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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