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Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality$
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Ben Kirshner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479861316

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479861316.001.0001

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Critique and Collective Agency in Youth Development

Critique and Collective Agency in Youth Development

(p.23) 1 Critique and Collective Agency in Youth Development
Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality

Ben Kirshner

NYU Press

This chapter offers a case study of sociopolitical development for two young people, Gabriela and Luis, who experienced marginalization linked to their class, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds; this marginalization became most conspicuous in displays of anti-immigrant sentiment on Cinco de Mayo. It describes details a Critical Civic Inquiry project developed by students to raise awareness about racism and xenophobia at their school. It shows what practices of critique and collective agency looked like as they unfolded in the course project and how Gabriela and Luis made meaning of their experiences. Experiences like these should be more common for all young people, but particularly for those struggling with a social order that tracks and excludes them in ways that go unrecognized. Sociopolitical development, in this account, extends, but does not replace widely accepted practices of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and positive youth development (PYD).

Keywords:   youth development, sociopolitical development, high school students, racism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, social emotional learning

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