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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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41 Youth Writing: Rage Against the Machine

← 472 | 473 →CHAPTER 41


It has been fashionable for policymakers, educators, and the media to criticize and judge young people for decades. “Our schools are in crisis.” “Young people lack skills and initiative.” “Students don’t read anymore; students don’t know how to write.” Worse, students are often blamed for being apathetic and failing or doing poorly in large-scale assessments. In terms of writing, students are said to consider writing to be old-fashioned and out of style in this new cyber world of constant visual and informational literacy. But how true are these claims? Is it true that students do not engage in writing as fully as they once did? And if true, are there reasons for their disengagement?

In this rapidly changing world of visual literacy and cyber interaction, maybe educators and their students are not completely aware of what is going on. Writing, and being able to create and manipulate word text, is a form of power, of control, and a means of navigating in a world where individual voice is constantly undermined.

Yet students often feel that there is no need to write, or they think that writing is outdated; however, young people constantly text, keep journals, write and act in their own digital videos, post on Facebook and other forms of social media, write and perform their own music in a DIY world of self-sufficiency, as well as engage actively in relatively new ideas such as spoken-word poetry and YouTube creations. Clearly, the situation regarding writing is...

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