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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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45 Reclaiming Our Public Spaces: Wall of Femmes as a Grassroots, Feminist,Social Action Project

← 509 | 510 →CHAPTER 45


We are living in an increasingly privatized world, where many aspects of our daily lives occur in spaces that are neither fully public nor fully private. Think of the shopping mall or the coffee shop. These are spaces where people meet and socialize, but the ultimate purpose is the selling of products and services. Think of the movie theatre, where people also gather socially, but do so while paying for the privilege of absorbing content. The massive private entities that create these media spectacles have an interest in instilling wants and desires in audiences for products and content made by these firms’ subsidiaries or affiliates. Think of the Internet, which is becoming an increasingly important “public space”, where our communication is facilitated by even more private companies who collect our personal information and browsing tendencies in order to market to us in ever more sophisticated and personalized ways. Think of our schools and universities, where more than ever, the content of our curricula is being designed and shaped by corporate entities.

All of the spaces above are generally publicly accessible, but still require some type of access fee—­money to shop, buy coffee, pay for admission, or for tuition. One of the only remaining spaces that is accessible to almost everyone is the street. In fact, the street is often overlooked as a space.  It is not a ­destination—it is a transitional space, which we use to get from one destination to another (Castells, 1989; Voronkova &...

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