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Critically Researching Youth

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Shirley R. Steinberg and Awad Ibrahim

Critically Researching Youth addresses the unique possibilities and contexts involved in deepening a discourse around youth. Authors address both social theoretical and methodological approaches as they delve into a contemporary discipline, which supports research with – not on – young adults. This volume is a refreshing change in the literature on qualitative youth, embodying the understanding of what it means to be a young woman or man. It dismisses any consideration to pathologize youth, instead addressing what society can understand and how we can act in order to support and promote them.
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Preface

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Critically Researching Youth as an Act of Radical Love: Let Them Speak and Let Us Shut Up and Listen!

Critically researching youth requires different epistemologies and a mind shift, where the very terms we use have to be re-labeled. As the authors in this book demonstrate, critically “researching” youth is now approached as a critical dialogue with youth, where youth speak, make sense of their lives, and radically envision their own futures. Critically researching youth is now turned into an act of radical love, where we researchers/adults shut up and listen (clearly in the most active and caring sense), and in doing so help young people think through their ideas and lives and hence materialize that which is yet to come, their futures.

However, for research to qualify as critical dialogue, it has to first, wrap itself in what Buber (2002) called “genuine dialogue,” and second, be conscious of three things: first, there is no humanity without dialogue; second, dialogue can and does take place in and through language (linguistic) but also sacramentally and holistically in silence (outside language and speech act, or para-linguistic); and third, in most relationships, especially those of domination (oppressor/oppressed, adult/youth, guard/inmate, etc.), what is conceived as dialogue is actually monologue. Monologue is when one hears one’s own voice and echo, and dialogue, especially when it is genuinely done, requires: a quality of communion; a sense of time, place, and above all love; an ethics of care (Noddings, 2005); a...

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