Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing
Chapter 2. Step One: Mobilizing to Disrupt the Commonplace
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In this chapter, I begin to map out the trajectories of the five individual youth organizers becoming activist. The present participle form of the word “becoming” is important here because it points to the continual shifting and deferral in defining one’s self. Likewise, “activist” is both singular and plural in acknowledging the individual and multiple iterations of activisms. I aim to explore both the distinctiveness of their lives and the plurality that emerges from their foci on collectivity and shared struggle. I start with Vaga De Franx and take a nonnarrative tour through our discursive exchanges, using interview dialogue data to guide our understandings. I repeat this cycle with Gentle Meadows, Green Strawberries, People’s Republic of Mars, and Awesome Woman. As self-reportage was key in keeping with the ethical-political schema of this study, participants are quoted at length to support the notion, well matched for research built around transgressive validity (Lather, 2007), that there is value in letting the data speak for themselves (Gould, 1981).
I focus particularly on the critical literacy praxis through which they engage in the work of activism and organizing. Data collected from each participant were organized first through the taxonomy of critical literacy. The ← 13 | 14 → five categories of this taxonomy are provided with varying subsection titles to reflect the differing themes that emerged in dialogue with each participant. The data from the interviews were coded through this taxonomy and excerpts that were selected for publication best fit the realm of these categories,...
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