Preface by Paul Willis
Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg
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.
43 Where Are the Mockingjays? The Commodification of Monstrous Children and Rebellion
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The information, entertainment, and cultural pedagogy disseminated by massive multimedia corporations have become central in shaping and influencing every waking moment of children’s lives—all toward a lifetime of constant, unthinking consumptions (Giroux, 2011b, p. 73).
[In consumer society,] culture and aesthetics blended with production and advertising to create a way of life focused on consumption of goods, services, mass images and spectacles. (Kellner, 1989, p. 146)
Marketing is now the instrument of social control and produces the arrogant breed, who are our masters. (Deleuze, 1995, p. 181)
It is appropriate that I am writing a portion of this chapter on consumption, commodification, and dystopic youth fiction on a yellow legal pad stamped with a Staples logo in Starbucks next to shelving stacked with Starbucks merchandise, almost all of which contains the Starbucks logo. I’m drinking Sumatra-blend coffee from a Starbucks to-go cup with the logo emblazoned on it. No one stands outside this postmodern consumer culture. But it is also a time of activism with students in the streets and dystopic novels about resistance by youth. The times demand our attention. Giroux (2012a) and others have written extensively on student activism, particularly in the case of the global protest against increasing tuition fees and austerity measures.
Counter-public spheres and modes of resistance that we once did not think young people could mount have erupted in a rush of emotional and political expressions and scattered...
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