facing young people today. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Engaging youth in research provides substantial benefits to research about youth-related needs, concerns and interventions. However, researchers require training and capacity development to work in this manner. Methods: A capacity-building intervention, INNOVATE Research, was co-designed with youth and adult researchers and delivered to researchers in three major academic research institutions across Canada. Fifty-seven attendees participated in this research project evaluating youth engagement practices, attitudes, perceived barriers, and perceived capacity development needs before attending the intervention and six months later. Results: The intervention attracted researchers across various career levels, roles and disciplines. Participants were highly satisfied with the workshop activities. Follow-up assessments revealed significant increases in self-efficacy six months after the workshop (P = .035). Among possible barriers to youth engagement, four barriers significantly declined at follow-up. The barriers that decreased were largely related to practical knowledge about how to engage youth in research. Significantly more participants had integrated youth engagement into their teaching activities six months after the workshop compared to those who were doing so before the workshop (P = .007). A large proportion (71.9%) of participants expressed the need for a strengthened network of youth-engaged researchers; other future capacity-building approaches were also endorsed. Conclusions: The INNOVATE Research project provided improvements in youth engagement attitudes and practices among researchers, while lifting barriers. Future capacity-building work should continue to enhance the capacity of researchers to engage youth in research. Researchers notably pointed to the need to establish a network of youth-engaged researchers to provide ongoing, sustainable gains in youth engagement.
... Defining Participation. For us, PAR is both a methodology and an organizing strategy (Fox, Mediratta, Ruglis, Stoudt, Shah, and Fine 2010). We democratize the decision-making process by working with migrant communities on determining research aims, choosing a data collection method, designing a recruitment plan, and conducting and analyzing research. ...
Article
In this article, we explore the possibilities of Participatory Action Research (PAR) producing ethical and nuanced knowledge that contributes to developing Filipino migrant workers’ capacity for sustainable political organizing. We discuss our projects with Filipino migrant organizations in the U.S. and Canada. We theorize on the potential of PAR with migrants who are part of highly precarious workforces in global cities. Additionally, we, as immigrant women of colour and scholars, highlight the tensions between academic ethos that prioritizes a rapid ‘publish-or-perish’ culture and the ethos of PAR, which puts into place collaborative processes that can be at odds with the ‘tempo’ of academic work. We highlight the tensions between the academic and reproductive labour of PAR, with the latter being seen by many academic institutions as an ‘inconvenience’ impeding productivity.
Chapter
Citizenship education is a thriving field of study in many democratic nations. Indeed, scholars, policy makers, and practitioners often justify the field’s importance by arguing that participatory citizenship is the foundation of democratic societies (Dewey, 1916).
Chapter
We are living in a “moment”, so to speak. As young adults, the aggressive nature of gendered, racialized, and capitalist violence and dispossession appears in our everyday interactions, and manifests in our generation’s increased disenfranchisement from political leadership, state, and institutional infrastructure. The general sentiment is that our social world may worsen in relation to our struggle against this violence and dispossession before it “gets better”.
Article
Knowledges from academic and professional research-based institutions have long been valued over the organic intellectualism of those who are most affected by educational and social inequities. In contrast, participatory action research (PAR) projects are collective investigations that rely on indigenous knowledge, combined with the desire to take individual and/or collective action. PAR with youth (YPAR) engages in rigorous research inquiries and represents a radical effort in education research to value the inquiry-based knowledge production of the youth who directly experience the educational contexts that scholars endeavor to understand. In this chapter, we outline the foundations of YPAR and examine the distinct epistemological, methodological, and pedagogical contributions of an interdisciplinary corpus of YPAR studies and scholarship. We outline the origins and disciplines of YPAR and make a case for its role in education research, discuss its contributions to the field and the tensions and possibilities of YPAR across disciplines, and close by proposing a YPAR critical-epistemological framework that centers youth and their communities, alongside practitioners, scholars, and researchers, as knowledge producers and change agents for social justice.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we tell the story of a changing urban landscape through the eyes of the youth we work with in an ongoing after-school program and community-based research project rooted in Photovoice methodology. In particular, we focus on the work that, over the 6 years of our time with youth, has “ended up on the cutting room floor” (Paris and Winn (eds) Humanizing research: decolonizing qualitative inquiry with youth and communities. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2014, p. xix). This attention to the work that has fallen through the cracks is a move to engage the central tenets of Humanizing Research, but it’s also a call to think critically with and through the failures that emerge in work with youth. We attend specifically to an ongoing failure in our work as a way to think about the kinds of promises that are often made and broken in participatory action research. In doing so, we tease out the implications of our work with youth and the steps community-based researchers can take to navigate the challenges that can impede the goals of fostering meaningful change.
Article
Full-text available
Youth-led group work shifts power dynamics and repositions youth as leaders in driving the learning they envision for themselves. This shift calls into question how group facilitators measure outcomes of youth empowerment groups. Youth participatory action research (YPAR) has expanded the field of knowledge production by creating shared spaces where youth participants co-create research agendas and processes that are guided by their lived experiences and expertise, and generate data-driven action to address social problems. We propose applications of YPAR as both an emancipatory epistemology and methodology to inform group work research.
Chapter
This book is an introduction to the issues, debates and practices relating to Participatory Activist Research (PAtR). PAtR belongs to the research family of action research (AR). The emphasis of this book is on helping new and practicing cultural professionals to understand the complex and diverse nature of the broader action research tradition and to develop systematic ways of engaging in it. It is intended to help readers step beyond a ‘how-to’ text to also tackle the questions of why, who for and when? It is intended for the activist cultural professional who has an interest in understanding and facilitating social change through research. PAtR is one of many activist tools that the cultural professional might call on, including direct action, campaigning, group work, education, liaison and networking, planning and participation, case work and client organising, skilling, and leadership development.
Article
Full-text available
School-based social activism projects have much potential to foster civic engagement, self-efficacy, and positive youth development. Social activism projects may also be a means by which children, a group that is disempowered due to their age and dependence on adults, might seek to positively impact social and community problems. The current study evaluated elementary school age children’s (K-7th grade) participation in grassroots campaigns, which are year-long school-based activism projects that are a component of their school’s comprehensive social justice curriculum. Results found that even young children could successfully and meaningfully participate in these school-based activism projects. Additionally, students’ participation in these projects was characterized by a high level of enthusiasm and also facilitated a sense of community and empowerment in these children.
Chapter
Systematic and rigorous construction of field texts is pivotal in good empirical research. The previous chapter discussed some of the forms of field texts you might create in a PAtR. Whatever methods are used, there is an equally important ‘next phase’ to the process to help you make sense of what is going on: the analysis of field texts to create research texts. Research texts (Clandinin and Connelly 2000) are the texts produced through the analysis of field texts. Thinking about the analysis is part of the planning phase. Analysis allows you to explore, interpret and make sense of the field texts or data. There are powerful qualitative and quantitative computer software that can enhance your analysis, for example, NVivo (qualitative) and SPSS (quantitative). However, like all tools, you need to know how to use them effectively, and training in these packages is beyond the scope of this book, so we refer you to the many guides available should you want to employ such software.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter describes how community-based research can be used to put the principles of feminist science into practice. It provides examples of feminist community-based research projects conducted with youth populations with the goal of promoting social change. Community-based research may encompass a number of specific approaches (such as participatory action research), but in general it emphasizes collaborative work with community members, often giving a platform for the voices of disenfranchised groups. This chapter delineates how collaborative relationships are built by attending to the balance of power between researchers and participants, while recognizing that the degree of collaboration may vary depending upon the needs and interests of the community. The chapter also explores the importance of researchers engaging in reflexivity to increase their awareness of the ways their own values will impact the research process. Finally, ethical considerations when conducting feminist community-based research are explored and best practices are offered.
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, Chmielewski and colleagues present findings from a multi-method, collaborative research project examining the disproportionate rates and consequences of school discipline for LGBTQ youth of color at the intersection of race, gender and sexuality. Using both survey and focus group data with LGBTQ youth of color in New York City public schools, they document the ways in which these students are marginalized through overt discrimination in school discipline practices as well as a more subtle, yet insidious policing of their gender and sexuality. Based on those findings, the authors discuss the psychological impacts for LGBTQ youth as they negotiate these hostile environments and offer interventions based on their wisdom and insights.
Article
Full-text available
As part of a youth summer program—a partnership between a large Southeastern university and the local school district—middle-school-aged youth, preservice teachers, and doctoral candidates interested in arts-based literacy practices spent their mornings in June 2016 engaging in activities that both explored and expanded thinking around their communities, schools, and families. Whereas the youth were enrolled in a monthlong creative arts and tentative unschooling experiment that ran roughly the length of a typical school day, university faculty and graduate students were engaged in a course on the application of youth participatory action research (YPAR). This article is an examination of the experience of preservice teachers, through an analysis of their reflections on events within the course, to suggest ways forward through the promises and perils of project-based, clinical preservice teaching experiences. In our exploration of the experiences of focal preservice teachers when engaged with youth coresearchers in a monthlong YPAR project, we found the work to have been filled with contradictions, unexpected shifts, and moments of great understanding, community affiliation, and suffering.
Article
In this chapter, we examine youth voice within intergenerational collectives where youth and adults are in consultation with each other about school and community issues. The three projects discussed in this chapter reflect the use of participatory action research (PAR) to address educational policies and practices viewed as counterproductive by youth within poor and working class neighborhoods. The use of PAR to inform policy makers and establish alternative educational approaches reflects a critical theoretical framework in that it considers the complexity of experiences and social identities among youth who are positioned differently in relation to educational and opportunity access. The use of the arts as a strategy for inquiry and action is discussed as a way to identify alternative frames of analysis-ways of seeing from different angles the explanations offered by decision makers for the use of particular educational policies. The chapter outlines strategic planning for public engagement at significant junctures of the PAR projects to ensure youth voices are heard and prevailing discourses and theories of action challenged, thus bringing into clear focus the imperative for more equitable and humanizing conditions within education.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, Melanie Bertrand explores the potential of using the concept of intertextuality—which captures the way snippets of written or spoken text from one source become incorporated into other sources—in the study and practice of youth participatory action research (YPAR). Though this collective and youth-centered form of research entails an explicit focus on change-oriented action, there is still much to be learned about the connection between processes within YPAR groups and educational shifts beyond them. Using data from a YPAR group as an example, this article aims to chart a course for research to explore this area. The author demonstrates that a methodology incorporating the concept of intertextuality can illuminate how discursive phenomena within a YPAR group may radiate outward. In addition, intertextuality may provide YPAR groups a strategy for increasing outside influence.
Chapter
Full-text available
In the spring of 2012, members of our research team convened an urban Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC) in the city of Calgary for a Canada-wide health research program aimed at engaging marginalized youth in confronting structural violence. Nearly a dozen other groups composed of youth aged 16–24 years who experience exclusion of diverse forms – as refugees, as homeless, or as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer (LGBTQ) youth – were also established between 2011 and 2014.
Article
This article argues that one of the main goals of social or civic studies is to empower students. However, traditional teaching practices often have the opposite effect of disempowering students. Traditional teaching practices are understood to emerge from the history and context of public schooling, from early practices, which have been reified. After describing this context, the article reviews the meaning of and literature around empowerment, which relate to the democratic purpose of schooling. The conception of empowerment that is presented is developed from Foucault’s work on power and knowledge. After this discussion, the article provides recommendations that aim to improve teaching practice in this area. These recommendations emerged from the teaching of an integrated teacher education course and include strategies such as inquiry, relationship - and community-building, problem or issue scenarios, and discussions. Comments from the student teachers who took the education course are included. The article demonstrates how empowering students does not disempower teachers, as teachers may fear.
Article
This article reimagines the social justice educational leadership field, highlighting the leadership of youth, parents, and community. We examine widely cited social justice educational leadership publications, in addition to critical research on youth voice, parent engagement, and community organizing. Our analysis reveals that the field often overlooks youth, parent, and community educational leadership. Through the theory of collective transformative agency, we propose a new framework for dismantling deficit ideologies and disempowering practices in leadership preparation programs. The article concludes with specific proposals for programs to re-envision the “how” and “who” of leadership preparation.
Article
Background/Context This article shares qualitative findings from one arts-based youth research project. It offers insights for educators and researchers working in youth-driven contexts with an interest in critical pedagogy, engaged research methods, and youth media. Purpose and Research Questions Youth artist-researchers produced their own media projects that explored themes of importance to them as part of a critical media literacy project. The class was designed around the research question: What role do narratives, representation, and media-making play in the identity construction of youth in an urban setting? Research Design The arts-based research project, Through the Lens of Resistance, involved six youth artist-researchers who produced media artworks during the summer class and presented their work in community spaces. I led the class and collected data, serving as both teaching artist and lead researcher. The installations explored racialized violence, representation, and the political work of media. Youth researchers learned critical media theory and media-based qualitative methods from a Global Action Project curriculum over 4 weeks. In the final 2 weeks, youths worked individually or in groups to design an arts-based installation that involved media research. After the conclusion of the class, two artists continued to show one of the final projects in various community settings. Qualitative data shared here come from interviews, participant observation, and one focus group. Findings/Results This article identifies the potential of qualitative methods that foreground critical pedagogy and art-making to generate youth community engagement and critical consciousness. It shares insights for educators and researchers working in youth-driven contexts. This article demonstrates that arts-based research grounded in critical pedagogy and community spaces offers a powerful vehicle for young people to develop critical consciousness as they grapple with social issues.
Article
Full-text available
Context Engaging youth as partners in academic research projects offers many benefits for the youth and the research team. However, it is not always clear to researchers how to engage youth effectively to optimize the experience and maximize the impact. Objective This article provides practical recommendations to help researchers engage youth in meaningful ways in academic research, from initial planning to project completion. These general recommendations can be applied to all types of research methodologies, from community action‐based research to highly technical designs. Results Youth can and do provide valuable input into academic research projects when their contributions are authentically valued, their roles are clearly defined, communication is clear, and their needs are taken into account. Researchers should be aware of the risk of tokenizing the youth they engage and work proactively to take their feedback into account in a genuine way. Some adaptations to regular research procedures are recommended to improve the success of the youth engagement initiative. Conclusions By following these guidelines, academic researchers can make youth engagement a key tenet of their youth‐oriented research initiatives, increasing the feasibility, youth‐friendliness and ecological validity of their work and ultimately improve the value and impact of the results their research produces.
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is increasing emphasis on engaging youth in research about youth, their needs, experiences and preferences, notably in health services research. By engaging youth as full partners, research becomes more feasible and relevant, and the validity and richness of findings are enhanced. Consequently, researchers need guidance in engaging youth effectively. This study examines the experiences, needs and knowledge gaps of researchers. Methods: Eighty-four researchers interested in youth engagement training were recruited via snowball sampling. They completed a survey regarding their youth engagement experiences, attitudes, perceived barriers and capacity development needs. Data were analysed descriptively, and comparisons were made based on current engagement experience. Results: Participants across career stages and disciplines expressed an interest in increased capacity development for youth engagement. They had positive attitudes about the importance and value of youth engagement, but found it to be complex. Participants reported requiring practical guidance to develop their youth engagement practices and interest in a network of youth-engaged researchers and on-going training. Those currently engaging youth were more likely to report the need for greater appreciation of youth engagement by funders and institutions. Conclusions: Engaging youth in research has substantial benefits. However, skills in collaborating with youth to design, conduct and implement research have to be learned. Researchers need concrete training and networking opportunities to develop and maximize these skills. They also need mechanisms that formally acknowledge the value of engagement. Researchers and those promoting youth engagement in research are encouraged to consider these findings in their promotion and training endeavours.
Article
While civic participation is a crucial component of healthy and sustainable democracies, young adolescents may perceive or experience barriers that limit their civic action. This study draws from focus groups and surveys during a week-long summer civics camp to explore ways in which 47 young adolescents entering Grades 6–9 described barriers they perceive to civic action in their schools and communities. Findings reveal that participants entered camp believing they were capable of making a difference in their communities. Their ideas for youth civic action in schools and broader communities typically represented personally responsible and participatory notions of citizenship. Key obstacles to civic activities included partnerships with peers/adults, peers’ reluctance to exercise civic duty, social-emotional factors, and lack of resources.
Article
YPAR is increasingly used as a powerful tool for research and action but, its’ practice is often a ‘black box’, with the mechanisms in play absent or not described in detail. When methodological practice is made more explicit, it is illuminated that all too often, youth are not meaningfully integrated into many important aspects of the research. However, we know that relationships are central to the success of YPAR. As such we explore the research question of: ‘what are the relational practices in YPAR that can facilitate critical inquiry, reflection and action?’. We conducted a scoping review of 40 articles that discuss YPAR practice in youth development and out-of-school time spaces. Our results highlight a series of practices aimed at facilitating critical dialogue, sharing power and building a collective identity. These practices can help keep the YPAR practice aligned with its’ epistemological aims and support the practice of critical inquiry and reflection into action. Facilitating Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR): A Scoping Review of Relational Practice in U.S. Youth Development & Out-of-School Time Projects.
Article
Marginalised peoples, especially marginalised youth, are among those least able to exercise their rights to participate in processes of social change that affect them, to be heard and understood, to be accepted as authentic knowers and to share in the co-creation of political awareness and social knowledge, a condition Miranda Fricker has labelled epistemic injustice. Yet, in many societies, youth are uniting to demand to be heard and to claim their right to participate in the creation of political and social change at home and globally. Based on 25 interviews in 10 countries, we examine the experience of marginalised youth activists as it relates to epistemic injustice. Next, we canvas the capabilities needed for epistemic justice in activism. We then discuss both the processes we undertook to identify and connect with young activists and the unexpected learning we derived from this endeavour as well as the potential of peer-engaged research (PER) in reducing epistemic injustice in scholarship. This leads us to udentify six capabilities important for peer researchers. We conclude by making the case that PER has the potential to be a valuable tool for enhancing the work of grassroots activists as well as the authenticity of university-based research.
Article
In this article, I report on a mapping project of the methods used in articles in Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal since its inception. By reviewing all articles published in this journal from June 2008 to December 2020, I investigate and visually map the methodological tools used in the production of knowledge with, for, and about girls and girlhood. Alongside visual representations of this data, I also seek to reinvigorate conversations about the importance of epistemological and methodological rigor in studies of girls and girlhood.
Article
This study present findings related to students’ community and political engagement and activism after participation in an action civics institute. The institute, iEngage, is a weeklong summer experience for rising fifth through rising ninth graders that utilizes the action civics inquiry cycle to foster civic skills and cultivate participation and engagement in one’s community. Through this 4-year longitudinal quantitative study, researchers evaluated youth participants’ abilities, competencies, and experiences related to three civic constructs: community engagement, political engagement, and political activism. Results from the study show effective increases in students’ participation within each of the three respective constructs and provide promising alternatives to the conventional teaching and learning of civics education.
Article
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child creates an express obligation on State parties to take into consideration the views and opinions of children and youth in matters that affect them. State parties, children’s rights advocates, scholars, and non-profits have all recognized the importance of the right to participation, and have undertaken many different approaches to ensure the authenticity of the experience for children and young people. The following note details some of the accepted principles for meaningful youth engagement, and reflects back on the experience of the Youth Rapporteur Programme at the 2015 edition of the International Summer Course on the Rights of the Child.
Article
Common typologies frame youth participation as something that exists at different hierarchical, or linear, levels or stages. In these models, non-participation is positioned as something negative or not addressed at all. Scholars have critiqued these typologies for ignoring contextual specificities and complexities, nuances, and power dynamics inherent in participatory processes. In this article, I draw from narratives of young people to productively theorize what non-participation might engender for thinking about and enacting participatory processes. In this study, I asked stakeholders at a youth-led HIV prevention and harm reduction peer-education program to take and discuss photographs that reflected their ideas about youth engagement. I provide a thematic analysis of how young people understood and navigated their participation in complex and self-determined ways. I put their narratives in dialogue with critical scholars’ writing on settler-colonialism, neoliberalism, and willfulness to tease apart why and how young people’s comments on non-participation offer a sophisticated counter-hegemonic understanding of the “call to participation” and its discursive and material effects. Last, drawing on the work of Indigenous theorists who advocate for a politics of refusal, I argue that young people’s refusal to participate (or to participate on their own terms) may be an act of resistance – especially for young people whose bodies are regulated on a daily basis. I conclude by making a case for non-participation as a conceptual tool to disrupt and refuse hegemonic, linear theories of change and invite practitioners working with young people to do the same.
Article
Through civic engagement, adolescents can increase community vitality, challenge injustices, and address social problems. Positive youth development (PYD) theory and research has generated knowledge of ecological assets (resources and supports in everyday environments) that foster youth civic engagement. Yet, assets and opportunities are not equally available to all youth. Youth of color in urban high‐poverty neighborhoods merit more concerted attention in research on civic development to inform theory, policy, and practice. A primary goal of this monograph is to broaden academic and public discourse about what civic engagement looks like and how it develops for urban youth of color who live in high‐poverty neighborhoods. We conducted one time, face‐to‐face interviews and brief quantitative surveys with 87 youth of color (90% Black and Black multiracial; 59.8% male; ages 12–19) recruited from five youth centers in Rochester, New York, from 2015 to 2016. Interviews elicited youth's perspectives on how they define and experience civic engagement, community problems, connections and discussions to community, and adult supports. We used an inductive qualitative methodology. In Chapter I, we review what is known about civic engagement among urban youth of color. We lay out evidence for ecological assets that support youth civic engagement, aligned with a PYD perspective, and articulate ways to expand beyond PYD to understand youth empowerment and urban contexts. In Chapter II, we summarize national and local contexts that may shape the experiences of urban youth of color in our study. To set the stage for the empirical chapters that follow, we describe our sample, study design, and methodology. In Chapter III, we examine how urban youth of color in Rochester experience community violence and discuss the implications of these experiences for civic development. Youth articulated violence as a serious community problem and powerfully discussed frequent, personal, direct and indirect exposures to violence. Due to fear and lack of safety, some youth strategically disconnected from community and relationships and experienced disempowerment. Others reacted to violence with a tendency toward self‐protection. For some, community violence was a catalyst for civic action. In Chapter IV, we investigate how youth defined and experienced civic engagement. Youth's civic participation spanned helping community, engaging politically, participating in school or community organizations, engaging in social and leisure activities, and taking personal responsibility. Youth's civic actions were largely informal and localized. Some civic participation was contextualized as a response to community violence, such as intervening to protect peers from harm. Some youth were not civically engaged. In Chapter V, we map out what civic empowerment looks like for these youth and how civic empowerment links to civic action. Supporting prior theory, we found evidence for emotional, relational, and cognitive dimensions of civic empowerment and experiences of civic disempowerment. Emotional empowerment was most closely aligned with civic action, although any expressions of civic empowerment suggest youth are developing building blocks for civic participation. In Chapter VI, we investigate ecological assets that support youth's civic development. Safe community spaces such as youth centers provided familiarity and comfort, opportunities to forge connections with others, and places to help and be helped. Adults supported youth by enabling youth to feel heard, not judging them, serving as role models, and offering guidance and support. Youth were equally articulate about how adults fail to support or empower them. We conclude that some assets generally support positive development and others specifically foster civic development. In Chapter VII, we integrate findings across chapters into a conceptual model of four distinct pathways of civic development. We systematically examined differences among youth who are disengaged, personally responsible, safely engaged, and broadly engaged. All pathways are adaptive, and youth found different ways to navigate community violence and other adversities. As summarized in Chapter VIII, our study informs theory and future research on civic engagement among urban youth of color in contexts of adversity. We put forward four important elements needed for theory of civic development to be relevant for urban youth of color. Then we offer policy and practice recommendations: (a) investment in safe spaces and violence‐reduction policies should be a top priority; (b) youth should be involved in decision‐making about solutions to issues of concern to them; (c) civic engagement programs and opportunities should center on local issues and allow for multiple forms of engagement; (d) all youth should be heard and taken seriously by the adults in their lives.
Article
The current study examined whether youth perceptions of school racial messages that acknowledged the reality of racism (critical consciousness [CC] messages) or denied racism (color‐blind messages) predicted youth anti‐racism action through interpersonal and communal/political means. We further tested whether youths’ critical reflection of perceived inequality and anger toward social injustice—psychological aspects of CC development—mediated relations between school messages and youth actions. These questions were explored using structural equation modeling with 372 racially/ethnically diverse adolescents (Mage = 17.00; standard deviation = 1.29; female = 51.0%). Results indicated that youth perceptions of CC messages predicted their involvement in both interpersonal and communal/political anti‐racism action. Youths’ anger toward social injustice mediated links between school racial messages and anti‐racism action, albeit in unique ways. These findings underscore the power of schools in prompting youth anti‐racism action. Implications of the importance of partnerships between schools and youth community organizing groups to stimulate youth anti‐racism action were discussed.
Article
The purpose of this study was to conduct a youth participatory action research project to address the disparities in sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV rates among homeless youth. Four youth served as co-investigators and cultural informants for the project. The team conducted focus groups (N = 22; ages 16–22) and in-depth interviews (N = 20; ages 18–24) with homeless youth to explore decisions about condomless sex, knowledge of STIs and HIV, health-care access for STI-related services, and perceptions about STI testing. Findings revealed that homeless youth have good general knowledge about STIs, are receptive to STI testing for themselves and their sexual partners, and have heightened concerns about being HIV positive and peers knowing their STI status. Results from the current study could contribute to the development of youth-informed tailored interventions to increase protective sexual behavior, reduce health disparities, and improve access to and the quality of health-care services for homeless youth.
Article
Research on the experiences of trans youth has generally emphasized their disparate risk for negative educational, housing, and health outcomes. While drawing attention to very real vulnerabilities, these depictions can represent trans youth as one-dimensional passive victims. Some recent research draws on resiliency theory and offers a strengths-based perspective highlighting the strategies trans youth employ and the resources they draw upon in the face of challenging circumstances. In this study, we look to the concept of situated agency as a way to understand how risk and resilience simultaneously characterize the high school experiences of trans youth. Through hearing their own accounts of daily life in a large urban public school district, we seek to understand their attitudes, behavior, and choices as strategies for coping, surviving and resisting the bureaucratic structures that create conflict by upholding traditional binary gender norms. In so doing, we seek to redirect the spotlight on the practices and systems that constrain trans youth agency—rather than the trans youth, themselves—as the most appropriate focus for intervention.
Article
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Youth are traditionally excluded from participation within planning venues, though planners increasingly recognize the value and knowledge that youth can bring to planning efforts. Yet planners struggle to find ways to incorporate youth ideas and decision making that are not exploitative, tokenizing, or coercive. Arnstein’s “A Ladder of Citizen Participation” provides useful insights into how youth can participate in decision making through partnerships with adults for whom the ladder was designed. In this article, we use case studies of youth-focused planning initiatives to examine the potential for including youth in Arnstein’s original ladder. These include Youth–Plan Learn Act Now (Y-PLAN), Youth Engagement and Action for Health (YEAH!), and Growing Up Boulder (GUB). Within each case study we analyze the goals, methodology, and projects of each program to determine how each expands or limits youth participation. The case studies vary based on the degree of participation, youth experience, and their geographical and institutional bounding. We then propose new rungs located between “placation” and “partnership” that offer youth an opportunity to partner with adults to engage in a planning project. Each new rung offers youth opportunities to participate in the planning process, though adults retain decision-making power. These rungs are divided by their directionality of power and whether youth are granted power to participate or seek it themselves. Further research could refine these rungs, especially within larger contexts of planning theory and the history of shared decision-making processes. Methodological challenges to this study could be addressed in some of these future research efforts. Takeaway for practice: Practicing planners are challenged with ways to authentically include youth voices in productive and nontokenistic decision-making frameworks. Planners can apply these lessons to engage youth in different contexts to support the elevation of their involvement, voice, and power in the planning process.
Article
Full-text available
This project investigated the postsecondary education aspirations of 27 secondary school-aged students living in greater London, England and greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA. An innovative research design was implemented to support a technology-facilitated international focus group allowing for exchanges between the US and English students. Using human ecology theory, the findings show that differences in students’ exosystems, specifically the financial aid and loan repayment processes, influence student postsecondary education and career aspirations. US student concerns about affordability and loan repayment made aspirations lower and more localized. In contrast, English participants felt comforted by their government’s deferred loan repayment process, so they did not express such strong constraints on aspirations based on financial considerations. Both English and US students were influenced similarly by the mesosystem when making decisions about which postsecondary institution to attend. In conclusion, altering exosystem policy and influencing mesosystem relationships could impact postsecondary education aspirations for low-income students.
Article
This paper considers the emancipatory potential of incorporating Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and Restorative Practices (RP) implementation into a transformative mixed methods study design as a means to create equitable and caring school systems for marginalized youth. The utilization of transformative mixed methods research offers a methodological orientation to legitimize, illuminate, and prioritize perspectives from marginalized youth that may be undervalued, decontextualized, and oversimplified in traditional quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Furthermore, the authors suggest that YPAR and RP align with Critical Theory and Quantitative Criticalism, which are theoretical and methodological frameworks consistent with the transformative paradigm. The integration of these various theoretical, methodological and applied frameworks provides researchers opportunities to flatten hierarchies and actively engage marginalized youth to address the structural and programmatic inequities they experience in schools. With the aid of a case study, this paper explores how the alignment of YPAR, RP, and transformative mixed methods may promote critical consciousness amongst students, families, staff, and administration in schools. Finally, we also demonstrate how social science researchers can blend YPAR, RP, and transformative mixed method design to partner with school districts to address structural societal problems, such as racism and inequity.
Article
Full-text available
Scholarship on youth engagement indicates that adolescents address social issues of public concern, but it is not clear how youth challenge racism. This gap in the literature stems from indirect conceptualizations and a lack of quantitative measurement of adolescents’ acts to oppose racism. Correspondingly, this study presents the validation of a measure of youth anti-racism action. Study 1 describes the youth participatory approach used in the development of the Anti-Racism Action Scale and presents the results from an exploratory factor analysis that examined the measure’s initial factor structure and reliability. The factor structure of the 22-item measure was explored with a diverse sample of adolescents (Mage = 16.00, SD = 1.18; 61.7% girls, Black/African American [29.3%], Asian/South Asian [21.1%], White/European American [24.4%], Arab/Middle-Eastern [17.5%], Latino/Hispanic [4.5%], and Multiracial [3.3%]) enrolled in a race dialogue program (n = 249). The results indicated the measure consisted of three subscales: Interpersonal Action, Communal Action, and Political Change Action. In Study 2, a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted with an independent, nationally representative sample of youth (n = 384) from diverse backgrounds (Mage = 17.00, SD = 1.29, 51.0% girls, White/European American [26.1%], Black/African American [25.6%], Latino/Hispanic [19.3%], Asian/Pacific Islander [13.6%], Multiracial [9.9%], Native American [5.2%] and “other” [0.3%]). The results confirmed a three-factor model that resulted in a 16-item measure. Furthermore, tests of convergent validity tests were pursued between the Anti-Racism Action Scale and the Critical Consciousness Scale, a widely used measure of youths’ awareness of the structural causes of various forms of oppression, sense of sociopolitical agency, and social action. This study suggests that youth engagement in anti-racism is multidimensional and that notion of adolescent social action are more diverse than represented in the literature.
Article
New Civics has emerged in the last three decades in order to expand the definition and scope of ‘participation’ beyond elections and voting, to include the wide range of civic activities that contribute to effective democracy. The emphasis is on agency and responsibility, critical thinking and the skills for informal as well as formal action. The implications for both formal and informal education include going beyond knowledge of local political systems. This Special Issue brings together papers emerging from the Spencer Foundation funded Program supporting doctoral students at Harvard Graduate School of Education that address the widening scope of civic education. They draw on international as well as US data. They address the following questions: How do critiques of new civics reveal the current tensions between different narratives of justice, freedom of speech and social order? How does increasing digital affordance affect freedom of speech and ethics and what skills do students need? What are the historical controversies about the purposes of education that lie behind current debates? How might controversial issues be used in discussion to highlight culture and diversity issues? How does experience of community participation promote the skills and motives for commitment? How can innovative methods such as Youth Participatory Action Research enhance civic awareness and skills? How can this be used in art, and how has it contributed to civic education in the challenging environment of refugee contexts? The papers reflect innovative research and practice at the cutting edge of new civics education.
Article
Full-text available
Youth self-determination has been shown to be key to supporting youth engagement in school. However, the latent custodial and sorting functions of schooling often interfere with reform efforts that seek to change the nature of the central relationship of schooling—that of teacher and student. While many studies exist of short-term reform efforts, few long-term efforts in the United States have successfully persisted. This study is a longitudinal, embedded case study of a network of high schools, supported by an intermediary organization, committed to elevating student voice. Through a critical examination of the rapid prototyping approach the intermediary organization credits with the long-terms success of its program, I trace the adaptations of student voice theory and practice that occurred across 17 schools over a period of 5 years. I find that key adaptations that buffered organizational pressures—most notably teacher resistance to student voice—also moved the initiative away from the equity-focus that it embraced in early iterations. These findings point to the significance of value clarity in counter-normative reforms committed to developmental change and the challenges of avoiding the trap of only enriching the experiences of the most advantaged students.
Thesis
Full-text available
In this dissertation I posit that schooling is a social determinant of health. Employing a mixed method, participatory action research design, this study examines and offers original theorizing on the ways in which schooling affects educational and health outcomes. This research explores how and why education is the most significant predictor of lifetime health. Grounded in critical race theory, this dissertation spans conceptual frameworks from critical theory, participatory action research, political economy, social and environmental psychology, social epidemiology and public health as a way to understand the relationship that education level has to health. It offers a detailed analysis of the relationship between education and health, the current graduation rate crisis and its historical origins, school dropout and the costs of diploma denial. I describe the research process of the youth participatory action research collective called ProjectDISH (Disparities in Schooling and Health) formed for this study. ProjectDISH created the research questions, methodology, design, protocol and methods of analyses for this mixed method (mapping, focus groups, and survey) research study. The purpose of our research was to investigate and document the ways in which schooling and health are related, and how racialized urban educational inequities and outcomes correlate with health disparities. Supporting literature and policy suggestions are woven throughout the findings chapters. I end this dissertation by introducing a new theory of school dropout, called school noncompletion, as a way to speak back to, reframe and move forward the discourse, research, policy and practices concerning school dropout. The concluding chapter also provides methodological considerations and policy recommendations for this work.
Article
Full-text available
If Congress passed a law saying that those who earned less than $35,000 a year no longer had the right to vote or influence who gets elected to the U.S. Senate, most of us would be outraged. With such a law, some would ask, "Can we still call ourselves a democracy?" Unfortunately, according to recent research by Larry Bartels of Princeton University, such a law might not make a big difference. Indeed, after reading Bartels's findings, one might be tempted to ask, "Have we already passed this law?".
Article
Full-text available
Qualitative research describing and theorizing about the emerging civic identities of diverse youth is scarce. This study provides a textured view of how civic identity is constructed and negotiated by racially and socioeconomically diverse adolescents, based on interviews and in-class discus- sions conducted with students in four public secondary schools. Youth living in distinct contexts come to school-based civic education with varied understandings—shaped by disparate daily experiences—of what it means to be an American citizen and a participant in the civic life of a democracy. This investigator's examination of diverse adolescents' discussions of their in-school and out-of-school civic experiences suggests a "typology" of civic identity that runs counter to prevalent views of the civic engagement of urban, minority youth. The study illustrates sharp dis- parities in daily civic experiences of youth from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, and suggests that schools can either hinder or encourage development of engaged, action-oriented civic identities among students from various contexts.
Chapter
Full-text available
The topics that comprise this chapter fall under the umbrella of political socialization and refer to those practices whereby younger generations are incorporated as full members of the polity or public sphere of society (Flanagan & Gallay, 1995). Although individuals are guaranteed rights by virtue of their status as citizens, it is through the exercise of those rights that they assume membership and have a voice in defining the polity and through their civic engagement that citizens sustain their rights (Walzer, 1989).
Article
Full-text available
In a study of high school civic opportunities, the authors found that student race and academic track, and a school's average socioeconomic status (SES) determines the availability of the school-based civic learning opportunities that promote voting and broader forms of civic engagement. High school students attending higher SES schools, those who are college-bound, and white students get more of these opportunities than low-income students, those not heading to college, and students of color. The study is based on surveys of more than 2,500 California juniors and seniors over a two-year period (2005-2007) as well as on analysis of a nationally representative data set of more 2,811 9th graders. Students were surveyed about how their high school civic learning experiences aligned with civic education best practices. This report details those findings and offers three recommendations for policymakers and educators: (1) Professional Development and Curricular Support; (2) New Initiatives Focused on Universal and/or Low SES Populations; and (3) Undertaking Assessment that Inform and Direct Both Policy and Practice. Two sample descriptions are appended. A bibliography is included. (Contains 12 endnotes, 3 figures and 3 tables.)
Article
Full-text available
The developmental correlates of diffuse support for the polity and civic commitments were explored in a survey of 1,052 students (mean age = 14.96 years) from African American, Arab American, European American, and Latino American backgrounds. Results of structural equation modeling revealed that regardless of their age, gender, or ethnic background, youth were more likely to believe that America was a just society and to commit to democratic goals if they felt a sense of community connectedness, especially if they felt that their teachers practiced a democratic ethic at school. Discussion focuses on the civic purposes of education in inculcating a sense of identification with the polity in younger generations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
In Western thought, the relationship between the moral and political domains has been dominated by a version of political philosophy which, based on the distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’, argues that the moral is different from the political. In parallel, and related to this, has been a delineation of the ‘political’ as concerned with structural aspects of representative democracy, privileging electoral behaviour in particular. We challenge this distinction on the basis that it is not useful for addressing the motivational dimensions of political behaviour, which are crucial for crafting citizenship education. We explore the ways in which the concept of citizenship has become contested in the realities of the range of contemporary political engagement, and how current debates, for example that between liberals and communitarians, expose the underlying moral perspectives behind their theory and their prescriptions. Emerging from this we present an argument for three different modes of civic engagement; voting, helping and making one's voice heard, in which the moral and political play out differently. This model is explored through data from a study of British young people's involvement with civic issues and actions.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we take a critical look at the growing interest in U.S. political participation as it exists in the youth civic engagement literature. Our critique draws from principles of liberation and developmental psychology, and from the incisive writings of experts in youth organizing. Youth Organizing evolved from the Positive Youth Development (PYD) and Community Youth Development (CYD) perspectives but its addition of social justice activism is consistent with liberation psychology. The essence of our critique is this: Although there is certainly value in the current civic engagement literature, much of it focuses on the maintenance of social and political institutions rather than on action for social justice. To promote a better balance, and one more relevant to the lives of youth of color and other marginalized young people, we offer a framework for empirical research on youth sociopolitical development. The focus is on the relationship between social analysis (including critical consciousness) and societal involvement that includes the full range of service and political work. Because youth is the focus, we also include a brief discussion of a distinctive challenge that adults face in doing just work with young people—namely, adultism. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 35: 779–792, 2007.
Article
Full-text available
Although psychology has an ample vocabulary for describing individual pathologies, the development of theory and concepts for understanding societal pathology remains in its infancy. Because community psychology theory views human behavior in its context, it is essential that interventions not be limited to stress management, personal coping, and similar programming. Interventions should not leave social injustice undiscussed and unchallenged. In this spirit we present a theory of oppression and sociopolitical development that informs an intervention with young, African American men in an urban setting. The five-stage theory highlights the role of Freire's notion of critical consciousness, a sociopolitical version of critical thinking, in enhancing an awareness of sociopolitical as well as personal forces that influence behavior. The theory also draws on African American social-change traditions and their spiritual aspects. The action section of the study describes the Young Warriors program's use of mass culture (rap videos and film) as stimuli for the development of critical consciousness. Highlights from an empirical investigation of an eight-session high school version of the program will be presented to illustrate the practical challenges and benefits of sociopolitical interventions.
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines theories and concepts relevant to sociopolitical development (SPD). As an emerging theory, SPD expands on empowerment and similar ideas related to social change and activism in community psychology--oppression, liberation, critical consciousness, and culture among them. SPD is the process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, analytical skills, emotional faculties, and the capacity for action in political and social systems necessary to interpret and resist oppression. Equally as important is a vision of liberation that is an alternative to oppressive conditions. All of these concepts have been underemphasized in the social change literature of U.S. community psychology. In our view, sociopolitical development is vital to human development and the creation of a just society. As part of identifying and illustrating concepts and processes relevant to SPD theory, we will draw from the words of young African American activists who were interviewed as part of a research study.
Article
Full-text available
In this chapter we review theoretical and empirical advances in research on adolescent development in interpersonal and societal contexts. First, we identify several trends in current research, including the current emphasis on ecological models and the focus on diversity in and relational models of adolescent development. Next, we discuss recent research on interpersonal relationships, with an eye toward identifying major research themes and findings. Research on adolescents' relationships with parents, siblings, other relatives, peers, and romantic partners, and adolescents' involvement in community and society is reviewed. Future directions in research on adolescent development are discussed.
Article
This paper examines theories and concepts relevant to sociopolitical development (SPD). As an emerging theory, SPD expands on empowerment and similar ideas related to social change and activism in community psychology—oppression, liberation, critical consciousness, and culture among them. SPD is the process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, analytical skills, emotional faculties, and the capacity for action in political and social systems necessary to interpret and resist oppression. Equally as important is a vision of liberation that is an alternative to oppressive conditions. All of these concepts have been underemphasized in the social change literature of U.S. community psychology. In our view, sociopolitical development is vital to human development and the creation of a just society. As part of identifying and illustrating concepts and processes relevant to SPD theory, we will draw from the words of young African American activists who were interviewed as part of a research study.
Article
In Right to be Hostile, scholar and activist Erica Meiners offers concrete examples and new insights into the "school to prison' pipeline phenomenon, showing how disciplinary regulations, pedagogy, pop culture and more not only implicitly advance, but actually normalize an expectation of incarceration for urban youth. Analyzed through a framework of an expanding incarceration nation, Meiners demonstrates how educational practices that disproportionately target youth of color become linked directly to practices of racial profiling that are endemic in state structures. As early as preschool, such educational policies and practices disqualify increasing numbers of students of color as they are funneled through schools as under-educated, unemployable, 'dangerous,' and in need of surveillance and containment. By linking schools to prisons, Meiners asks researchers, activists, and educators to consider not just how our schools' physical structures resemble prisons- metal detectors or school uniforms- but the tentacles in policies, practices and informal knowledge that support, naturalize, and extend, relationships between incarceration and schools. Understanding how and why prison expansion is possible necessitates connecting schools to prisons and the criminal justice system, and redefining "what counts" as educational policy.
Article
‘Our children are our future’ is a phrase often used to promote or justify investment in children. In Liberty: Thriving and civic engagement among America’s youth Richard Lerner, focusing on youth, examines what this phrase means in terms of the societal commitment needed to realize positive outcomes to human development. Furthermore, this phrase is most often couched in economic terms. Labor needs qualified workers. If people do not appropriately produce and contribute to the economy, our ranking as a world economic leader will suffer. Lerner on the other hand examines the implications for civil society. We cannot maintain a democratic society without the adequate and appropriate participation of citizens. If societies do not support youth’s development into citizenship, they as adults will not flourish as citizens and our liberty will be threatened.
Article
The CES-D scale is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales. The new scale was tested in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings. It was found to have very high internal consistency and adequate test- retest repeatability. Validity was established by pat terns of correlations with other self-report measures, by correlations with clinical ratings of depression, and by relationships with other variables which support its construct validity. Reliability, validity, and factor structure were similar across a wide variety of demographic characteristics in the general population samples tested. The scale should be a useful tool for epidemiologic studies of de pression.
Article
It's late Tuesday afternoon, 5:30 to be exact, a half an hour beyond the paid hours we all agreed to, yet no one looks that anxious to leave. Welcome to the Institute for Arts and Social Justice. In the summer of 2003 researchers at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York brought together a diverse group of young people from 13-21, community elders, social scientists, spoken word artists, dancers, choreographers and a video crew to collectively pour through data collected from over 9,000 students in high schools across the nation by the Educational Opportunity Gap Project (Fine et al., 2003); to learn about the legal, social and political history of segregation and integration of public schools; and create Echoes a performance of poetry and movement to contribute to the commemoratory conversation of the 50 th anniversary of Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Together we sit a as a radically diverse group, intentionally integrated in our efforts to actively respond to the chilling resegregation trends within public schools across the nation (Orfield & Lee). Our bodies have shifted from sitting face-forward giving full attention to invited speakers, into a loose circle. Some of us are in chairs, others are on the carpeted floor of the dance studio where we have spent the better part of the day. The conversation holding our attention is about the Harvey Milk school, an independent public school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth that recently received money to expand into a full-fledged high school: Iralma: I can understand where they're coming from, but I totally totally disagree with it. Because I feel like the only way you're gonna learn about our society is if you're around different people. You can't be around the same kind of people and expect to learn about everything and anything, you know what I'm saying? Like you can't be in a school with the same people and expect to have whole different varieties of opinions… Amir: Yeah, but when you break someone's spirit, not always will they be able to be strong and be able to get through things—you can really cripple someone like that. I know that being in my school, my grades didn't go up until I started getting into my history and I actually found, you know, about what made me great, you know what I mean? And I had to go out of school to get that. So we should be integrated but there's nothing wrong with going somewhere that will teach you about yourself, because you need to get a sense of self worth.
Article
This report examines the use of law enforcement agencies and the juvenile justice system as a double jeopardy mechanism for students, documenting the derailing of students from an academic track in school to a future in the juvenile justice system. The first section explores the emergence of zero tolerance policies and how they have led to the criminalization of student behavior. The second section examines the pervasiveness of zero tolerance policies, analyzing national statistics to document the high numbers of children criminalized by their schools and the disproportionate impact on children of color and children with special needs. The third section discusses the consequences of the schoolhouse to jailhouse track for children in Palm Beach County, Florida, schools. The final section presents proposed changes to these policies that may help keep children away from this track (e.g., schools must cease criminalizing students for trivial behaviors that can be handled by traditional, educationally sound school disciplinary measures; districts should improve collection of arrest/summons data and monitor referrals to law enforcement to root out subjective, unnecessary, and discriminatory referrals; and districts should be sensitive to the experiences of communities of color with law enforcement). Three appendices present the jailhouse track and the law; school level data for Baltimore, Maryland, Houston, Texas, and Palm Beach County, Florida; and diversionary programs. (Contains 63 endnotes.) (SM)
Article
Many youth-serving organizations are engaging young people in youth organizing and/or in interventions to support specific identity development in response to a need for meaningful opportunities for older and diverse youth to be civically involved in their communities. This paper explores differences in developmental outcomes and supports and opportunities among youth organizing, identity-support, and traditional youth development organizations. Survey and qualitative findings suggest significant differences, particularly in developmental outcomes such as civic activism and identity development. In addition, the youth organizing agencies are characterized by youth?s experience of higher levels of youth leadership, decision making, and community involvement in comparison with other agencies in the study. This research suggests that deliberate approaches to staffing and decision-making structures can influence youth outcomes.
Article
The recently completed IEA Civic Education Study collected data from 140,000 adolescent students in a total of 29 countries. A recent examination of the work of Nevitt Sanford shows that many aspects of the IEA Civic Education Study are parallel to methods and conclusions of his research from the 1950s through the 1970s and partake in the spirit of his work as well as extending it. These parallels include the use of a contextualized approach in the study of adolescents’ socialization and the value of studying groups with extreme response patterns.
Article
As critical scholars of public education and mass incarceration, we witness in our daily work the soft coercive migration of youth of color, especially poor youth of color, out of sites of public education and into militarized and carceral corners of the public sphere. We watch as educators and youth try to negotiate conditions of systematic miseducation, criminalization, and the scientism of high-stakes testing. And we observe how ideologies about merit, deservingness, and blame drip feed into the soul, tagging some bodies as worthy and others as damaged. We write this essay to make visible this critical geography of youth development and dispossession. Signaling how public dollars, ideologies, and opportunities map onto adolescent bodies and redistribute their dreams and aspirational capacities, we draw from multiple sources and disciplines to articulate the raced and classed capillaries and consequences of this new imperialism at home on U.S. soil. Specifically we use a wide range of data sources, disciplines, and research methods to demonstrate the deep penetration of youth dispossession through state sanctioned policies or the state's oversight; either option having the same value outcome—the dispossession of Black, Brown, immigrant and poor bodies.
Article
Many studies have reported gaps between Latino and non-Latino adolescents in academic and political outcomes. The current study presents possible explanations for such gaps, both at the individual and school level. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to examine data from 2,811 American ninth graders (approximately 14 years of age) who had participated in the IEA Civic Education study. Analyses of large data bases enable the consideration of individual characteristics and experiences, as well as the context of classrooms and schools. In comparison with non-Latino students, Latino adolescents report more positive attitudes toward immigrants’ rights but have lower civic knowledge and expected civic participation. These differences were apparent even when controlling for language, country of birth, and political discussions with parents. School characteristics that explain a portion of this gap include open classroom climate and time devoted to study of political topics and democratic ideals. Results are discussed within the framework of developmental assets and political socialization. Implications for educational policy and ways to use large data sets are also discussed.
Article
This conceptual paper uses the concept of coalition to theorize an alternative to categorical approaches to intersectionality based on review of an archive of oral history interviews with feminist activists who engage in coalitional work. Two complementary themes were identified: the challenge of defining similarity in order to draw members of diverse groups together, and the need to address power differentials in order to maintain a working alliance. Activists’ narratives suggest intersectionality is not only a tool for understanding difference, but also a way to illuminate less obvious similarities. This shift requires that we think about social categories in terms of stratification brought about through practices of individuals, institutions and cultures rather than only as characteristics of individuals. Implications of these themes for research practices are discussed.
Article
Youth organizing within the institutional context of community-based organizations has grown exponentially. Drawing on interviews with more than eighty organizers, youth, and educators, this article examines young people's experiences as they organize to expand educational opportunities for themselves and their peers in urban school districts. The authors explore educator responses to youth organizing and analyze how race- and class-based assumptions about youth leadership, as well as differing cultural norms between schools and youth organizing groups, pose challenges for young people fighting for education reform. The authors describe three strategies youth organizing groups use to address these challenges: intensive leadership development, targeted relationship building with district administrators, and alliance building. Implications for both educators and youth organizing groups are discussed.
What democracy means to ninth graders: US results from the international IEA Civic Education Study
  • S Baldi
  • M Perie
  • D Skidmore
  • E Greenberg
  • C Hahn
Baldi, S. Perie, M. Skidmore, D., Greenberg, E. & Hahn, C. (2001). What democracy means to ninth graders: US results from the international IEA Civic Education Study. Washington DC: NCES, US Department of Education.
Star of Ethiopia. The Crisis
  • W E B Dubois
DuBois, W.E.B. (1915). Star of Ethiopia. The Crisis.
A Pageant. The Crisis
  • W E B Dubois
DuBois, W.E.B. (1915). A Pageant. The Crisis.
The Negro and the American stage. The Crisis
  • W E B Dubois
DuBois, W.E.B. (1924). The Negro and the American stage. The Crisis, 28.
Black youth rising: Race, agency and radical healing in urban America
  • S Ginwright
Ginwright, S. (2009). Black youth rising: Race, agency and radical healing in urban America. New York: Teachers College Press.
College prep idea approved in L.A. Los Angeles Times
  • E Hayasaki
Hayasaki, E. (2005, June 15). College prep idea approved in L.A. Los Angeles Times, p. sec B.
We make the road by walking
  • M Horton
  • P Freire
Horton, M. & Freire, P. (1990) We make the road by walking. Bell, B; Gaventa, J. & John Peters, J. (Eds), (pp. 145-6.) Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Civic education: What makes students learn
  • R Niemi
  • J Junn
Niemi, R., & Junn, J. (1998). Civic education: What makes students learn. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Check the Facts. Los Angeles: Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
South Central Youth Empowered thru Action. (1999). Check the Facts. Los Angeles: Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment.
Muslim American Youth: Studying hyphenated selves with multiple methods
  • S Sirin
  • M Fine
Sirin, S. & Fine, M. (2008). Muslim American Youth: Studying hyphenated selves with multiple methods. New York: NYU Press.
Peering in: A look into reflective practices in youth participatory action research
  • S Zeller-Berkman
Zeller-Berkman, S. (2007). Peering in: A look into reflective practices in youth participatory action research. Children, Youth and Environments, 17(2), 315-328.
Youth take the lead on high school reform issues: Sistas and Brothas United
  • F Carlo
  • A Powell
  • L Vasquez
  • S Daniels
  • C Smith
  • K Mediratta
  • A Zimmer
Carlo, F., Powell, A., Vasquez, L., Daniels, S., Smith, C. with Mediratta, K. & Zimmer, A. (2005). Youth take the lead on high school reform issues: Sistas and Brothas United. Rethinking Schools, 19(4), 62.
NAEP 1998 Civics report card for the nation
  • A Lutkus
  • A Weiss
  • J Campbell
  • Mazzeo
  • S Lazer
Lutkus, A., Weiss, A, Campbell, J., Mazzeo, J & Lazer, S. (1999). NAEP 1998 Civics report card for the nation. NCES, US Department of Education.