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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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20 Living Hyph-E-Nations: Marginalized Youth, Social Networking,and Third Spaces

← 239 | 240 →CHAPTER 20


We are not fated to choose those great apparatuses of mediation that structure our symbolic world.

—Homi K. Bhabha, 1999, p. xii.

Since 2008, over 200,000 migrants from the Philippines, India, and China have made their way to Canada and are now living here as permanent residents. In the last two years, Canada has accepted almost 25,000 refugees from countries such as Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and China (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2012). Tagalog, Urdu, and Mandarin are listed as some of the dominant mother tongues spoken at home among Canadian permanent residents. In turn, for many displaced youth, social networking has become the new, mediated apparatus for communicating and representing the hyphenated symbolic worlds of temporary foreign workers, permanent residents, and citizens in a new country. Unlike the generations before them, immigrant and diasporic youth are plugged in to the digital world, its technologies, and respective literacies.

Indeed, youth are now referred to by some, like Prensky (2001), as Digital Natives. At the turn of the 21st century, Prensky put forth this particular metaphor to distinguish “the attitudes of younger and of older people regarding digital technologies” (p. 1). However, as Prensky recently (2011) warned in response to his critics, “Digital Native is not, at its core, about capabilities, or even knowledge, regarding all things digital” (p. 17). Instead, “it is about growing up in a digital country or culture, as opposed to coming to it as an adult” (p. 17). Therefore,...

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