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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

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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34 Punk Rock, Hip Hop, and the Politics of Human Resistance: Reconstituting the Social Studies Through Critical Media Literacy

← 397 | 398 →CHAPTER 34


Nearly one hundred years ago, the social studies discipline was formally introduced in North America as a possible school subject. Business leaders and corporate leaders saw social studies as an avenue for indoctrinating the millions of immigrants, who were entering North America from predominantly European countries, with values conducive to becoming a productive worker as well as beliefs that promoted American and Canadian patriotism and colonialism (Russell, 2002). Progressive educators, on the other hand, had a quite different vision of the discipline. They viewed it as a way of fostering within students the ability to critically reflect on their world and take action for social justice. Unfortunately, business and governmental leaders used their privileged position to ensure their vision for this discipline came out victorious; consequently, it became the official model for the social studies curriculum across the educational landscape. We have been left with the legacy that has, while serving the interests of capital, which include fostering the development of an uninformed spectator-oriented citizenry, failed to meet the intellectual needs of the majority of its populace.

Despite the ongoing struggle and subsequent attempts over the past several decades made by progressive educators/activists to revamp the social studies curriculum for creating a more socially just education and wider social structure, the discipline, officially, has not strayed from its state-building, pro-capitalist function. For instance, in classrooms across North America, youths rarely learn about “the contributions, perspectives, or talents of women or those outside the mainstream culture” (Nieto, 2002, p...

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