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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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11 See Me, Hear Me: Engaging With Australian Aboriginal Youth and Their Lifeworlds

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Research, (neo)colonialism, and alienation sit sinisterly together in the experience of most indigenous peoples (Smith, 1999), and, similarly, researchers working with youth find multiple obstacles in engaging genuinely and transparently with their participants. The compound effect of these two characteristics—indigeneity and youth—means that coming to understand aspects of the life experiences of indigenous youth as an outsider presents as a major methodological and personal challenge. This chapter reports on a form of mixed methods research that has enabled a non-indigenous research team to explore some parts of these worlds that might otherwise have remained difficult, if not impossible, to enter. Here, we explain how a process that draws upon indigenous and non-indigenous ways of knowing has led to valuable insights into aspects of indigenous youth experience.

In this chapter, we draw from a larger research project, and take from it the experiences we have had in utilising a methodological approach that merges the strengths of the visual and oral traditions of Australian Aboriginal cultures with Western (non-indigenous) research approaches. In this chapter, we focus on the power of the visual to open spaces for deeper understandings when trying to understand the life experiences of indigenous youth.

The Larger Project: Indigenous Educational Lifeworlds

The project was motivated by a desire to counter the dominant discourse in Australian education that positioned Indigenous Australians—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples—as educationally “behind,” deficient, or unable to achieve at the same levels as non-indigenous...

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