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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
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Foreword: Criticalizing Youth, Youth Criticalizing

← xii | xiii →FOREWORD


A short foreword to lead into Awad’s introduction to the works of youth workers, teachers of youth, and youth. This book is our first large attempt to reach across disciplines and contexts to bring out those who wish a critical voice in our cultural and pedagogical work with, and for youth. The last phrase is key, for we hope to create a circumstance in which working with youth, becomes a transformative act facilitating empowerment, leadership, and self-efficacy.

When we assembled the book, we realized we had only begun to assemble the voices we want to hear. Starting from our own geographical and personal places, we reached out to scholars whose work reflected the critical and democratic youth work we sought. We acknowledge that much of this volume reflects work and scholarship with North American youth, predominantly English speaking. We acknowledge that for every chapter, there are dozens of chapters that must be written. We acknowledge that for every topic, we did not address many others: caregiver/parental relationships, preparation for youth workers, preparation for youth as workers, romance, wellness and health, and so many genres of culture. We attempted to begin a conversation on how to continue the conversation. This book is the opening sentence to the dialogues, confabs, parlays, tracks, spittin’, and yes, scholarship, pedagogy, and research into a field grounded in social justice which recognizes respects youth.

We invited youth poets to contribute to this work. These young men and women wrote their contributions in...

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